What has happened to the summer? It’s only four days until the solstice, we should be skipping round maypoles with crowns of flowers in our hair drinking iced schnapps. Instead I’ve found myself loitering round the fake tan aisle in the supermarket and slipping a sneaky packet of blonde highlighter into my trolley. Yesterday I put away my flip-flops and got out my sheepskin slippers - I had no intention of leaving the house. Although at least I had the choice, unlike my kids who were cut off by floods at their father’s house in the appropriately named village of Saint Pee.
This morning’s meeting of the Mamas was cancelled because the water looked like an ocean of chicken soup - tinted a sinister ochre colour by rivers of mud and toxic fertilizer flowing down from the Pyrenees.
“And it’s flat” Johanna added, “If it was brown and glassy we might have risked it.”
We might have, because apart form the lack of sunshine, it’s been a hideously flat spring. The trouble with this is that as soon as a ripple breaks the horizon, there are about a thousand surf-starved desperadoes fighting over it.….
There was beautiful surf last wednesday, but it was trop belle pour moi at ‘a good two metres’. This means way over two metres as you know it, because, peversely, we are talking about the back of the wave. The face - which you actually surf - can be twice that size. So that left me sitting on my towel, but Johanna was heading out, slightly alarmed by the swarms of surfers on the peak and photographers on the beach.
“Laird Hamilton’s out there.” I told her. There’s nothing like a Hawaiian big wave legend in the water to bring out the competitive spirit.
You could see a haze of testosterone over the peak. Like one of those fish farms where they sprinkle hormones in the water, if you breathed in too deeply you might permanently alter your hormone
balance and start sprouting chest hair. But it takes more than fifty men in black neoprene to phase Johanna, who was one of only five women on the Freeski world tour.
“How was it?” I ask her afterwards.
“Great .…. Laird gave me a wave.”
Of course, there are advantages to being the only woman in the water!
But our best hope of seeing a nice wave today is to head down to the Café Loco for the opening of Francois Lartigau’s new exhibition ‘Surfing Moments’.
One of Francois Lartigau's Surf Mamas at Café Loco in Guethary.
Laird Hamilton photo © Sylvain Cazenave
POSTED BY WILMA