France… wow. I’ve fallen in love with the South-West. As we ride our bikes to the centre of Hossgeor to get a crepe and ice-cream, watching the sun set into the bay of Biscay, the words bubble up… Je t’aime.
A week after i arrived in France, and ate my weight in crepes, the WCT event, Quicksilver and Roxy Pro began, Michaela and i got to watch the best surfing in the world from the VIP area. It was so amazing being able to meet my favourite surfers while on the other side of the world, watching and cheering them on as they show what’s possible on Hossegor’s best, punchy beach breaks.
The event was held at a nudist beach and although no one was brave enough to bare it all during the comp, after the crowds disappeared, walking up or down the beach to surf was even more picturesque!
The weather was perfect all event – chilly before 9 am but clear skies and clear, blue water. After many exciting heats, the competition was over and the countless rows of camper vans started to head back to their homes for the oncoming winter. The days began to get colder and clouds covered the sky, welcome to winter!
Thanks to my friend/roommate/sister, Michaela, I even had the chance to go to a French school. Starting from 8am till 5.30pm, I soon realised how lucky i am in Australia, where there is plenty of time to surf before and after school, and in school with our PBC surfing program!
What did I learn about French culture? One thing that stood out was ‘le baiser’ – the kiss. When you meet someone, instead of a handshake, it’s a kiss on each cheek. At first, i was very weirded out that i had to kiss strangers but i got used to it and i feel like it brings people closer, you feel much more connected to them.
Surf sessions with my friend Maixent and his little brother Arthur were full of so many hilarious moments, the waves of Hossegore are never ending and there is always a good bank.
I went into Biarritz a couple of times to surf and visit friends and it’s like no other place on earth- grand palaces that was built for the queen of France sit on the edges of cliffs and small islands stick out of the ocean, the streets of biarritz are very small but bustling with business men, surfers, farmers and tourists.
There is such an amazing beach culture in the south west. Oh yeah the waves are pretty good as well. Of course, the food was insane, croissants, crepes, ice-cream, sorbets, baguettes and cheese i didn’t know existed!
The French language is like music to my ears. The accent, pronunciation and all the strange expressions were absolutely incredible to listen to. I couldn’t speak a word when i arrived but was quickly introduced to the basics and i really want to learn more by the next time i visit. It was the emotion behind the words that i found really fascinating.
I am so grateful to so many people. I couldn’t have stayed in France for so long without the warm hearts of the Weinhold and Dudez families, Merci! I have so many people to thank for making my time in France so wonderful, Merci to the Agnes family, i had so many amazing memories with you all, so kind! Thank you to all the groms from the Landes who shared their waves, so much fun surfing with you! Thank you to the Becret family for the fun surfs and filming, to Lou Surfou surf club for welcoming me, to Christelle and the Billabong family for keeping me warm! . Thank you to the Joly and Lacome house for letting me stay with you in Biarritz. And thanks to my family and all the sponsors and supporters who helped get me to to the ISA World juniors which led to this grande French adventure! https://youtu.be/Yc0qMT9aRW4
After France, my family came over to take me on a vanlife surfing roadtrip through Spain and Portugal. You can follow all these adventures here: