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The Basque Country

Having had enough of the rain and wind and wanting to see more of Europe, I set out on a journey south from Lofoten, Norway to Bilbao, Spain and then on to Biarritz, France. Stretching across the two countries, the Basque Country is a surfing paradise. There are countless fun breaks, from the world famous Mundaka River Mouth in Spain to the barrels of Hossegor, France. In August, the weather is warm and the surf is inconsistent, but there is a swell in the forecast.

Getting from the Arctic to Northern Spain turned out to be an adventure in itself. I spent the first night on a ferry and then directly onto a train for 20 hours. After a few hours exploring Oslo, I hopped on an overnight flight to Spain. Three nights on three different modes of transportation was rough but once I succumbed to the incessant noise and awkwardness, I made it work.

Arriving in Spain, I was stoked by the warm weather and cheap prices. Alcohol and food felt almost free compared to Norway, which was perfect for indulging myself while I waited a couple days for the swell. The plan was to meet up with a local French surfer, Côme, who I met last year in Bali, and hit the road north to Bayonne, France to surf Hossegor and Anglet.

Côme and I craved some waves so as soon as we arrived in France so we grabbed boards and went straight to the beach. Our first session was in Anglet where the warm water was a blessing but the conditions were less than ideal. Despite this, it felt amazing to be in the water. Getting wet is always worth it. Even unpredictable windswell chop can be fun if you maintain the right mindset.

Surfing Hossegor on our second day – the waves were perfect. The tides lined up with the light offshore winds to form fun and fast beach break waves. To be honest, it was intimidating paddling out to a new break, on a new board, into waves completely different from what I was used to. Not sure what to expect, I started off by surfing a less crowded peak with a lesser wave. My confidence grew after dropping into a few corners and I worked my way into bigger and faster waves. Heart pumping drop ins, tucking into closeout barrels and perfect weather. If only everyday could be that epic.

Unfortunately, it was only that one day of perfection but sometimes one day is all you need. Feeling stoked, I spent the rest of my time soaking in the sun and basking in the French culture. With Côme as a local guide, I had the great opportunity to see France and experience the French lifestyle. I would never have known to try some of the Basque foods, such as Gateau de Basque (a delicious Basque Cake), iberico (a mouthwatering special Basque-style pork), and local ice creams. With no swell in the forecast and a limited time, I decided to hit the road again. With a few stops across the Czech Republic and Germany, I ended up in Munich, hoping for another surf adventure.

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