Every September and October Surf Simply moves from our usual home in Costa Rica to Hossegor, in France where we coach a small group of some of our favorite returning guests for a week alongside the world title contest. The last two years were organized and hosted by Kerianne and Harry, two of our coaches here in Costa Rica but this year Oli Davies, our head coach, took over the role of organizing both the logistics of the trip and also the coaching. It’s a huge amount of work putting something like this together but now that the dust has settled, he sat down to chat about how it all went:
Above: Oli Davies, both the brains and heavy lifting behind this year’s French trip.
“Unlike the predictability of Costa Rica, French waves and weather can be erratic. Finding the right spot requires a lot of local knowledge. I’ve spent a fair bit of time in France over the years but it was great to have Harry to draw on too. He knows this stretch of coast like the back of his hand. We would check a couple of spots each morning and we found not just clean but uncrowded waves pretty much every day.
Above: Gary attacking the lip.
Below: Pooja on a deserted French sandbank at sunrise.
It was great that all the guests had stayed with us in Costa Rica already too. It made the whole week like hanging out with old friends and allowed Jessie and I to pick up their coaching right where we’d left off.
Above: Brunch by Sarah back at the house after a morning surf.
Below: Out and about in Hossegor town in the evening.
Paul and Pooja seemed to come into their own at a break called La Sud. Pooja’s paddle fitness had gone through the roof and her wave count and skill set leap-frogged forward as you’d expect. I was impressed that Gary went and surfed the huge day at Soustons with Ru & Harry when everyone else opted to sit back and watch the pros from the beach at La Graviere. Even Ru said that the waves got his pulse going that day.
Above: Gabriel Medina weaving his way through a tube at La Graviere.
Below: Steve & Sophie enjoying the perfectly peaceful Franco Atlantic corduroy.
Steve and Sophie really stretched their comfort zone in Nosara earlier this year, so it was great to see then getting tons of waves, with tons of confidence at La Penon. Andy and Annalise both started getting the board much higher up the face during the trip too and creating a lot more down the line speed. And we can’t leave out Dave, who got heaps of waves but I’ll really remember as being pure comedy all week.
Above: Dave standing tall at La Sud
My feet hardly touched the ground as I was coach and manager, but it was so much fun. Having Sarah (Surf Simply’s resort chef) unleashed with fresh French ingredients was amazing and I have to thank Mark (old friend, experienced surfer and Surf Simply’s website designer) for all his camera work and running around in the support van. Then of course Jessie, without whom I couldn’t have made it all happen. Next year we’re gonna have to make it two weeks for sure.”