A Lay Day Is A Terrible Thing To Waste - Stab Mag

Watch: The Electric Acid Surfboard Test, Starring Shaun Manners

Mikey Wright field-tests the event site. Photo: Ben Potier

A Lay Day Is A Terrible Thing To Waste

The surfing world descends in France for the Quiksilver Festival.

elsewhere // Sep 26, 2023
Words by Pedro Ramos
Reading Time: 5 minutes

The other day, as I hesitated to cross the road for fear of becoming roadkill, an oncoming car slowed down, and its driver waved me across. I thanked him, and for a moment, was certain I’d seen Dane Reynolds behind the wheel, but didn’t bother to look again.

Although Dane is not participating in the Quiksilver Festival, rumors confirm his presence in the area. Just like many others currently in SW France, it remains a mystery how these people end up mysteriously converging at the same place, at the same time.

Wouldn’t they be better off arriving a week before or after a major contest takes over a small town? Less crowds and a guaranteed score*?

Day 0

As the afternoon sun descended into the horizon, a steady stream of people carrying pizza boxes, take-away containers, bottled drinks, and picnic blankets made their way through the narrow wooden path through the large sand dune that connects Boulevard Front de Mer to Les Culs Nus, to celebrate the dying moments of the weekend. 

The rip out the front had created a long slopy left with plenty of push, while a smaller right broke into a pool-like channel. As the tide dropped and the harsh, direct sunlight gave pterygium-prone eyes a rest, a soothing gradient sky revealed a barrel fête happening at the now mechanical right. The Dorians, The Kerrs, and The Hos were amongst the numerous, tight pack, providing weekend warriors on the sand with plenty of occasions to let their ‘putain ouais!’ slip. 

Studies have revealed that the color red enhances memory retention. Jeremy Flores wore red when he won the Quik Pro France in 2019. Here, Jeremy is seen smiling. Coincidence? Photo: Ben Potier

Day 1

At breakfast, the dining room of the 70 Hectares Hotel begins to resemble the venue of a high-school reunion. Former tour surfers reconnect after what appears to have been a long time, and made evident by the prolonged hugs. Some seating choices and half-forced ‘how do you dos’ only confirm that some rivalries still linger. But if any tension is felt, the arrival of Jeremy Flores lightens up the mood. With diplomatic demeanor, he enthusiastically reveals the promising combination of the forecasted conditions and the way the sand chose to arrange itself along this stretch of coastline, before inviting the surfers down to the contest area for a briefing and to share feedback and/or ideas that may improve the competition format.

It’s mid-morning when contest director Miky Picon decides to call off the first two days of the waiting period. Out the front, the same bank is getting abused by much larger closeouts than the day before, and the challenging paddle-out has dissuaded most recreational surfers from removing surfboards off the racks of their camper vans.

“Je pense que lay day.” — Miky Picon Photo: Fred Egli

As I walk up the dune, I notice Mikey Wright and Noa Deane assessing the conditions. I hear Noa say, “It gives me the shits”, but can only speculate on its context. A couple of hours later, he was punting over sections most people would safety-stance through.

While some surfers chose to surf down the coast at Capbreton — where the elusive Sealtooth was observed in the wild — quite a few invitees opted to familiarize themselves with the contest area.

Michel Bourez is a brute, plowing and carving through the unruly lineup, fighting power with even more power in the familiar, but not unimpressive manner he made himself known during his stint on tour. 

The boy Big Dick Power Surfer affectionately called “little psychopath”. Photo: Fred Egli

Hughie Vaughn, the lightweight who brought your jaw to the floor in the last iteration of Stab High is still very much a “little psychopath”, and made his own skatepark out of the messy Culs Nus lineup.

Marc Lacomare and Kauli Vaast were superhuman in finding very long barrels on lefts that never seemed to materialize more than once at any given spot.

Aritz Aranburu, session 1 of 4. Photo: Fred Egli

By sundown, conditions were still unruly and two silhouettes could be seen out the back, hacking and slicing top-to-bottom on the fast-moving, solid rights. Quiksilver Festival teammates Aritz Aranburu (who seems to surf at least four times daily), and Vasco Ribeiro, looked intent on taking the contest’s ‘Best Combo’ and ‘Biggest Turn’ categories — Hawaiian style “plate lunch” and best turn (rail only), respectively.

Noa, off the boog for a minute. Photo: Ben Potier

Day 2

With onshore winds and a peaking, unruly swell, Tuesday appeared as the ugly duckling of the otherwise idyllic forecast. Nevertheless, many of the surfers hopped into their courtesy AMG EQS Mercedes to find surfable corners.

Plage du Prévent proved to be a decent option. In the water, Josh Kerr and Noa Deane grumbled over the conditions in a conversation that has certainly happened a few times before at D’Bah, while his Ladybird daughter, Sierra, and Jackson Dorian hucked their tails towards Capbreton’s beachfront. Josh Kerr looked limber and whippy on a twin fin, while Deane was mostly pulling into closeouts on a bodyboard for giggles.

A man that might just have the answer to all the big questions. Photo: Fred Egli

The Quiksilver Festival main event starts this Wednesday at 8AM CEST at Les Culs Nus. To end the day, Repeater, which you might’ve had the pleasure to watch before, will occupy much deserved silver screen square footage at Cinéma Le Rex, in Hossegor at 7:30PM, followed by a Q&A with its cast and crew. Free tickets are becoming scarce, but you might still be able to cop some from Boardriders Capbreton. 

*Only applicable to WSL sanctioned events. 


Comments are a Stab Premium feature. Gotta join to talk shop.

Already a member? Sign In

Want to join? Sign Up


Most Recent

Why Is The WSL (Really) Not Going To J-Bay In 2024?

An analysis of politics, exchange rates and sponsorship dollars at South Africa's premier point.

Dec 3, 2023

Teahupo’o Reef “Massacred” By Olympic Barge

Should surfers boycott the IOC?

Dec 3, 2023

Two Percent’s “Smooch” Starts With Kanye, Ends With Crosby, Lives Up To The Hype

A visual representation of California's world-class surf renaissance.

Dec 2, 2023

The Electric Acid Surfboard Test Starring Shaun Manners, Episode Two

Solitude at last.

Dec 1, 2023

“It’s A Huge Cash Prize And We Never Make Money Anymore — We’re All Only Thinking About Winning”

Nine young talents respond and reflect on their 2023 Vans Pipe Masters invites.

Dec 1, 2023

The Floater: Relevant Roof Ride Or Unflushable Turd?

Careful what you wish for, floater haters. Because in a surf world without them, Kelly…

Nov 30, 2023

Full Frame: Portuguese Serendipity 

Torrey Meister by Joao Bracourt, somewhere in southern Portugal.

Nov 28, 2023

Red Bull No Contest Drops Anchor In Tahiti, Gets Treated To Region’s Deadly/Non-Deadly Waves + Address Tower Controversy

Featuring the first man to surf Teahupo’o, the Spartan, and two (likely) future Olympic medallists. 

Nov 28, 2023

Russell Bierke’s SEOTY ‘Snapped’ Noa Deane + Conjured Demonic Screams At The Opening Prem In Milton

‘Not many people treat big, solid waves like a fucking play pen,” explains Noz.

Nov 28, 2023

The 10th SEOTY Entry Features The Odd 13-Second Cathedral

Watch ISA World Junior Champ Grayson Hinrichs in 'Surfish'.

Nov 26, 2023

Jai Glindeman Samples Parko’s ‘Golden Child’ Board, Unlocks New Facets Of Already-Stellar Surfing

Come bask in the ascension.

Nov 25, 2023

Full Frame: Line ‘Em Up

The other Desert Point by Alan Van Gysen.

Nov 24, 2023

Shaun Manners Paddled 47.25 km In 2.5 Days On A Pie And Beer Diet, And All He Got Was This Stupid Stab Series

Sweat matters. Manners sweats.

Nov 23, 2023

QS-ANON: The Argument Against A Regionalized Tour

Competitors have fewer opportunities and longer gaps between them. 

Nov 22, 2023

Did You Know Dillon Perillo Is One Of Dane Reynolds’ Favorite Surfers?

Here's what happened to the guy who went toe-to-toe with JJF in Dear Suburbia.

Nov 21, 2023

Red Bull No Contest Gets Popped By Morocco’s Endless Pleasure Points, The Biggest Mosque In Africa

“Came for six days, stayed for two months.”

Nov 21, 2023

A Keg-Packing Aussie Barista Who Once Visited The Emerald Isles And Never Left

SEOTY: Noah Lane in 'Blow in'.

Nov 21, 2023

Eyeball: The 60 Surfers In The 2023 Vans Pipe Masters 

Invitees include: John Florence, Carissa Moore, Russell Bierke, Shaun Manners, Bruno Santos, Bethany Hamilton +…

Nov 21, 2023