On Tour: A Surfing/Skateboarding Experiment In Southern France 4.3

Pull Quotes:

“The flatbottom was holier than the Pope, so that made it extra gnarly when Nathan was blasting backside tailgrabs four feet over coping.”

“The surfers on this trip were chosen based on the simple fact that they know how to skateboard properly.”

“Skateboarding, if done correctly, can be a vehicle used for exploration with what can be done on a surfboard.”

On Tour: A Surfing/Skateboarding Experiment In Southern France(And A Little Bit Of Spain)by Aaron Schmidt

The Crew

Nathan FletcherFrom San Clemente, California, Nathan is the undisputed O.G. surf/skate/snow crossover king. He’s also the younger brother of Christian and winner of the 2001 Quik Cup (a surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding event) held last March in Anglet, France. Nathan rips.

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Jeremy Scribner Jeremy is a twenty-year-old surf/skate punk who hails from Santa Cruz, California. His style is raw, and he blasts huge airs while surfing and skateboarding. This “Eastsida” likes to go really fast. He’s a Nathan Fletcher protà‡gà‡.

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Josh HoyerJosh is demented. He hails from Newport Beach, California and is a death-metal fiend. When Josh wasn’t looking for dead animals to add to his skull collection, he was surfing and skating like a madman. Josh’s steadfast dedication to the progression of surfing is mind-boggling.

Mike Morrissey

Mike’s a soft-spoken human from Laguna Beach, California who lets his actions do the talking. He has style for days and can hang in there with the big boys on the big ramps. Mike also subscribes to the surf/skate/snow ethic. Mike’s a bro.

Support Crew

Sonny MillerLegendary surf/skate cinematographer, Sonny moonlights as a comedian. Not really, but he should. Sonny filmed and edited such classics as The Search and Searching For Tom Curren. He was there filming Nathan for an upcoming Quiksilver movie. Sonny provided us with vast amounts of knowledge and entertainment.

Mark OblowMark’s originally from Hawaii, but now resides in Newport Beach, California. He’s been involved in the skate industry for the past ten years and has taken up a job with Quiksilver to run its skate team and shoot photos. Mark was with us to document the trip with amazing portraiture.

Dave NelsonNelly, Nelly, Nelly. What can I say about one of TransWorld SURF’s best photographers? He’s a one-of-a-kind individual and has been engrossed in the surf/skate scene for many years. Nelly’s always amped to go shoot-if it weren’t for him, we would’ve all been sitting on our asses the whole trip.

Full CircleIn the mid 1970s, our founding surf/skate forefathers, the original Dogtown Zephyr Boys (Tony Alva, Stacy Peralta, Allen Sarlo, Skip Engblom, Shogo Kubo, Jeff Ho, and Jay Adams to name a few) pushed the envelope by taking skateboarding into cement pools, banks, and fullpipes in order to simulate surfing. Since the transitions were similiar, a new age of progression for skateboarding was ushered in as the Z Boys tried to emulate surfers such as Larry Bertleman on their skateboards.

In 2002, things have come full circle: Some surfers are now trying to emulate their favorite skateboarders while surfing. Transitions have been explored for almost thirty years now, so it’s high time to go above the lip and experiment with what can be achieved on a surfboard while having a skateboarder’s mentality.

The surfers on this trip were chosen based on the simple fact that they know how to skateboard properly. Progression starts on land and will eventually make its way back into the ocean’s lineups. You can call it full circle, or whatever you want-it doesn’t matter to us because we had a shitload of fun doing it.

The Beginning This trip started the same way as any other trip-by the seat of our pants. I had to persuade a flight attendant into purposely delaying our flight so that Nelly and his counterpart, Scribner, could travel together with us to France like a good crew should. They were on a connecting flighfrom San Jose, California that encountered some heavy morning fog-very typical of San Diego in late summer.

They barely made it aboard our flight to Chicago, Illinois that would eventually take us to Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, France, and on to the coastal city of Hossegor in Biarritz. An out-of-breath Nelly said their plane had to circle Catalina Island off Los Angeles for 45 minutes until the fog cleared-round and round in circles until they could land safely in SD.

We met up with the rest of the crew in Chicago sans Mike Morrissey-we were to hook up with him later when we got to Hossegor. Everybody met and felt weird around each other-you know, the standard uneasiness you’d feel when you know you’re going to hang out with total strangers for eleven days.

Take A BiarritzWe landed in Biarritz and made our way to Hossegor, where we met up with an unsuspecting Bruce Irons. He had missed his flight to Portugal for an ASP event, and decided to hang out with us for the next five days and then travel with us to San Sebastian, Spain for the Nixon Surf Challenge. Bruce doesn’t really skate that much, but that didn’t stop him from shredding with us on our first session at the Hall 04 indoor skatepark in Soorts-a small town located two miles inland of Hossegor.

Everyone skated well, and it was on to the next assignment: find some ramps in the ocean! We went to La Estagnots-a fun beachbreak a mile south of Hossegor-and found three- to four-foot peaks to our liking. Scribner pulled a huge-ass frontside one motion that made my jaw drop. We surfed for a while and then made ourselves at home in our newly rented bungalow on the beach at La Estagnots. The place had a homely feel to it, and everyone was pysched on it.

In Search Of …The next day, the search was on for new terrain to skate. Hossegor’s streets were too rough, but we found a rad mini in Capbreton, where Nathan totally annihilated it. The flatbottom was holier than the Pope, so that made it extra gnarly when Nathan was blasting backside tailgrabs four feet over coping. We skated there for a while then went back to the house to get ready for the Nixon surf contest in San Sebastian, Spain the next day.

Nighttime at the house was pretty fun. We didn’t turn on the TV the whole time we stayed there because Sonny provided the entertainment in the form of constant one-liners. One night, someone wanted a sip of water and Nelly offered his bottle of water to them. After Sonny noticed that Nelly had a huge cold sore on his lip, he was all, “Are you sure you want to drink after him?” while pointing out the huge crevice on Nelly’s upper lip. Everyone’s sides were hurting from laughing so hard. That’s just a small taste of Miller time.

The Rain In SpainBy the fourth day, the French surf had completely dropped and spirits were low. The vans were packed, so we headed south to San Sebastian to experience Spain and the Nixon surf contest. The ride was very scenic (Northern Spain looks a lot like the East Coast) and everyone was tripping on the differences a country’s border can make. Spain is completely different from France-two totally different cultures divided by a line on a map. On one side, you’ve got snobby French people with their fashion-oriented culture, and on the other, you’ve got humble Spanish farmland. We all made it to our plush hotel (courtesy of Nixon) in downtown San Sebastian and went to sleep.The next morning, the waves were small and everyone who had to surf the contest was pissed. Scribner came through, though, and ripped everyone apart, and for his efforts he got a disappointing fourth place in the event. After the short ceremony, we thanked our host Henning from Nixon for hooking us up and began to make our way back to France. We got lost on the way back to our house in Hossegor. We eventually made it home, though, very late and very frustrated with one another due to the lack of navigational skills.

The Last DaysThe last days of the trip were spent foraging for surf, skating more mini ramps, and chilling on the beach in front of our house.Overall, the trip didn’t happen as expected (like most trips), we didn’t get unreal surf, and there was no real street terrain to skate, but we all had a great time nonetheless. We surfed and skated in Southern France and Spain, played and listened to music, relaxed, argued, laughed, and most of all, we became friends.

In the end, we figured out that the progression of surfing lies within the confines of your imagination. Skateboarding, if done correctly, can be a vehicle used for exploration with what can be done on a surfboard. It happened once before, and I’m sure it’ll happen again.trip were spent foraging for surf, skating more mini ramps, and chilling on the beach in front of our house.Overall, the trip didn’t happen as expected (like most trips), we didn’t get unreal surf, and there was no real street terrain to skate, but we all had a great time nonetheless. We surfed and skated in Southern France and Spain, played and listened to music, relaxed, argued, laughed, and most of all, we became friends.

In the end, we figured out that the progression of surfing lies within the confines of your imagination. Skateboarding, if done correctly, can be a vehicle used for exploration with what can be done on a surfboard. It happened once before, and I’m sure it’ll happen again.