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Jamie Mitchell and what would've been wave of the day, if he'd made the airdrop. Photo: Aurelien Laborde/Billabong XXL


Peyo Lizarazu, bouncing. Photo: Nic Dazet


Shane Dorian and Benjamin Sanchis, two men with more grit than you. Photo: Nic Dazet


Shane (on the left) and Benny (on the right). Photo: Nic Dazet


Photo: Nic Dazet


Peyo Lizarazu, such wow, even for tow! Photo: Nic Dazet

A Paddle Session At Belharra

You know Belharra, right? That big wave magnet near Jean de Luz in the French Basque Country? Well, a storm named Hercules hit it overnight. Shane Dorian, Jamie Mitchell, Benjamin Sanchis, Twiggy Baker, Justine Dupont, Greg Long, Anthony Walsh, Peyo Lizarazu and plenty more came in wild for kicks. Peyo whipped some of the morning’s best waves, but it quickly became a paddle-only session as the tide dropped (Belharra favours the lower tide).

Quiksilver France guru Nic Dazet was in a boat in the channel. Stab spoke with him while still in the boat, during which Nic interrupted himself frequently to whoop in real time as the team in the lineup scratched or whipped into bombs. He also told us more about the session after it’d wrapped. “Peyo Lizarazu whipped into the best tow wave of the day, but then it turned into a paddle-only session,” Nic says. “(Shane) Dorian got the sickest one paddling, a left. It wasn’t the biggest, he just timed it perfectly. Benjamin Sanchis went right on the same one and fell. Jamie Mitchell did the sickest air drop on the biggest one of the day, easy 30 feet, but then ate shit.”

As an aside, Twiggy Baker and Jamie almost didn’t make it out there this morning. They rolled down to the water at pitch black to find their ski underwater. Luckily it worked out and they made it to the lineup in time for Jamie to almost make said air drop and allow us the pleasure of the photo you’ll see above.

While eating a cepes omelette at them Hendaye harbour after the session, Shane and Benny discussed Jamie’s wave:

Benny: What size you think Jamie’s wave was?
Shane: It’s hard to tell, but that wave was over 60 feet for sure. It wasn’t the biggest wave I’ve seen today, but it was a really good one. Even for towing, it was a big wave.
Benny: Yeah, that wave had more wall than most of the sets today. You saw how hard it is to be in the right spot to catch the wave? Sometimes you have the feeling you’re at the right spot but if you end up a bit on the shoulder you miss it.
Shane: You don’t want to be behind either, you really need to be on the top. The wave is so fast that if you were anywhere but the peak you can’t catch it. I wish I got to have get more tries.
Benny: Too bad it wasn’t breaking yesterday, we could have had two sessions in one swell.
Shane: It’s a great spot to paddle, you can definitely catch some huge waves there…

“This was the first real paddle session here,” says Nic. “A lot of broken boards. But then the wind come on strong and the sets died off. It was still decent Belharra.”

Even if a little underwhelming. But, how could it not be in an age of ultrahype because the internet?

  • spicoli

    ahhh remember the 80’s, if you wanted the latest surfing news you waited until the mags come out

    • god

      no i dont remember that.. remember right now, where everything is instant and fucking awesome, and you can watch contests streaming on your mobile devices?

  • James B

    Hey, mr. Laird Hamilton, where are you right now???? Too busy criticizing Maya Gabeira and Carlos Burle???

    • Jack

      shut up

      • alex

        Are you seriously defending Larid?

    • Rattone

      fucking moron’

      • Mike

        what is the argument for Laird Hamilton at this point?

        • John Dove

          He popularized hydroplaning and now every racing sailboat uses one. The first time Laird essentially invented tow surfing, he was already better than Carlos Burle will ever be. He’s arguably the best SUPer in the world.
          But should Laird paddle charge Jaws on it’s biggest day and show everyone up forever? Til you dumbasses forget next time? Yes

          • Mike

            Should have specified, within the context of surfing these days. Could care less about his sailboat/hydroplane contributions.

            There have been what, 4-5 massive swells in the North Atlantic that he’s missed now? Dorian and Ian Walsh seem to be everywhere these days. Where’s Laird. When’s his next CNN segment? How about he goes surfing again instead of waiting for the next big swell at Jaws.

            I’ll give the nod to guys like Grant Baker, Walsh, and Dorian over Laird at this point.

          • John Dove

            I don’t think he surfs cold water. He probably felt he already conquered surfing… then tow-surfing… now hydro-plane and SUP… paddle at Jaws seems to be the new pinnacle, a realm of possibility only recently exposed… I wonder he has it in him.

            But as far as him being critical of Carlos and Maya tow surfing he has all the credibility in the world. And what he said about paddle surfing wasting waves (though I agree it’s cooler than tow surfing) is an accurate statement. Kind of pathetic he’s attacked for honesty.

          • Speak

            paddle surfing wastes waves is like saying pneumatic spearguns are better because band spearguns waste fish

            …what a dumbell

          • Speak

            SUP surfing sucks

        • Rattone

          there is no argument for Laird, James B is a moron because he is like that annoying little punk you went to school with who everybody hates and who always has some smug, smart ass comment to make. Laird sucks and James B is a douchebag

    • Tim Emery

      James B ..STFU ! no name idiot !

      • João Esteves

        lol angry americans…

        • ThatDank

          retarded brazilians.

          • chuleta

            Jealous Americans

          • CoyoteNW

            Jealous of what?

          • Keanu808

            jealous of their really lame surf

          • Benevides

            RETARDED BRAZILIAN 1> Danilo Couto – paddled in Jaws in a MONSTER one while Laird sissy ass talks it couldn’t be possible without jets..LAZY.

            RETARDED BRAZILIAN 2> Maya Gabeira – a tiny young women with a half of Laird’s size, but with huge amounts of go for it..Laird is Jealous and feeling the age, said Maya. bang!

            RETARDED BRAZILIAN 3 > CARLOS BURLE – after saving Maya’s life in a courageous rescue showing sense of team and friendship..come back to water to catch one of the biggest waves of 2013

            i’m proudly retarded.

          • ThatDank

            uh what

    • gannysesh

      He’s doing push-ups on the beach in Malibu, Hummer idling in the parking lot.

    • gannysesh

      He’s doing push-ups on the beach in Malibu, Hummer idling in the parking lot.

      • alex


        • Shem

          Meanwhile Laird is doing helicopter take offs on his SUP at 6ft Hanalei

  • Chlöe Mandingo

    Should have gone to Ireland…

  • Benevides

    James B was right…. Laird “Barbie´s Ken” Hamilton just blah blah nowadays..when the swell is coming monster we NEVER see this asshole surfing the huge ones..just sat down your stinky butt in a refrigerated studio on CNN to talk bullshit about the Brazilians .. some of the REAL talented and fearless big riders today..

  • James Small

    Think everyone is ailing to mention that the swell is a bit of a disappointment. Looks like a small day at nazare….

  • Axel Foley

    Laird Hamilton just reported that this wave does not count “as big wave”. Another comment by Laird purely based on narcissistic perceived indifference.

  • NSB

    you guys are so quick to forget that laird rips in big waves. He still has it, but and even if he dosnt.what does your big wave skills look like? I think stabmag and surfing has been taken over by kooks that do it just because its the cool thing now. YOU MAY BE NEW TO THIS, BUT IM TRUE TO THIS………………rip JLA AI

    • Duarte Catela

      Please shut up… If he still has it PROVE IT.

    • Delbazz

      When has Laird paddled into a big wave?

    • tunerbowl

      whats ur real name just wondering

  • Delbazz

    I can’t understand a word that Sanchis is saying. He sounds drunk.

  • zbah

    Jamie’s wave is a fucking beast. Hard to say how big the others are since whitewater only gets about halfway down. Does that count? some are almost nazzarre whitecap style. Laird is fun to tease from the safety of the keyboard. Less so in person. Your results wont vary. Love him or hate him, Im pretty sure laird doesn’t need to prove anything at this point. With the exception of Jamie’s wave I guarantee laird has paddled heavier waves at Kings with no fanfare. Maybe not quite as big as measured by zee current German yardstick method of wave calibration. But way fuckin heavier. And without on demand water wing airbags. By the way, wasn’t this the same wave that zee German guy who could barely surf caught for the xxl that resulted in Nathan fletcher calling bullshit on the whole tow game and ending the XML nonsense? This big wave thing is getting pretty confusing. Unless you paddle out. Then I’m sure shit gets pretty fucking clear. I think I’ll pass.

  • NSB

    My real name is Koa. My dad paddled with laird lots of times in the 80s and 90s. Laird still paddles to this day, but the program he is on dosnt call for internet clips.

  • bender

    Laird might ask “Why did they Photoshop the Picture?” The guy appears to be wearing a shorty in January . . in France. Come on. Videos look good but why doctor the cover shot?

  • Robbie Brady

    H8 2 b a h8er but Belharra is kind of a washout

  • Laird Hamilton

    Do you got a problem?

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