France. 4 Days – A lot of miles – A lot of barrels
Its not every day you see a swell on the Friday and by Sunday at 11pm your on a ferry headed for the South of France to hopefully score perfect waves for the next four days.
It is if your a professional surfer, so for this trip i tagged a long with one of our pro team riders Alan Stokes for a few reason’s. One was to be a 2nd filmer in the upcoming new episode of Strange Beautiful Life, two too tell you lot all about it and three to hopefully bag myself a few waves. Two out of the three happened, I filmed, I’m now telling you lot all about it, but three never came and i’ll tell you why!
Most people myself included see these ‘PRO’ surfers as having it a bit of alright, they get up, check the surf, head to the beach meet up with a photographer go surfing get shots and video clips. Then have their faces splashed all over the mags and make lots of money. To a certain extent yes, that is what they do but there’s a bit more to it.
Our ferry landed in Roscoff at 8 am on Monday morning, with a 8 hour drive south and waves already pumping were weren’t hanging around.
Arriving at the beach the swell was there but so was the wind, one day down three left and no footage. A couple shots in the bag (see above image) but no footage.
Here’s the start of my point about pro surfing and surfers, with three days left and no footage in the bag it starts to become a bit more of a pressure situation. Next morning 5am wake up and checking the spots, surfs pumping but the tides coming in quick. We sent Alan in and I swam to film water footage. It was a solid 6ft with 8ft sets. Thats starts to feel quite big when all you’re holding is yellow box and a pair of fins on your feet.
The Surf was pumping, Alan had a solid three hour session and bagged some clips. We got out, eat, drank, re fulled, back in on a high tide bank with onshore winds and a hideous rip, another three hour surf, back out to eat, drink coffee, then back in for a sunset surf two hour session. So thats 8 hours of surfing. Not just a chilled easy three sessions, 6-8 ft France surfs, lots of rips, and kickings. But lets not feel to sorry for them they are still surfing all day and being paid.
Next day, swell dropped, but still pumping, turn up to another beach, 6ft spitting tubes. I swam Alan surfed and it was all time, stand up pits, and huge end sections. Good as it gets, another day of 8 hours of surfing, clips getting there. So a bit of pressure off but still its not quite there and only day left. Almost forgot, another 5am start, back at camp 11pm and make it a little worse stung for 23 Euro for 6 cans of beer from a pizza man. Note to all: No one sells cheap bear after 4pm, heed my advice by beer early.
Day 3 – Pumping again, another 5am start, 8 more hours of Surfing. Three days, 24 hours of surfing and a sick clip in the bag. So why am i saying i have a bit more respect for pro surfers. 24 hours of surfing in three days in mammoth, pressure of making sure you surf your very best on all those days to release a clip that every one will want to watch is tough. Combine them both and add in mild sun stroke and you’ve got yourself a fairly tough job. It’s no brain surgeon / paramedic / life saving / changing the world stuff but its definitely not all, 1st class plane tickets, chicks in bikini’s, wild parties and 50k salaries. The grit of it is, you have to work hard to keep sponsors happy, to get people to watch your clip for more than 10 seconds. Saying that it beats the hell out of an office job.