We're so stoked to hear about our team rider Lindsay Steinriede's adventure in France for the World Surf League WCT Hossegor event! We can vouch for her that she had one hell of a time, but we'll let Lindsay tell you all about it.
The southwest of France. Often known for its Basque-style homes, beautiful countryside, popular cities, and plentiful surf. Where the coffees are small but the conversations are grand. Where even during the summer months you may experience all the season of a year in one fickle day. It’s a place where residents drink to their health more than “work” on it, where a friend stopping by to say hello often turns into a backyard family-style picnic that lasts through the night, and a place I’ve spent most of my last two summers, eating, drinking, surfing, and exploring.
I had made multiple trips to Biarritz years prior for the Women’s Longboard World Championships. But never had I stayed more than 10 days. These past two summers the southwest of France was my “home-base” for the majority of my three-month summer vacations. And I must say, there’s truly something amazing that happens when you are able to indulge in a destination for an extended period of time; you make connections, unexpected adventures and opportunities ensue, things become familiar, you become accustomed to the culture, and in essence you truly explore a different culture and a different part of the world.
A typical summer day in France for me, started much like any other in southern California: Coffee, breakfast, and surf. Only there was no automatic drip to brew my coffee- a stovetop Italian press did the job. And if it were breakfast on-the-go, there was never any question whether or not it would be one of those infamous fluffy, yet just the right amount of crispy on the outside, French croissants. Post-surf it was often back to the bakery for a flavorful quiche or a long bread-roll sandwich. And nothing paired better with this agenda then a mid-day or early afternoon “siest.” Summer days in France offer up to 15 hours of light, so there’s no need to rush through the day.
The waves tend to be very tide dependent, and as I mentioned, the weather can be fickle, so timing is everything if you want to score. I must admit, I let a few glorious early morning sessions slip away. To my defense, it’s very difficult when your alarm goes off at sunrise, but you just went to sleep a few hours ago, because in the summer time in France, sunset, dinner, and a couple casual drinks takes place between the hours of 10pm and 1 am. And from my experiences, the French can always find a reason to enjoy a couple drinks, or more, at the end of the day.
Besides the obvious birthdays and holidays, there always seemed to be something going on around town or a neighboring city; perhaps a concert, movie festival or some other public event. But to be totally honest, the majority of the days, we just seemed to be celebrating how beautiful the day was. I mean, what’s a gorgeous sunset up top La Côte des Basque without a little sangria? Or, why not indulge in a little rosé and calamari along the shoreline café after an evening surf? Heck, even the stormy summer days you’d find yourself in a tiny bar having a beer or local cider with good company. Needless to say, the French definitely know how to slow down and enjoy some quality time with their friends and family on a regular basis. As for the day time activities, there are also many adventures to be had around the area.
Thankfully, with all of the croissants and celebrations, I was often surrounded by active like-minded friends that were happy to show me more of what the great outdoors of the Basque Country had to offer. I surfed many different waves in the region, all offering up a little something different. Hiked multiple mountains alongside wild horses and swam in a rejuvenating river just a short drive inland. And easy day trips into Spain (just a 15 minute drive south to the border) always made for a fun little adventure. I am beyond grateful to have had the opportunity to truly explore such a desirable destination. From the historic architecture and stunning countryside to the gorgeous coastline and relaxed pace. It’s no wonder this place is one of the top summer destinations in the world.
- Lindsay Steinriede