"He Fingerpainted BEACH HEAD In Big, Bloody Letters Across The Wooden Table" - Stab Mag

“He Fingerpainted BEACH HEAD In Big, Bloody Letters Across The Wooden Table”

Ian Crane describes his dysfunctional European escapades.

cinema // May 24, 2023
Words by Ian Crane
Reading Time: 5 minutes

Editors Note: I called Ian Crane about his latest ‘Crane Brain’ B-Sides clip — titled ‘KEKS BEACH MACHINE’ — because I wanted some words for a story on it. After explaining that he almost enjoys this edit as much as ‘Crane Brain’ itself, Ian shyly offered up some written words of his own, a journal of the month in Europe. “Not sure if I want it on Stab or not,” he told me.”I’m kinda self-conscious about my writing.”

It’s not often that a pro-surfer is able to articulately immerse you into their world through a written story. I loved it.

Read below to indulge in Ian’s dysfunctional French adventure, and check out Ian’s site Beachhead.fun for more interdimensional juice.

So, I was in Hossegor, France for a QS event — but that was the side mission. The main mission was to film a European segment with Caity Simmers for my upcoming O’Neill movie, “Crane Brain.” I was there with Nick Green, Gabe Garcia, and my girlfriend Yasmine. 

The contest didn’t go well and I lost first round. That night we went out for drinks to a bar called Coolin in Hossegor. On the street walking into the bar I hear a French accent call out, “Ayyy Beach Head!” 

I looked over to see a wild-eyed kid named Mathis, from Biarritz. We went into the bar and ended up partying all night with Mathis and his friends. They invited us to come surf their local break — Grand Plage — saying there would be mega ramps in the afternoon at high tide. And so, the next day, we made the drive down to Biarritz to surf with Mathis and his crew. 

Biarritz is a beautiful city built around the beach and Grand Plage is at the center of it all. We had a fun surf and met more of Mathis’ crew; Brat, a big silent assassin who was filming the surf and Jordan, a loud, brash, in-your-face character with confidence and a ‘fuck you’ punk rock attitude. We all became fast friends and learned quickly what these guys are all about. 

Surf. Skate. Party. 

Their catch phrase, which they seem to work into every sentence, is “Alachune”! They are proud Basque Country kids and let you know it.

Biarritz is theirs. The waves, the streets, and the girls. They listen to music loud, surf, skate and drink hard, laughing endlessly. These guys leave their mark everywhere they go, and for how brash and abrasive they might be, the mark they leave is a positive one. They are loved in their city, lifting each other up, and creating beautiful things.

Take ‘BTZ Downhill’, a skate event where they bomb the steepest main street in Biarritz with thousands of people, as an example. During Covid it was their act of resistance to the lockdown in the city, and it brought together the youth of Southern France. 

Jordan, the main idea-man behind the event, copped the brunt of the punishment and had to pay fines for a year (“breaking COVID lockdown laws and issuing a riot.”) Since, he’s paid off the fines, and the mayor of Biarritz has personally contacted him. 

He is now being paid by the city’s events board to put on more BTZ events.

After our first day surfing and hanging in Biarritz with the Alachune crew, Nick, Yasmine, and I decided to relocate our travels from Hossegor to Biarritz. We got a small apartment in the city, surfed, and hung out with the crew every day for the next few weeks. Road tripping to find surf up and down the coast by day, walking the streets, bar hopping, and causing trouble by night. We celebrated Caity Simmers’ sweet 16 with a birthday BBQ. They came over with a 10lb tomahawk steak and we sang happy birthday in English and in French to the young queen. 

It was a memory for life.

Halloween came around — and it happened to be on a Sunday. On Sundays in Biarritz there’s a big street market, with a warehouse hanger that holds all the food. Socha, a tall, handsome gypsy was working at a cured ham booth in the market, so he took us in and hooked it up. We started with white wine and seafood tasting. Clams, oysters, sea snails and scallops, all washed down with more spirits. We rolled into costume shopping and paraded the streets from day till night, singing and dancing in the street, while lighting off fireworks in the town center.

As our trip came to an end, Mathis and the crew wanted to do something as a farewell. On our last night they took us to a traditional Basque restaurant in town. We were given a breakdown of how the dinner works by Mathis, “We will go in, get our table, get drunk, eat, and then yell a bit.” 

The restaurant was a large, two-story, open dining hall. Three-course meal, family style. No menus or separate plates, just bread, a few side dishes, delicious red meat (cooked very rare), and bottomless cider. The main attraction of the place was the cider room, featuring two massive 6 foot + barrels of cider with a spicket in the center. There are games to play and songs to sing as you turn the tap on and let the cider pour into your glass. As the night went on we got progressively drunker, sing-yelling into an extra large pepper grinder and cracking walnuts with our foreheads on the table. Socha left his phone number on a piece of crusty bread and placed it on the plate of a pretty girl at the table next to us, while she and her boyfriend got up for more cider. 

The night ended with Jordan bleeding profusely out of his hand and finger-painting BEACH HEAD in big, bloody letters across the wooden table. We were quickly ushered into the street, with the pretty girl from the table in attendance

These guys became life-friends to us all.

This video is from our time in Europe, surfing fun waves up and down the French coast with Caity, Gabe, Crosby, Mathis, Jordan, Issam and the Alachune crew. It was filmed and edited by Nick Green, with extra footage from Titigee, and BRAT. Watching this makes me smile and remember our times in France. I can’t wait to go back to Biarritz to surf, hang, and yell a bit with the Alachune crew.


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