Three days since we’ve returned from our two week road trip West and the post holiday blues are taking their toll on me. It always happens: no matter how satisfying and successful my surftrip has been, once home again I need to get a nice day of waves as soon as possible.
If not I feel way more miserable that if I hadn’t had a surf holiday at all. Unfortunately my local beach –la Zurriola- is not producing the goods. I guess it’s also fed up with summer crowds and the hordes of wanabees that summer brings with it, and the beach is showing its less pretty face: nasty shore dumps disfigured by huge rips at any tide. Not a peeler in sight, just collapsing masses of foam and brown water. Great… not! My second closest option, Zarautz… more of the same; and with a big WQS contest in town it is not a very alluring prospect. As I look for hope through different swell and wind forecast sites, I can see a window of opportunity: it will be small, but it should be extra clean with off-shores all day long for both Monday and Tuesday. But not at home- the forecast looks good for Les Landes, one hour north. Now, I haven’t been there since late July and I wonder if the couple of great sandbanks that I last surfed are still in place. Things, in this case sandbanks, change so quickly up there with every new swell, with every flat spell… there’s only one way to find out.
The tasks on the agenda are shifted accordingly to try and free up both days, and a couple of jobs that needed to be done are executed –swiftly but accurately- during the weekend. The van is quickly loaded for one more night (we recently slept 13 nights in a row during our holidays so it doesn’t take much time) and my heart is racing fast while I lay in bed trying to get some rest. A few hours later the alarm clock prompts me to take a final check before departure… I open the window, sniff the air and …wrong!! The wind has turned SW. One hour later the first surf report confirms my judgment with photos of Anglet. Yep… on-shore. This is not what I’m going to miss one day’s work for, so I just stay put and keep working, while thinking that there’s still hope for tomorrow (by Wednesday a front is presumably bringing strong on-shores).
I keep checking the forecasts during the day and they all indicate that the SW should switch to E/NE during the night. This time I’m not taking any chances: after dinner I kiss my wife goodbye and drive to my destination, north of Hossegor. By midnight I’ve reached my car park and I climb the dune. My heart is beating hard, and it is not only due to the climb. With the help of the almost-full moon I can see nice and evenly spaced lines of white water at a low tide sandbar. Perfect triangles. And not a breath of air.
I’m up by 7 next morning but I can hardly see anything because of the fog. I put the kettle on and tidy the van. A cup of tea and a piece of homemade ginger cake later (thanks darling) the off-shore is pushing the fog away and the sun reveals beautiful lines. The tide is at its highest but the sets are already doing their thing. It’s 3 foot on the sets and the waves have such a perfect texture and colour that it almost makes me sad to break their glitter with my board’s trail of white water. There’s a healthy pack of longboarders out the back, but the peak shifts randomly and everybody gets some waves. Three hours later I snap a couple of photos from the top of the dune and it’s still happening.
Right after that I get the call from a friend on the west coast, and he tells me that the front is moving in bringing some strong on-shores. E.T.A.: a couple of hours; not worth staying any longer. Not much later I’m at home, walking the dog. I had an early taste of the Indian summer; now I can relax and wait for the rest of it.