Thursday, January 07, 2010

Hutchy's Stag Do (Part one) - Better late than never.

It's been a while and apologies for not posting sooner but here's the low down on Hutchy's stag do to France which coincided with the biggest swell to hit France for the whole winter - the story goes something like this.

Day one - every surf trip has a major cock up and the first one happened before we'd even left Guernsey. The wind was already blowing hard and Condor ferries bought forward the ferry as the wind was forecast to pick up that afternoon. No problem for any of us and the eight of us in our three vans met up down at the harbour in plenty of time. As we were queing up to board the ferry Briggsy, who was one of my passengers looked over to me holding up the passport he found in my glove compartment and said "doesn't your boy look just like you!" - ahhhhh I'd picked up the wrong passport. Quick chat with the Condor ferries who said I had 20mins and no more, then manic turn around and a frantic drive home. It normally would take 35mins to make it home and back but I had no choice I had to floor it - ask Dr.Matt who was the other passenger in my van how stressed I was- he and Briggsy had a white knuckle ride and we made it back - just - thanks to Condor for holding the ferry to wait for us.

St. Malo from the ferry - already getting dark and still a 2hr drive to the break!!

The ferry trip that ensued was on the operational limit for the boat with a 2-4m swell running and winds up to about 30knts. The 8 of us were the only passengers grining from ear to ear, as almost everyone esle was throwing up! We arrived in St.Malo with about 3 1/2hrs of daylight left - we floored it to Le Dossen and after 2hrs driving me, Jas, and Dr.Matt went for a sail (why not the others still remains a mystery to me) with 4.2s and a reasonable 4ft swell - we milked it till we couldn't see any more! Jas was the sailor of session with plenty of waves and some sweet bottom turns.

Jas - heading out to score some sweet waves at Le Dossen.

After that it was another 3hrs of tarmac through some of the heaviest rain of autumn as the big storm front pushed in - with the obligatory beer stop at a massive supermarket called 'Geant' literally 'Giant' in French . We arrived at Crozon right on the far western tip of France and tried to settle in for the night as 50knt+ gusts battered the house.

The following morning we had to make a quick decision where to go but first things first we needs to check out the near by beach break of Le Goulien only 5mins away. It was super windy and as we drove over the crest of the hill and looked down on the beach 500m away it quickly became clear that it was a non-starter. The 25ft+ forecast swell was pushing straight in and the whole bay was a white out with double mast high swells breaking miles out to sea. I'd sailed Le Goulien dozons of times as it (and the nearby La Palue) picks up pretty much the most swell in area, however we needed to consult the Stormrider guide as it was painfully obvious that we needed some shelter.

The guide pointed us in the direction of Dournenez, a tucked away town normally a safe haven sheltered from the prevailing south westers. The drive was about an hour or so but there were a few stops on the way as we checked out the other beaches on route. We made it down to Dournenez, eventually, after a few wrong turns curtousy of blindly following the GPS, but the wind was too off-shore. A quick conflab and we decide to head 5miles back up the coast to Kerval, described as 'a nice flatwater spot, ideal for blasting and learning the all important waterstarts and carve jibes'. Mmmmmm not the wave sailing heaven we were looking for but with so much wind and swell we though we might get a few small waves. Off we went and as we pulled up into the carpark it was obvious we'd made the right call, every man and his dog was there and there was a 4.7 rigging frenzy (it was a little sheltered). It was cross to cross-on with some decent logo to mast high swells pushing in. One of the locals told me he'd never seen that much swell in the bay - may be we had found shangri-la after all!!

The man of the moment Hutchy was first in and he opened proceedings with a massive backie and this pretty much set the scene. Jas was next, I followed and then Steve Smith, Richard, Briggsy, Simon the boy, and Dr. Matt. I nailed a massive forward on my second run, which it seems no one saw :-( and a few of locals started to take notice. However the chief weapon in their arsnel was Thierry Bel'beoch, brother of ex-world wave champ Patrice. There's no doubt that Thierry was the king of beach and he is hot, so hot i'm surprised he didn't burst into flames! The backie is his manouvre of choice and he was nailing 30ft ones regulalry, and as someone said - 'he might be one trick pony but it's one hell of a trick'!! The following few hours resulted in plenty of carnage. Simon the boy had, for sure the wipe out of the season so far afer he misjudged his sortie from la plage and got taken out by a logo high set just as it was breaking. He was right next to me and his kit flew about 40ft downwind!! There was a more serious issue however, Dr.Matt go nailed, went through he sail twice (as you do) and ended up hobbling up the beach because he'd cut his achillies tendon badley. He sat out the rest of the session and Hutchy and Briggsy then took him to the hospital to get it stitched up. Being a doctor, and having worked in A&E, he was pretty blasaie about it and said it was just a scratch. But if you ask me when there's loads of blood and you can see the inside of a tendon it's more 'fleshwound' than 'scratch'.

That evening was the was the official boys night out, but the only trouble was we were to knackered to really go for it - but go for it we did. First things first of course was the mandatory getting the stag to dress up, not normally easy but Hutchy just suddenly appeared in a dress --- mmm the fact that he seemed so comfortable in that it does still beg a question???

Hutchy - not just a girl's blouse on the water but off the water too!! But that look from Dr.Matt is a little concerning??

My French buddy Philippe joined us, Hutchy ditched the dress and we strolled down to the port of Morgat (well Dr.Matt hobbled) for a bite to eat and vin, vin and more vin. We frequented a few of the local pubs and stumbled back to the house all pretty worse for wear.

Part Two coming soon!!

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