Come to the adult learner capital of the world! Hossegor!
In my more lucid dreams, I see myself living in the French town of Hossegor, there in the Bay of Biscay’s starboard quarter. I have a house at the base of the sand dunes at Les Culs Nuls and three refined surfboards to suit the varying beachbreak conditions.
Sometimes the waves are very small, sometimes too big, but like the fairytale with the kid and the animals, mostly the waves are just right.
But then I climb the dunes and the tableau is ruined by the rude wind of thousands of adult learners from all over Europe. You’ve never seen such a thing!
As the Australian shaper Maurice Cole, who put Hossegor on the map surf-wise, told me last year, “There are more people in the water than you’ve seen in your life. Here, there are 1,615 people down at Siegnosse taking surf lessons. It’s in the newspaper. It’s incredible. Being really small, every hundred meters, there’s a fucking surf school. I went out the other day, offshore, nearly shoulder high on the sets, and there were 60 people out, and no one could surf. The only thing keeping me laughing was riding a longboard and playing the slalom course, much to the distress of the other bastards. And, pretending that I couldn’t surf. I’d do an “el spazmo” and people were throwing their boards away in horror.”
Of course, if you’re Leo Fioravanti, the twenty-year-old former WCT surfer who relocated to Hossegor from Italy, and whose step-daddy is Kelly Slater’s keeper, Stephen “Belly” Bell, you have the necessary skills to navigate this slalom course.
In this pleasingly short edit, we see Leo’s hurried smears, his reconstruction of lips and his transfer of weapon from box to pocket.
There’s an innocence and a frankness to Leo’s surfing that, I predict, will enable him to poke and cut his way back onto the WCT.