May 21, 2008: – – La Torche, Brittany, France – – A small swell at La Torche was a big welcome for nine professional surfers suffering from varying degrees of hangovers as The O’Neill Mission got into the water.
Whilst it wasn’t perfect conditions in which to demonstrate the skill levels we have on offer here in the northwest of France, the two foot clean swell provided enough entertainment for the likes of Jarrad Howse and Hugo Savalli to at least manage a headstand on a paddleboard.
“I was just showing off,” said Jarrad. “It was a good day today to get in the water. So far it has been about driving and getting lost. Nothing in the world annoys me except for being lost. Adam Robertson and I have been lost three times – every time we get on the road. Today was great,” Jarrad said. “It was a bit of paddle boarding, a bit of footy on the beach and a bit of teaching people how to surf.”
Matt Wilson, contest director was another member of The O’Neill Mission excited to get in the water today. “We are pretty much biding our time waiting for the predicted swell to come in,” he said. “But be it on paddle boards or whatever, every surf is giving the guys waves that they can choose to use on their final video… or not.”
“This is not a competitive event in the standard sense,” said Matt. “The contest calls are based on a desire for exploration and adventure to be brought into The O’Neill Mission. There are endless bays and beaches to explore up here.”
According to Jarrad Howse, the fact that the whole coast of France is open for exploration means: “This is almost even better than The O’Neill Mission in Tahiti last year…I love the fact that we can jump in our campers and drive a few 100km and end up somewhere completely different,” he said. “The only thing it is missing now is some good swell and a masseuse!”
Despite the lack of swell, the guys have been in surprisingly good spirits. A warm welcome into Brittany saw local surfer, and founder of the first ever surf school in Brittany, Didier Tirilly, open his field for camping. Describing the spirit of Brittany, where we are awaiting the new swell, Didier said: “there is a strong spirit up here. This is an area of France where it rains a lot, so we have hardened to that.”
For now, as The O’Neill Mission camps out on the coast waiting for the swell, it is the sunshine and blue sky keeping everyone in strong spirits.
1 Ian Walsh USA
2 Michel Bourez TAH
3 Jarrad Howse AUS
4 Julian Wilson AUS
5 Justin Mujica POR
6 Cory Lopez USA
7 Tim Boal FRA
8 Hugo Savalli REU
9 Adam Robertson AUS
17 May Arrival & Kick-Off, Anglet
18 May First surfing day in the Basque Country/Les Landes
19 – 25 May Travel & surf the French Coast from Biarritz to Brittany
25 May Judging Session, Prizegiving & Closing Party – wherever we are!