Wish You Were Here: Guéthary, France (and more Biarritz)

by brian lam

This pleasant little beach below the Grande Plage in Biarritz is near a spot that Chris Dixon, your editor in chief at The Scuttlefish, said he almost drowned at in big surf, with conditions he’d never seen change so fast. It seemed hard to believe on this day, but I believed him nonetheless. Afterwards, I wandered south to Guéthary, an old whaling and fishing village that has some great waves. In the fall, the coastal cities are less crowded, the surf can come up a bit, and everything is perfect.

I was there to see my friends Ai and Cedric. Cedric, from the mountains a few hours away, grew up learning to surf here during summers and Ai is my oldest friend in the world, who I went to montessori school with. The first night there we went to the house of Cedric’s childhood friend Marciel and grabbed some boards, ate some good food in their backyard, and I made friends despite speaking very little french. We later went to a party in the center of the village, which happened to be hawaii themed. So Cedric and I grabbed two aloha shirts from my suitcase at their apartment two doors down and fit right in.

The next day we discovered the wave Parliament, was breaking and as the tides drop drastically in the region, every wave that went by seemed to grow until they were overhead and crumbly. My brother Jonny showed up, as did Emily, Ai’s fashion design Protege, and the next few days we grabbed fresh fish, sometimes with the fish hook still in mouth, ham, cheese, wine and surfed more crispy beach break. I’ll need to go back next year for a few weeks and work on my French.












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