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RIDING WINTER THROUGH SUMMER - Katie Bamber, Cote des Basques, France
Friday July 5, 2019 - Email this article to a friend

It's a rolling blog as our ski reporter Katie chases waves on the Atlantic filling the winter void of skiing & snowboarding with surfing.





What characterised this past ski season?


Loads of it.

From November turns in Cervinia, to Austria's epic January fall - where I did more lift waiting than powder skiing.

Then chasing it to America during the record breaking month #Februburied and back to the Alps for closing out winter '18-19.

What's a roving ski-snowboarder to do once it's all over?

Perhaps hit the Southern Hemisphere resorts, or even the glaciers of Europe.

But first... waves.

So, skis & boots packed away to deal with the condition next winter - I'm already panicking if those boots were dry... - straight to the sun and the Atlantic.

Now I'm no great surfer.

Far from it.

But an enthusiast, sure.

And a frustrated one... at not being able to convert snowboarding skills into surfing as seamlessly as I feel it should be.

I binge on World Surf League videos and have come to believe that I can copy some of the skills laid out by these incredible surfers.

Until I'm out there.

But I'm committed now to making it happen, and I've a fair amount of time on the water.

So I'd better crack it soon.

@Gopro on the waterGoPro HERO7 Black 
















So exiting the ski season, probably a little early with all the snow still falling on the hills, I upped and left to Andalusia and Vejer de la Frontera.

Small waves at El Palmar with an offshore wind for a few days made it perfect for finding my feet.

El Palmar is a good hippy surf spot.

Campers parked up in the parking lot and an un built-up sea front keep it cheap and relaxed.

And there's no one out there to have to fight for waves.

Instagram @the-magnetic_pull Vejer, Andalusia SpainInstagram Katie Bamber @the-magnetic_pull Vejer, Andalusia Spain

















Imnstagram @the-magnetic_pull Vejer, Andalusia SpainKatie's Instagram @the_magnetic_pull Vejer, Andalusia Spain

















Day 3 - last day - 70km winds.

Perhaps the hardest I've ever worked to keep my cool and keep going as waves crumbled on top of me.

The waves were messy.

I was messy.

Where next to right this?

Les Landes in the south-west of France.

Moliets-et-Maa, staying at the beautiful calm villas of Madame Vacances, located in the forest fronting the beach.

Huge, tall pine trees, sand dunes, rugged and raw scenery.

Can you get a better spot?































Surfing in Moliets-et-MaaSurfing in Moliets-et-Maa



















A beautiful moody morning to spend on the water, but tiny 80cm waves make it hard to get the craved for fix.

Though surfing on a borrowed super-light, bamboo mix 9ft-something surfboard was a treat.

On I travel.

Or down, rather.

Into Basque Country and Biarritz.

A very different landscape with rugged cliffs down to the sea, at the edge of the Pyrenees.

BiarritzBiarritz  GoPro HERO7 Black
















There are two in-town spots to surf here.

Cote des Basques - surfer soup.

Which at low-tide is perfect for beginners.

Cotes de BasqueCotes de Basque
















Wait til mid-tide and it looked like a longboarders chilled wave.

So I saw when I arrived, yesterday.

Shot with GoPro HERO7 Black

But of course by the time I got my arse into gear it wasn't so -

Rookie mistake -

And I was paddling hard for small waves again.

Fun to play around on though, doing dance steps on the longboard.

Katie BamberGoPro HERO7 Black  
















I did make it out the night before to an evening surf on La Grande Plage.

The famous Grande Plage is a popular golden-sand beach that's backed by a promenade featuring Hermes and the likes.

These up-market shops as well as the Hotel du Palais, the extravagant summer home of Emperor Napoleon III and his wife Eugénie built on a sand dune that made Biarritz the glamorous and fashionable spot it is today.

High tide was 19:30 so many locals were also out in the few hours following, playing on at sun down on the moon-lit waves.

Grande Plage 9pmGrande Plage 9pm














It's a cool place to visit for surfing, here.

Surfing on the Basque coast was brought by an American director.

He came in 1956 to shoot "The Sun Rises", a book by Ernest Hemingway.

Richard Zanuck, the director, hailed from California.

He brought his surfboard with and showed the French what they were missing.

50 years later and I'm hooked, though not French.

I'm looking to get in another surf on this last day of my July France trip.

I'm heading off now, further north again towards Hossegor and Anglet, for hopefully some bigger waves before the evening's high-tide and my plane home at 10pm.

I'll check you later.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: Number One for ski news

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