Live like a local: all the lowdown you need to hit the ground running, this month Dan Petermann & Jules Ahoi give us all we need to know about the infamous Basque Country.
Ah Basque Country! You gorgeous piece of land you. Sitting there, encompassed by the mountains of Pyrenees your solitary kindness only a stones throw from the crowded and well worn beach-breaks of France.
You, in all your glory, offer a plethora of water mountains for all levels of stoke. Of course one could go to Mundaka or Punta Galea or Guéthary or one of the many waves described in the Stormrider surf guides. But for the froth-monster seeking solitude and adventure there are waves in all shapes and sizes working in almost every direction of swell and wind imaginable.
Autumn or spring is the time to grace these shores. You will get all the benefits of summer weather while still getting some of those juicy winter swells.
However the weather can be transient from one day to the next and some solid boots with a warm raincoat would be more than welcome in your backpack… As well as some sunscreen.
Depending on how much viking blood runs through your veins, the wettie to pack would be a 3/2 Fullsuit up to some warm winter rubber, including boots and sometimes a hood.
HOW TO TRAVEL
Best travel with your own rig. We favour the VW Campervan. The older the more smiles you’ll get along the way too. Don’t just drive along the motorways. As Robert Frost would say, the road less travelled is often more rewarding. There are loads of places where you can crash for free. Simplicity is the way to go.
Don’t forget, you’re not in a hurry. Take your time to soak in the vibe, have a siesta together with the locals, explore the hidden coves of the coast, climb a mountain, eat some freshly caught fish and get yourself some pintxos together with a glass of fine basque wine.
Make sure to visit one of the many bars around and have a talk with the people, no matter how poor your Spanish or basque skills are. The effort will be worth it for sure.
If the surf isn’t as expected, don’t worry. Just check the map and explore the coastline. There is always somewhere to slide.
Take with you whatever suits you. The shortboard? Sure. A twinnie-fish, of course. Log, mid-length, bodyboard, handplane, asymmetrical, flippers, a raw piece of foam? Whatever you’re into. Variety is the key.
The surf spots around offer a potpourri of reef, point and beach-breaks. Only an ignorant person wants to conquer them all with the same board (unless you have found the unicorn of boards, in which case contact Binsurfen immediately, scrupulous testing needs to be done on her).
If you always consider the general rules of politeness, having a fair portion of common sense and a smile for everybody that comes along your way, you’ll be treated with similar care. Especially on lesser-known breaks the indigenous population are your best friends.
Have a chat and karma will pay you back with their insider knowledge about the surf hot spots in the neighborhood in addition to some hidden gems.
To be frank there might be also some guys that won’t be too thrilled about your presence, especially on the well-known spots like Mundaka. But for each of those there are also heaps of people that are stoked to share the line-up with you.
Words by Dan Petermann & Sam Morgan, Images by Dan Petermann & Jules Ahoi of Binsurfen.de