Stand Up Paddle World Tour Event- Anglet, France- May 2010
The Stand Up Paddle World Tour event in Anglet was the first Sup event I have ever entered and competed in. Relatively new to the sport of Stand Up Paddle surfing, after only starting just under two years ago it seems I have built a reputation abroad for Supp’ing into some of the heaviest waves on the planet- I guess Dungeons included. Luckily for me, this reputation has enabled me to get a place on teh stand Up Paddle World tour Committee Board and a slot into the Top 16 for the first two legs of the SUP World Tour.
First stop @ Sunset Beach in Jan 10, which was 15ft, which I missed due to work and competing abroad for the Mavericks event and the second stop was the Anglet event in France, in May.
I thought I should try my luck and give it go and see if I could compete against the worlds best and hopefully get through a heat or two and at least gain some insight and learn from the best as to how far behind we actually are, compared to the elite.
So I packed my board and headed out on a another plane journey to Paris and then transferred to Bordeaux.
Arriving at Bordeaux, the usual scenario.. Where are my boards??? Aah pardon meseer, your boards, they seem to have missed the connection and are still in Johannesbug! And so the nightmare of lost boards begins again!
And the hunt begins in France, to get my boards in France before the event starts and my heat begins!
Well, that makes things easy, less to pack onto the rent a car, I jump into my mini Gets and gets me the Vava voom outta there and on the road, heading South to Anglet on the autobaan.
I got to Anglet check into the hotel, check in on work and check in on my boards to ensure they will be arriving the following morning… ‘Wee Masseur, they will be on the next flight over, so tomorrow they will be here and we will send them to you at your hotel!’
All good, the main event is only due to start in two days, as they are running the trials, so we are styling, will have everything before I compete.
I drive down to Biarritz, rent a longboard, a suit as its 2ft and pretty small and paddle out in the idyllic little town of Biarritz… grab a couple waves and head back to the hotel.
Anglet is quaint, very European, steeped in history and heritage.
Great French food and wine, croissants and bakeries on almost every corner, but the weather this time of the year can be hot or cold depending the week you go. You either get lucky, or unlucky…Well, I got unlucky… It was frikken freezing pretty much most of the ten days I was there. I wish I had taken my full suit, as I thought I was going to be in a springy or boardies! Not!
The following day they ran the trials for the event and I ran around half of France looking for my equipment, after telling me they had it up at Bordeaux airport, so I drove an hour up to Bordeaux, to find out frikken Air France had made a mistake and sent my stuff back to Paris by mistake! OMG!!!!!
Moral of the story…Never fly Air France unless you can’t help it. My equipment ended arriving two days later at the wrong airport, my paddle missing and huge tears and dings in all my boards…
I ended up borrowing a board for the first heat, just narrowly making it through. Hooking up with Rob and some old mates from the UK and going out to a little Mexican restaurant and having Nachos, Corona’s and way too many Tequila’s.
Always good to catch up with old friends, time and years may pass but with good friends, time makes no difference, sometimes it’s like you were never apart.
I caught up with Rob and Julie from the Canaries, Linzi &Jeff from the Channel Islands and a couple others I hadn’t seen for ages.
The waves were rubbish, 2ft and onshore most of the time, not ideal for the event but we made the best of it and I managed somehow to get through into the Quarter Finals of my first ever SUP World Tour event.
With conditions building I was sure I didn’t make it through the Quarters, but somehow I did and the Semi’s and finals were due to run on the final day. Just when I find out the Chile Big Wave event is going to run, the following day…Typical… Gotta hate Murphy!
Choices, choices… Surf the semi’s miss my flight and the Chile event, or bail now, fly straight to Chile, no boards, surf a new spot at 20ft I haven’t surfed before, on borrowed equipment I haven’t used before…Sometimes you need to choose wisely, as the consequences can be worse than you know, especially when dealing with life threatening size surf.
Screw it, finish what you started…surf the Semi’s and if you make your flight bonus.
So, I surfed the semi, ended up 5th overall in the World Tour event, drove like a maniac back up north to get my flight, only to find it was a public holiday and the traffic was chaos… it was fate, even if I hadn’t have surfed the Semi, I still wouldn’t have made my flight as it three times longer getting to Bordeaux than usual, so I missed that flight too, so I just carried on driving another 7 hours up to Paris to catch my connecting flight there back home.
Life as a roving traveller and surfer is full of surprises, so like in life you need to be flexible to all that comes your way, bend your plans, don’t break them. Be innovative and sometimes, when things don’t go your way, there is a very good reason why… Sometimes you just gotta learn to roll with it and not fight it…