"Selfish. Creative. Rebellious."
An encouraging letter received this morning from Hossegor, a surf-rich town in south-west France and a favourite of BeachGrit, less so for shaper Matt “Mayhem” Biolos who describes the joint in winter as “like the Blair Witch Project.”
Worldly readers will have read of a spike in COVID-19 infections in France, the Republic’s president Emmanuel Macron warning the country risked being “overwhelmed by a second wave that no doubt will be harder than the first”. Kinky Manny “My bodyguard is not my lover”, who began dating his teacher, later his wife, when he was sixteen, said that France must “brutally apply the brakes” to avoid being “submerged by the acceleration of the epidemic”.
Manny said that people need to fill in a form to justify leaving their homes, you can’t cruise around at night and social gatherings are banned.
“Like in the spring, you will be able to leave your house only to work, for a medical appointment, to provide assistance to a relative, to shop for essential goods or to go for a walk near your house,” he said.
Importantly, for the safe of the Republic, no surfing.
Our reader, broadydaz, writes,
On the 28th of October, things started to get shitstain-in-your-pants serious in France for surfers.
The President had just announced the country was locking down for another month from Friday morning. Surfers started to lose their mental biscuits as the thought of being forbidden from surfing: It had already happened once this year earlier in March and it lasted for two months.
Apart from a handful of crafty and courageously selfish surfers who got an occasional fix the majority of the surfing population went dry.
It was a heavy lockdown and even driving around was risky.
This time however there were loopholes and the biggest one was the beach was open. Albeit only for the privileged minority that lived within one kilometre. Also for a sportsman who needed to train.
The last day of the freedom was only accessible for the few who would brave Belharra. The Friday (day one) of the lockdown was primed to be all-time and after watching the forecast closely for ten days it was maddening everyone to tears.
Day one dawned and the webcams proved the forecast correct.
They also witnessed something else. Startingly or perhaps not at all, surfers were surfing.
How could there be so many professionals! At every spot.
Paddling out at Hossegor’s prime big wave location La Nord punters were surprised that it was crowded! Even more surprising was the atmosphere, surfers were happy to see other surfers.
Safety in numbers. Solidarity. Rebellion. Revolution.
Macron had said the forces of law and order would go easy on everyone till they returned home from holidays Sunday night.
Rumours were rife. The police were sending reinforcements and they would arrive the following Tuesday.
Surfers were frenzied over the offshore conditions for days. Fines were to be 135€ and surfers starting calculating how much a three-hour session of six foot waves should cost.
Then dividing sessions into 135€ Tuesday came and no sign reinforcements.
New loopholes surfaced.
Medical certificates could get you a surfing pass.
Surf Instructors had the greenlight.
Then more rumours.
Everyone was abusing authorities and the beaches would be closed from Wednesday to everyone till February. It freaked the surfers out so they surfed more. Others that hadn’t been surfing gave up and went surfing.
Doctors recorded an increase in surfers needing prescriptions to surf.
People were very sick, troubled, needed to surf. New rumours that medical certificates didn’t work and instructors weren’t allowed resurfaced.
Soon no-one would be able to surf.
The surf got better, the wind went more offshore.
More swell. All sorts of size. Big waves, small waves, hollow and fast waves.
More rumours. Second fines would be 3000€. First fines would be 3000€.
Surfers discussed their different certificates.
Surfboard builders were professionals too. They needed to test the equipment.
Every surfing parent needed to train their children.
Surfing became for those few weeks a revolution for some.
It spoke of the passion they had inside their hearts.
They were selfish. Creative. Rebellious.
The beaches would close. But still, they surfed.