ONCE when I was in a hostel in Managua a heavy-set American girl sat down on the couch next to me and said this, “I just had the most clutch powernap”. I did a double-take. “What?” I said. She repeated the statement and I recoiled in disgust at her shitty slang use. Clutch as an adjective? Where do you get off, I thought. Take your stupid tween shopping mall jibber jabber back to Wisconsin or wherever it is you came from. Clutch is a term often applied in the sporting world. If a dude/dudette is a clutch performer, it means they do super well during times of extreme pressure. It’s an innate skill that comes out in critical games, say Game 7 of the NBA Finals. Michael Jordan was a guru clutch performer. I pulled out a clutch performance of my own this week in Hossegor, France.
We arrived here last Friday from Spain. I went to sleep on our bus and woke up in another country, which I thought was pretty cool, although I’m fairly spewing I wasn’t given a new stamp in my passport. We were picked up by my mate Ludovic, a French mate I met in Mexico in 2009, who was to be our tour/surf guide for the week. He rips on the boogs and is the first and only bodyboarder/doctor combo I’ve met. He has the place wired too and can tell you where and how a wave is breaking 47km away just by sticking his tongue out the car window. Rounding out our quintet was my mate Dan, a classic lanky sponger from back home who’s just moved to France for the forseeable future to be with his girlfriend, which is really cool and romantic and stuff.
There’s been no shortage of swell since we’ve been here, which has kinda been the problem. It’s been a classic example of the conditions ‘looking good on paper, but for some reason nature is buttfucking us’ sorta thing. It’s been sizey. There were dudes towing in a couple of days in a row, and one day we were out surfing with one France’s premier big-wave guys, who was apparently part of last months’ epic freesurf session out at Chopes. There were a bunch of spots that were a good size but for some reason to do with long-range swell and a butt-load of other factors I know nothing about, it just wasn’t really working. It was messy and closing out, but there was swell and it was offshore? Go figure.
It was only yesterday that I truly broke the no-waves-curse (for the second time since I’ve been in Europe – see last week’s Spain post). I’d managed a few fun waves, in particular at a wedging little breakwall, but overall my waves in France had been sub-par. Nothing to write home about, as they say. Yesterday however, a cracking little spot called Le Piste turned it on for the slimmest of windows and allowed me to get two deep spitting tubes – in the space of 10 minutes, no less – thus making my little French jaunt all worthwhile. A clutch performance at the 11th hour? Or maybe it was just luck. Who cares. Time to go friends, our bus to the south of Spain awaits. There’s no surf there but at least I can be confident in my language abilities, not like in French-town where I feel like a dumbass every time I go to order a baguette or say how ya going to someone. Props to Dan for a bunch of the pics.