Surf in Belharra with Hercules swell
Thanks to fate and my friendship with Benjamin “Sancho” Sanchis, Billabong Europe free surfer, big-wave legend and former XXL winner, I recently had the opportunity to participate in an unforgettable adventure to Belharra.
Esta foto es por atrás de la ola…
After seeing all the media buzz surrounding the storm “Hercules”, I got in touch with Sancho, who I had just seen the month prior to do step-offs in La Nord in one of the biggest days to date (according to the locals). Sancho told me, “I have Shane Dorian in your bed, but you can stay with some friends, but you have to get here tonight in order to leave at dawn to Belharra...” So, I got my stuff together and drove two and a half hours from my current home in the Pyrenees Mountains, to the pretty town of Hossegor. I didn’t want to miss my chance at this experience.
Shane Dorian y Guillermo Lecumberri (pionero y legenda del tow in en el pais Vasco),
In the morning, we headed to the port of Handaye, where there was already an entire camera and safety team ready to shoot the session of Shane Dorian, Sancho, Justine Dupont, Twiggy Baker and Jamie Mitchel.
We headed out on several boats and jet skis and found some waves a few kilometers outside and the show began...
Justine Dupont, la única mujer en surfear Belharra ese día… si no me equivoco es campeona mundial de longboard...
De izq a derecha Benjamin “Sancho” Sanchis, Shane Dorian y al fondo Justine Dupont (la única mujer en el agua ese día)….Fue la primera ola corrida en el día...
Thanks to the experience I gained in driving jet skis in Pascuales, I had the opportunity to drive one and put myself in the place of the shooters by taking pictures with one hand and steering with the other, which was pretty tough and I only ended up capturing a few somewhat blurry shots.
We stayed out there for a few hours but the wind didn’t allow the session to play out as we had expected, though we still caught some big waves. It seemed like the biggest part of the swell happened at night but it was still a great experience to see such legends of big wave surfing and have the opportunity to participate on the team in some way.
After the session, we all went out to eat and from there went on with the typical work of surfers of this caliber: TV, Radio and Press interviews of all kinds and autograph signings at a Billabong surf shop. By chance, it happened to be Sancho’s Birthday that day and we finished off the night by partying at Biarrtiz, toasting some good French Champagne. As is the sacrifice of every vigilant surfer, we had to sacrifice sleep because the next morning the waves were incredible at Hossegor. Sleepless and tired, we took out the jet skis and went to shoot some photos and catch some tubes. It was my turn to take Shane Dorian and Sancho into some good waves. Later, they took me into some good tubes to top off a great day of surfing in the frozen waters of Hossegor. It’s also worth mentioning that Justine Dupont was there in the session this day as well. She’s got a lot of talent plus the necessary physical preparation to go far in the world of big waves. We’re sure to see more of her soon. Regarding Sancho and Dorian, like I said, legends.
Greetings to all in Mexico and keep surfing! Merci la France for its hospitality and to Sancho and his crew for everything. I hope to return the favor in Pascuales soon.
By: Carlos Hernandez
Translation: Heido Sundstrom