Last week really was something special for Europe. England got Super Sunday'd. Nazare's greatest-ever paddle day. Ireland had those diamond moments and many more places copped the brunt of the entire North Atlantic coming alive. For France though, special means something different. Special means heaving sand-bottomed kegs, detonating across the entire stretch of that west-facing coastline, from Brittany down to the sud-ouest in Hossegor. And that's where this swell story picks up.
As you'll see in the vid above, this was a session for the grinders. For the huck-over-the-lip and those calculated hit and hopers. Willi Aliotti, Justin Becret, PV Laborde, Joan Duru, Didier Piter, Kyllian Guerin and a few other tube aficionados got through to the meat of it all, over two days on Thursday and Friday last week. "This was the French perfection," said Willi. "It was pretty much everything we wanted. Wind was blowing east a little stronger but that made for these flawless tee-pees. Each set was a great one, beautiful and sunny - one of those sessions that reminds you why we like this time of year so much."
Meanwhile, Kyllian scooped and scored "one of the best waves I've ever had at home in Hossegor," and coming from an 18-year-old whose life has revolved around the shores of l'hexagone's south west, that means something.
"It was such a magical week," he added. "We had some fun waves since the beginning of the swell started but nothing compare to this. Finally all the conditions came together and it was perfect. We had offshore wind, between 6-to-10 foot waves and perfect sand banks during those few day. This is my definition of home sweet home."
Didier Piter, one of the most respected surfers in town and one of the more prolific old-school competitors (remember his Pipe Masters semi final finish in 2001?) said: "It's amazing how the mentality has changed in Hossegor in recent years. French autumn was always something special, but on this type of swell everyone would run to sheltered spots or find a ski. Now, there is a solid pack of guys with step ups, hooded wetsuits who are thriving on these occasions. Been really stoked to see that."
Hit play above for the full recap, as captured by Ripitup.