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?