Watch: Above the Bay of Biscay

Stu Nettle
Reels

Two views from the 29th of October, the waves separated by five or so kilometres of water, and each attacked in a different way.

The first, Guethary with a crew stroking in on long boards, fortunes quickly turning from hunter to hunted and back again; a session that, despite the wave's less-than-perfect shape, would provide deep satisfaction to any surfer who lanced a big left.

The second, Belharra, a bit down the coast and further out to sea, with skis whipping tow surfers, some also riding foils, into cumbersome lefts as an armada of powered craft make late runs for calm water.

Comments

Sunnysideup's picture
Sunnysideup's picture
Sunnysideup commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 10:43am

needs clubbie skis and boaties.

SI's picture
SI's picture
SI commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 2:06pm

Haha, golden comment!! Yeah those boaties are great to surf with and you can always feel that extra level of safety because you know they are lifesavers and that they are in control of that great big boat killing machine with really long oars which if your lucky enough to escape being split in half by the boat, then you can pretty much count on the oars to sweep your head off...I mean those boats are for saving lives right!!! And of course the ski’s are also quite reassuring especially when you watch them going out through the surf, like their cubbies on top of them never have any issues with falling off, even in the shallows when getting on ... even the ones at “national champ” level falling off the other side when they jump on them, but they only fall off because their muscles are too big for them to balance, haha!!!

Barrelrider

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 10:50am

Original title was 'Flying Over Landes' till I despondently realised the waves are just outside the region of Landes.

freeride76's picture
freeride76's picture
freeride76 commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 11:04am

I found my level of underwhelm almost directly inversely proportional to the level of hype on this swell.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 11:54am

I'm neither under nor over, just whelmed.

Though that paddle session at Guethary would've been fun.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 1:46pm

Linky?

Edit: Ah, sorry, you meant the Avalanche session above. I wonder what the Guethary main peak was like.

Farther west, Roka Puta was huge and evil.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 1:46pm

The top vid, called 'Avalanche'.

Looks like I'm out on my own here, but I love those sort of sessions.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 1:53pm

Nope, I liked the look of that one too.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 12:20am

Enjoyed that too. Looks like a super long period and stacked. Nothing underwhelming about that eh?

Pat Hollingworth's picture
Pat Hollingworth's picture
Pat Hollingworth commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 12:13pm

What about Conor Maguire's wave at Mullaghmore on this swell? Not underwhelming!

https://www.redbull.com/int-en/conor-maguire-big-wave-ireland-storm-mull...

Sprout's picture
Sprout's picture
Sprout commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 11:04am

Is it still a shoulder hop when there's only shoulder?

surfstarved's picture
surfstarved's picture
surfstarved commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 12:43pm

Wow, that Belharra clip was particularly shit! If they were trying to capture just how much of a circus it was, then job done, but if it was supposed to be interesting from a surfer's perspective then it was an abject failure.

Don't let the bastards grind you down

donweather's picture
donweather's picture
donweather commented Saturday, 14 Nov 2020 at 1:22pm

Couldn’t agree more. Second vid was a waste of Fcking space.

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 12:48pm

Makes me want to give up surfing. That joint needs two guys and two big boards. Circus.

Billie

ringmaster's picture
ringmaster's picture
ringmaster commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 1:14pm

Typical Euro over froth. (2nd clip)

They even missed a potential highlight when the camera cut away at 2.59 just as a boat running from the shoulder was about to clean up a ski. Woulda been good to see a bunch of Frenchies comically gesticulating at each other in the aftermath.

and the 'sound track'........fuck me dead.......appalling.

sangsta's picture
sangsta's picture
sangsta commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 1:36pm

Are you sure that second clip wasn't of a fishing comp?

Chipper's picture
Chipper's picture
Chipper commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 2:11pm

What a zoo: the second clip!!!

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 2:18pm

I surfed Avalanche quite a few times when I was in France in the early nineties. Mostly in the 5 to 6 ft range. It was a really fun wave at that size and never had many people. Smaller but quite a lot more performance focussed than the Guethary right which was always busy.

Island Bay's picture
Island Bay's picture
Island Bay commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 2:42pm

Les Alcyons? That's the inside left near the jetty. Hollower than Avalanche, and comes alive on more 'normal' swells.

Avalanche needs a really big swell.

Yendor's picture
Yendor's picture
Yendor commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 3:58pm

Yes perhaps, will have a look on the map.

bipola's picture
bipola's picture
bipola commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 2:21pm

i liked the sound clip

harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr's picture
harrycoopr commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 2:44pm

Sluggy

Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto's picture
Trentslatterphoto commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 3:24pm

fat hander mash potato

chook's picture
chook's picture
chook commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 4:44pm

this is like San Onofre in the 1930s, before the invention of the bottom turn.

Elliedog's picture
Elliedog's picture
Elliedog commented Thursday, 12 Nov 2020 at 11:25pm

Don’t put this on your website in the first place.

Luba

sneakerset's picture
sneakerset's picture
sneakerset commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 8:52am

The second clip must be from the inaugural 2020 Belharra Motorised Watercraft Wave Championships.

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 10:19am

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Billie

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 9:17am

Did anyone actually do a turn in the first clip?

Sea Dub's picture
Sea Dub's picture
Sea Dub commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 1:04pm

I reckon all those that had the gumption to have a crack in the first clip, turn or no turn, would have been very content with their day's work. There is a lot of mindset, preparation and applied skill in any session at that size.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 3:04pm

Well said.

backhand life's picture
backhand life's picture
backhand life commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 5:51pm

Absolutely Sea Dub. I hear the same comments for Long Reef / Queensie bombies. But invariably, when asked if they’ve ever been out there, the answer is “no”.

Any wave at that size is a challenge for most, myself very much included.

stunet's picture
stunet's picture
stunet commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 9:22am

What the hell is with you people?

Turns? It's 15ft and they're riding 10ft boards. If you look at the first wave - crew bailing inside, old mate rolling in on a bomb - and say that's boring then you and I have very different ideas about surfing.

fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21's picture
fitzroy-21 commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 9:57am

I think it is a case of everyone has become "desensitized" Stu. Think back 20-30 years ago, we would be in awe of this (except for the jetski circus in the second clip). We use to draw waves half that size when we were kids thinking they were massive. But these days with all the exposure of Jaws, massive Cloudbreak, Teahupo, Nazare, etc it just doesn't seem so big and scary.

billie's picture
billie's picture
billie commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 10:21am

It's that second clip bro. Torture to watch. Losing faith in humanity. Jet ski surfing is fucked. And that is a poor example of jet ski surfing.

Billie

simsurf's picture
simsurf's picture
simsurf commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 3:09pm

Umm they took off and went straight down the face for a few minutes. That's it? One foot or fifteen it's pretty shitty to watch. I think most people of this forum could accomplish that feat.

bluediamond's picture
bluediamond's picture
bluediamond commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 3:53pm

I disagree. I reckon most people in this forum wouldn't even be out there in the first place.

Jono's picture
Jono's picture
Jono commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 9:53am

Yeah I reckon it's a great clip. Looks shifty as and they're having a good crack. No jetski safety or support, just big cold water waves. And the big lines of closeouts in the background.  Also throw in a dodgy closeout section on the last wave, that'd make the paddle out interesting. 

epictard's picture
epictard's picture
epictard commented Friday, 13 Nov 2020 at 6:25pm

I liked the first video. Mostly because it is not the kind of conditions that are so out of reach to the average punter to be unimaginable. Looks nice fat entry level big waves, but still big, and sure enough it would get the old heart started if you saw the horizon lift up at that size.

If watching it is boring to you then perhaps you already surf bigger and heavier waves, or maybe you need to change your mindset about why you watch surf and surfing.

radiationrules's picture
radiationrules's picture
radiationrules commented Saturday, 14 Nov 2020 at 2:30pm

epictard - I so agree with you - surely paddling without jetski assist into waves like that is the pinnacle of our pursuit (sport)? Not knowing what the ocean is going to chuck at you...as stu says in his pithy title "when the hunters become the hunted" the tables turn pretty quickly in those enviornment's.

Not wanting to sound like a name drop wanker..but I paddled out at Guethary in about '92 - that is I got through the shore break and was sucked out the back. And soon realised I was totally out of my depth, in every way possible. I saw this guy take a 10fter which capped on takeoff and caused him to do a very in-elegant swan dive. the guy between us started laughing out loud and encouraging me to laugh too..but i was just plain terrified..when the bloke came up it was Johhny Boy Gomes and the guy laughing was Veta David..i could see JBG was absoultely fuming with embarasment and then..he sprint paddled towwards us..I coudln't get out of his way quick enough..his irrational reputation was well established by then... the point being i was OK with being hunted by the waves that i miscalculated..but not by a wild human at the same time..