Walking into his living room, you’re left in no doubt that you’re in a surfer’s house. There are boards everywhere, leaning against the walls, and suspended from the ceiling on pieces of driftwood. Pride of place goes to his red Lightning Bolt boards from Hawaii, which he surfed at Sunset and Pipeline in the seventies - big wave riders trophies hanging on the walls like a big-game hunters antelope heads.
There are photos of the Reinhardt family- his father Bruno, one of the pioneering surfers of the fifties, his teenage son Bruno ripping on his short board, and baby Lina kitted out in nappy and life vest for her first trip out to the peak.…
So with his background as French champion and big wave hellman, how did he feel about scouring the coast for the smallest possible wave with a group of forty year old women. Some of whom - I’ll stand up and be counted - were terrified of a knee-high shore break.
“What’s the question again? How did I feel about getting in the water with ten beautiful women in bikinis?” Always charming. “Do you know that my instructors were fighting about who got to work with the Mamas every Saturday.”
But did you really think you’d be able to teach us to surf? I, for one, was touched by Christophe’s belief that I might one day be able to paddle out back and take a wave by myself …… standing up. I thought he’d seriously overestimated my potential, and it’s a tribute to his patience that he never gave up on me.
“I can teach anyone to stand up, that’s the easy part. But what I was really impressed by was your determination. I wasn’t sure that you’d really keep going, but you seem so motivated, some of you have got really keen. Or more than that …..what’s the word?”
“Obsessed?” I suggest.
“No” Johanna corrects me, “the word is addicted!”
“I feel like it really changed your lives, the fact that you did it, and that you overcame your fear.…. You know surfing is my life, and I love being able to transmit my passion to other people . Or to put it another way.....surfing is my addiction and I love getting other people hooked.” We all laugh.
“Talking of which, you’ll have to excuse me, Wilma,” he takes a long red board from the wall, “I love talking to you Mamas, but I think Avalanche is working and if I stay here chatting too long, the wind might go onshore.”
Avalanche - the name says it all- it’s not called Snowdrop, it only breaks when the swell is massive and it’s Christophe’s favourite wave.