European Surfing's Oily Apocalypse

European Surfing’s
Oily Apocalypse

Going Down? The Prestige–Not Living Up to It’s Name.

By Chris Dixon

While CNN, FOX
AN MSNBC beat the drums of Apocalypse with Iraq, on the beaches of France and
Spain, the Apocalypse has been happening since last November. Here in the states,
we haven’t heard as much about the Prestige tanker disaster as we should have,
and so in the interest of letting surfers know what’s really going on,
here’s an interview with Jaques Beall. Beall is a principle with both Quiksilver
and Surfrider Europe. Like most European surfers, he has watched with dismay
and growing anger as an unprecedented swath of beaches from northern Portugal
to northern France and now the southern UK have all been sullied by oil.

Chris Dixon: Jaques,
what’s the situation now on the European coast?

Jaques Beall: Well,
the worst part is in Spain — the Gallacian coast. We also got a lot of oil
in France last month. And they’ve started to open some beaches near Bordeaux.
So it’s slowly improving here. There’s not as much left in the sea in front
of the French coast as month ago.

CD: We heard that you had a series of storms that pushed the oil ashore
in France.

JB: We got very
rough weather for weeks and they couldn’t get anything out of the sea with pumps,
so it all came to the coast.

With these storms,
the slicks got broken into tiny pieces and so near the coast you’ll have lots
of very small pieces of oil, about the size of your hand. So it’s very difficult,
almost impossible to work with. What we hope is that there won’t be anymore
big slicks.