Surf: Well overhead and messy.
Events held: none.
Nature’s call: How to stop these madmen?
Predicted: Please…off shores.
So that storm did come in. Thankfully, it wasn’t as bad as predicted. All were braced for the worse with the talk of 70 mph winds and all, but they only gusted in at a mere 30. They made not a tatter of these sleepy and idyllic beachside towns, but did make for filthy — literally filthy — waves. Any lingering petrol sludge from last winter’s terrible spill off the oil tanker Prestige seeped in with the storm, making for tar-laced waves and sticky, black wax. Still, the grease was no deterrent for the boys today.

At Hossegor’s La Nord, the premiere big wave joint in town for those special days, well, the shorebreak was really on. It’s the place that Gerr and Snips and Flea all towed as part of the Billabong {{{Odyssey}}} — a deepwater wave, with a similar canyon setup to Blacks Beach. I say shorebreak because there’s really no other way to describe this morning’s surf. You could maybe liken it to a solid, wind-ripped day at OTW — but who would ever want to be out in that? Now, maybe because these were “breaking” over sand and not some flesh mangling lava reef — that could’ve had something to do with it. Because what I walked up to see this morning, what the WCT boys were doing with these waves, I had trouble believing. The waves were just what you’d expect from 30 mph winds; but the surfing was even better than you’d expect from the world’s best. Hyperbole, you say? Let me explain.These waves were unloading hard and — like hyperactive children — pouncing with a wearying consistency on the shallow and hard-packed sand. At 8 am, a whole crew of Aussie pros were already out, surfing so swell you’d expect them at it from first light. What about their coffee and croissants? First thing I saw was Joel Parkinson as he wore at least 15 6-foot mud-dumping beasts, just one after another: BOOM! It looked like Puerto without the rewards. Only, there were rewards — for Parko, at least. When he finally made it back out, he got his revenge. First wave: a traditionalist’s-dream-plus-tail-sliding-carve, throwing spray at least 15 feet in the air. Then there was also Deano Morrison and the Occ and Fanning and the rest of their good mates, all paddling their hearts out, making elevator drops and taking slaps, hooting each other in the fury of what a rather satisfied Troy Brooks had to call, “Some big ‘ol boomers, ay?” There’s no question; these guys REALLY like to surf. — Hagan Kelley