Stab Magazine | John John Florence, Wavegarden, Basque Country
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John John Florence, Wavegarden, Basque Country

In a valley in Europe’s Basque Country, is the increasingly famous wavepool called Wavegarden. Some 300-metres long and 75 metres wide, it generates a wave over 200 metres in length. Eighteen second rides! John John Florence, the Hawaiian surfer currently touted as the best surfer in the world now that Dane appears to have lost […]

full frame // Mar 8, 2016
Words by Alex Laurel
Reading Time: 2 minutes

In a valley in Europe’s Basque Country, is the increasingly famous wavepool called Wavegarden. Some 300-metres long and 75 metres wide, it generates a wave over 200 metres in length. Eighteen second rides! John John Florence, the Hawaiian surfer currently touted as the best surfer in the world now that Dane appears to have lost interest in the virtual crown, took his Pyzels to the pool during a lay-day in the French leg of the tour. “John wanted to give it a try and see how fun it was,” says the photographer, Mr Alex Laurel. “I was a bit in that same ‘fun’ kind of approach. It’s not a performance wave but the surroundings are pretty mental, lost in land, deep in the Basque Country, next to a river going through a forest. Well, not a performance wave until John gets in and carves the shit out of it. The place is rad. You just have to press a button to start the session. No tides to deal with, no swell charts to read and a wooden deck instead of sand-dunes to cross to get in the water. Once you finish your ride, let’s say a righthander, you don’t have to paddle back out ‘cause a left starts two minutes after at the exact spot where you kicked out on your first ride. Such a lazy-man surf spot. But why make it harder when you can make it easy? The whole scene was a good combination to try something a bit more creative than shooting your regular surf spot. The forest is about 50 metres behind the wave so I’ve pulled out a 90mm that is made to shoot architecture, originally. The forest was pretty massive compared to John so I was using this tool to make him stand out. At first we were down for a little two-hour session but I think we ended up staying for almost four hours. After the session, John just had to put his skate shoes back on, ready to sweat it out on a mini-ramp next to the pool. Just bring a DJ, light up a barbecue with a few beers and I think you could have a fucking great day.”

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