Thirty-one surfers pulled from death's claw by helicopter and jetski…
The pretty, if faded and well past its prime, French town of Biarritz has become the site of a mass surfer rescue after the same wild swell and high tides that lit up the Quik Festival in Hossegor threw the joint into chaos.
Thirty-one surfers were pulled from the drink around the old port on Saturday, the same place your old pal DR used to sun his aged haunches while sucking on ice cream cones and dribbling the juice on bronzed tetons, thrilling to the rise and fall of those soft plums, all of ‘em hitting the panic button as high tides made getting in via the cement ramp an act of skill, luck and bravado.
“We started to pick them up on the stairs located in front of the lifeguard tower,” said rescuer Franck Billard, adding the thirty-one man rescue formed the greatest event of his career. “The surf boards stopped in all directions. There was something panicky at that moment.”
As more and more surfers tried to come in, three lifeguards joined in the rescue, as well as jet skis and a police helicopter.
“At first it was manageable,” he says, but it all went south, as they say, due to a curio of French surfing ie. if you see another surfer doin’ something, you must follow, whether that’s surfing a certain bank or getting in or getting out. “By snowball effect,” he said, “everyone wanted to get out of the same time.”
For a taste of the rescue, check out this old vid of surfers, and I use the term loosely, getting hammered on the same ramp.