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A Year In Review #10: A Mediterranean Swell Chase

From the World December 22, 2020

Words by Alexei Obolensky | Frames by Yentl Touboul

Oh The French Riviera!

Could anything be more novelty. Could anything be more luxurious. Is this the birth of luxurious novelty? Luxnov?

With Eithan Osborne already in town, our French affair was about to take a slightly different turn. With the car loaded, we dream of wedges breaking off the bow of an oligarch’s super-yacht. A few turns to the beach and then being invited up for caviar and Champagne. With one of the better swells over the past few years on the charts, it very much looked like we were about to find out, feeling comfortable in safe hands of the hostess with the mostess—Nathan Sadoun—who you likely won’t have heard of but will definitely wish you had. A Marseille local, residing in Biarritz come summer and heir to a long line of Mediterranean surfers. A handy man to know in our search of the novelty.

Now, med swells are a somewhat procedural affair, usually happening over 3-4 days. The first day often consists of strong local winds whipping up short but remarkably punchy wind swells, the second day being calm with well-groomed swells – this is usually the day. The third and (if you’re extra lucky, extra luxnov) fourth days are a sort of sweet hangover affair of small days. Good for long boarding or hanging poolside, drink in hand.

Our experience was to be no different. The first thing we learnt is that, well, Marseille and the French Riveria are very far from Biarritz. The drive was long and boring. On arrival we checked into our Airbnb which was a little less lux than we had perhaps hoped, in the sense that it sure wasn’t a super yacht but hey, surf budgets in the 2020 Covid landscape ain’t what they used to be. We arrive with just enough light to surf a little sharp, cobbled beach. True to form of med swells, the weather is grey and stormy and low cloud hugs the cliffs as Eithan punts to the most glorious of gloomy backdrops and yours truly gets dragged across the sharp rocks. No worse injury than a bruised ego.

We beat a retreat. Waiting for the day of days.

We wake. We hit the fabled point under Nathan’s expert guidance. The sun is out and true to form, long fun walls are rumbling along the point. And wow, do people like to surf here. People of all ages. The crowd is there but the vibes are high. However, there is one problem. This isn’t novelty. This is properly good. 4-6ft walls reel down the point. Eithan surfs for two hours then breaks his board. Not bad going for the med. We revel in our good fortune. The world is our oyster, the Riviera our temptress, and we’re more than happy to dance to the beat of her drum at the point of total plaisir.

Keep your eyes peeled for Beaux Rivages, our accompanying short film, supported by Billabong & Monster Energy. Coming soon.

©Wasted Talent Magazine
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