Meeting two other swaylockians

I was lucky enough to have an australian Swaylock’s member (Bgreen) and a californian (Afoaf) come to my little neck of the wood at the same time recently. It’s always a pleasure to meet guys you have virtually known for long and to share a bit of your life-style with them.

As I had been on a one week’s holiday when Bob came in, we didn’t spend much time together and waves didn’t cooperate, either, so we didn’t get to surf but it looks like he could score real Guéthary waves on the morning just before his departure. Glad for you, Bob. Come back another time if you can, and, as I told you, september/october would be best.

What can I say about Mr Afoaf and family? He was crazy enough to order a board from me a few months ago so that he would find it here upon his arrival. It had to be shorter than the longboards he was accustomed to but with some volume in it and I was allowed to do whatever I wanted as artwork, the only indication being to try and have something that would be representative of both our countries, i.e. U.S.A. and France.

Here’s what I did and Tyler was polite enough to pretend he liked it:



As he actually surfed it (no kidding!) I will let him chime in to say what he thought of it if he cares to.

Tyler is a great guy and I’m glad we got to know each other. BUT meeting Tyler’s son, Art, was an outstanding experience.

My daughter Gabrielle had been asked to do some baby-sitting while Tyler and his wife went visiting Spain for a while, so they dropped Arthur at my place. Now, you might think that a small kid, left in a foreign house, with foreign people he had never met and a big black dog to top it all, would have been afraid to leave his mum and dad? Well, actually, he litteraly jumped out of his father’s arms into mine with a giant smile on his face and immediately proceeded to inventory all that the place had to offer: my drum kit, first, then the dog, then my son’s guitar, then… and keeping smiling and laughing all the time (especially when I would make my best impersonation of the dog, sniffing in his ears and neck…) My own sons being respectively 26, 15 and 14, that brought me back in time quite a long time ago and it made me feel much younger again… Thanks for that, Jennifer and Tyler.

Here is another fine Arthur photo, with Gabrielle:


Well, Bob, Tyler, again thanks for coming such a long way. I just hope we meet again someday.


Back home and still reeling from the whole experience…that trip was all time!

The short synopsis until I can get some photos developed and my mind back in the game:

  1. Basque country is truly God’s land…it’s just “wow”.

  2. I surfed France on a board with an American flag and everyone was so friendly in the lineups it was spooky.

  3. Scored head high (+) Guethary…got some killer waves and nearly lost my shorts on an outside set that crushed my face.

  4. Balsa translated sparse details from me in to a board that worked at 2’ Biarritz slop, a 2-4’ rocky point, and everything from mushburger (how did I catch any waves!?) to overhead Guethary.

A scholar, gentleman and artist!

I want to know if Mr. Green went out that morning because it was MACKING…easily the biggest day I had seen in over a year.


quick and dirty panorama stitch of the harbor at St Jean De Luz

the land of milk and honey (at low tide)

tamariu, costa brava, spain.



PS. Best construction site prank ever!?


That board looks like a great design for Aloaf. Love the art work. I spent 5 years in France and just loved it. My wife being French we plan to rent a house  next year for a month in Guethary.


I hope to have Balsa make me a board for the trip so I don’t have to bring one. Plus I love his craftmanship! Love to own one of his boards.


Sounds like Aloaf is living the dream!

Surfding, that would be a honor for me, thanks.

I had to leave my board behind due to some poor planning on my part (and British Airways being butts) so you can ride mine…it would be a good log for you, monsieur ding.

love that board

I hear they have a different word for everything over there.

TWO different words for everything, actually: one in French (a curious third world dialect) and one in Basque (you don’t even want to know, it’s worse)… Lol.

That would be cool to use your board for the smaller day and I can have Balsa make me a High Performance Shortboard for the good days!


yeah, right on!

balsa i a nice guy, i met him on one of my trips as well, had to go see him, he did so much for me through time [thanks balsa!!]

he has quite the reputation amongst the young shapers too

i lived in biarritz and anglet for 3 years, and surfed guethary for 3 winters, the wave is not called the queen of the reefs for nothing!!

so beautiful, so gentle [my personal opinion], so big!!

if she lines up, you have amazingly long rides, some of the longest on the coast

the inside actually gets very steep on the right day…

the last winter i broke my 8ft1 in the biggest days i ever  surfed, too big

i knew i should not have gone out, for there was nearly no-one out… always a bad sign

shifty peaks actually nailed me, swung real wide

i recollected my board in two parts without a leash on the beach, snapped like a match, clean in two…

aaah, basque country is great

did you get good food too Afoaf??? and chocolates? mmm, cheeses are the best in the world in france too

and pays basque is just beautiful

and guethary a great wave, with kinder people than the wave next to it, alcyons…

so… what did you do with the board ??

and whatelse did you see and do and surf?


Shifty peaks is an understatement…really had to stay en garde…I got caught sleeping a couple of times.

We ate so well over those two weeks…lots of good seafood in spain, tons of chorizo, ham and cheeses in France.

Every day I’d walk to the little market across from our flat and get the croissants and pain du chocolate fresh out of the oven along with the baguettes for the day.

We hit Bayonne twice and got the sublime handmade hot chocolate from Casenave plus some little souvenir packages for family.

I was fortunate enough to have (member name) Niega and his wife, San Sebastian locals, take Jennifer and I on a tapas/pintxos tour of their city…more chorizo, blood sausage, pickled peppers, sardines, beef cheek, calamari…makes me hungry just thinking about it.

We operated out of Guethary for a week…flat for the first few days and then managed to get some surf at a few of the nearby spots…did some pedestrian touring of Bayonne, Biarritz, San Sebastian and St Jean de Luz…took the little train in La Rhune to one of the lower peaks of the Pyrennes…drove to Bordeaux and took the high speed rail in to Paris for a marathon day of the highlights (arch, tower, louvre). We spent the previous week staying with a bunch of friends at a big rental house they had arranged along Costa Brava in Spain…beautiful beaches.

The board stayed behind…shipping was cost prohibitive and I didn’t realize that BA had an embargo on surfboards until it was too late…Niega pointed out that this is great because it’s one less board for my wife to nag about in the garage and it’s a great excuse to get back out there ASAP.

I also expect that someone from Cali will be visiting and might be able to bring it back in their bag or one of the locals will be heading out my way and can carry it with them for which I will reward them with a vast bounty of gold and GPS coordinates to every secret surf spot in Ventura/Santa Barbara.

Thanks for not giving away the coordinates to Malibu, it’s crowded enough without inviting the French (no offense Balsa, I’ll take you there personally, blindfolded of course)

I am going to the East Coast of OZ tomorrow, and will be in the Sydney and Currumbin regions until August 11…

After that I’m going to Holland/Belgium until Sept 2…

I would love to meet any of y’all during this sojurn…

Keep spreading the stoke…