It's 1035 and we’re in St Malo, France. It's still overcast and chilly, the first time we’ve felt the bite of the colder months. It was also dark when we woke. Also unwelcome.
A few hours earlier the deep bass from a very large boat fog horn erupted. It wasn’t the planned phone alarm which was initially concerning, the consequent four blasts as it got closer eventually woke us from our slumber. Our night had been spent in our impressive castle car park dwelling, hidden within the fort walls of the old town, St Malo.
The horn sounds were in-fact coming from the the Bretagne, ‘The pride’ of the Brittany-ferries fleet. Now onboard the Bretagne I beg to differ, I would put it in the same category as all the other cans I’ve frequented that haul tourists back and forth across the North sea, day in day out. Pretty damn bleak.
Bad coffee and yesterdays croissants, a two fingers up as you leave France, au revoir! Or a terrible welcome depending on which way you’re traveling. Every variety of perfume ever made is on board though, duty free too. Awesome.
Excuse my negativity, us crossing the the channel marks the end of our month long Euro jaunt and that makes me sad. The sensory things the Basque country offers cleanses the soul, and to know they will now have to wait till our next visit is painful.
Cider poured from great heights into deep glasses in narrow streets, cheap wine and cheaper beer, oh and the Tapas! A region so rich in culture obviously has an equally varied coastline to match. The corse grained, famed sand of Southern France on which the Atlantic ocean unloads with such vigour, home to the best sand bottom waves in the world. Heading South the sand eventually becomes rocky peninsular’s smothered in timber framed houses, the timber always painted Blue, Green or burgundy, the traditional basque colours.
Food and culture are the spice every good trip needs, rather selfishly every surfer also needs the ocean to cooperate in producing good waves to match. This October has been nothing short of unbelievable in that sense. As good as it gets in-fact.
Everyday sunny skies have breathed light wind into the faces of incoming lumps from thousands of miles away grooming them to perfection. Any size too. Small and gentle, huge and hollow, point breaks or beaches. If you had the knowledge you could find it. The freak temperature of the air and water didn't hurt either. The Indian summer as locals called it.
This wasn’t our first visit to this sacred elbow in the the Bay of Biscay. We actually make the pilgrimage every year. The same date. The same time. Every year and you should too. Surfboard under your arm or not.
Some things we believe should be kept analogue. Your watch, your note book and also the year planner you keep on the wall. Every year, January 1st (maybe the 2nd or 3rd) the very first thing that gets penned on it is 'Outta here dudes' on the side panel of a badly drawn van vaguely resembling our own, it also has fire behind it giving an indication of how fast we’re hoonin’ South. This art masterclass is scaled to fit perfectly in the box under the date that reads ‘October 1st’. Why The 1st of October? Let me explain.
The first reason being the Camper-van / Van Life Biz is incredibly seasonal. While our customers are off having adventures, making memories and indulging in the
relatively short European summer we are manning the fort and making hay while the sun shines, packing, shipping, trade showing etc. When October rolls around things at S+S HQ are quietening down which gives us a little window to escape and hopefully catch the last glimpse of summer as it retreats south. It's also the perfect opportunity to test next years prototypes and make final adjustments, while shooting photos and getting the required imagery. The holy month of October also usually coincides with the Atlantic ocean waking up from it’s summer slumber which, more often than not, unloads perfect waves onto the shores of Southern Europe luring many a traveling surfer- us included.
New products shot, friends caught up with, too many baguettes and fromage consumed and its time for us to return.
We’ve got a lot of exciting things to work on as well as older projects and products finally arriving and coming to fruition. Our new workshop and office is coming together and we are also very excited about finally offering our take on a contemporary moving space to the public over the coming months.
Good times had, Exciting times coming.
Forth goes the road!