FRANCE // SPAIN

Carve - - BOARDMASTERS -

Whilst we’ve gen­er­ally been cul­tur­ally and ge­o­graph­i­cally sep­a­rate from Europe, well ever since Dog­ger­land sank be­neath the North Sea any­way, we are hand­ily parked just off­shore.

So a road trip through our con­ti­nen­tal cousins back­yards is a breeze. Summer is a per­fect time for a French or Span­ish quest and the lands of warm wa­ter, fun waves and par­ties that go on a lot later than us Brits are used to is just a ferry ride away, or if you’re flush a brief flight. Here’s a look at some of the op­tions.

If driv­ing first things first make sure your char­iot is a rea­son­able run­ner and you’ve got ev­ery­thing you need for Euro­pean mo­tor­ing. Check the AA or RAC web­sites for the es­sen­tials and make sure you’ve got your Euro car cover. Noth­ing worse than blow­ing up an en­gine on the French mo­tor­way. Ain’t noth­ing as surly as a French tow truck driver com­ing to get an English­man. The one time we blew a camshaft on a French run with no cover it cost a grand to get the car back to the UK ... Not fun. So make sure you’re cov­ered. This is of course isn’t an is­sue if you’re fly­ing and rent­ing a mo­tor or be­ing shut­tled around by some of the lovely surf camp folks.

The clas­sic Euro summer trip is a whip down to the Hossegor re­gion. Stun­ning food, won­der­ful place and of course world class surf. The en­tire French At­lantic coast is hold­ing but it’s the south west that’s the prize.

Now Hoss’ in summer isn’t as empty as it used to be. But it’s not a stress, out­side of the name Hossegor spots there’s a 100 miles of empty po­ten­tial from La­canau to the Span­ish bor­der. Of­ten times the best bank on the coast isn’t in Hoss but near one of the smaller towns or in the forests. It pays to hunt around at high and low tides. Also take some bi­nos for bank re­con. Good camps and guides will tee you up with where’s best at what tides so you can make the most of your time. The nightlife is le­gendary and there’s food op­tions to suit all bud­gets.

Just pass Hoss and the classy con­fines of Biar­ritz you hit Spain, tech­ni­cally the Basque Coun­try, with it’s own dis­tinct cul­ture and flavour so al­ways re­spect this as the lo­cals re­gard them­selves as Basque first and Span­ish a dis­tant se­cond. Drop a pin any­where in the north coast of Spain and you’ll find fun waves not far away. A re­laxed cul­ture, mad par­ties and ta­pas or pinx­tos to keep you full. San Se­bas­tian, Za­rautz are all fa­mous surf towns and you’ll have fun wher­ever you end up. Es­pe­cially if it’s one of the cide­rias up in the hills...

If you’ve got the time you can make it all the way along the north coast of Spain to Gali­cia. Sam­pling the won­der­ful va­ri­ety of waves and ta­pas as you go. By the time you hit Gali­cia you might have spent a bit on mo­tor­way tolls but you will have had a hell of a time.

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