Monday, July 15, 2013
We set off for the beach at 11.30 and despite the fact that they were lying in bed with iPads to hand 30 mins earlier, they were ready to leave before I was (I like to think this is because I chivvy along calling up the stairs 'leaving in ten' then 'leaving in five' then 'I'm leaving RIGHT NOW' only for them to appear with bags ready and sunnies on while I chase around searching for car keys, having a last minute pee and checking that I have my wetsuit.)
We got to my favourite beach Ilbarritz and instead of waves we had a flat glassy sea, perfect for swimming but no use for a board, which meant an hour of sunbathing in the most glorious surroundings, this particular beach being a cross between the best I've seen in Cornwall and Queensland, backed by dramatic cliffs and zero development. 'This is boring, let's go and find some surf,' said Issy so we packed up, jumped in the car and drove to Plage Marbella, a few minutes away on the edge of Cote des Basques.
If there is ever going to be surf, it's here, and sure enough, there was. We hired boards, paddled out and spent two hours catching some lovely waves, wiping out, standing up and laughing. I had to persuade them both out of the sea, promising we would head back tomorrow and we sloped off to the bar for a drink, salty, exhausted and utterly exhilerated. 'I'm going to teach my kids to surf,' said Issy, 'and by the time I'm 23 I want to be brilliant on a surf board. I love it here, can we move?'
It's a seductive place for sure. Sylvan, the barman at La Plancha who mixes the best mojito I've had in France, put it quite simply. 'I've lived in Polynesia for 30 years but I came back home to Biarritz this year because each time I visited my parents, it was never long enough. Tahiti is lovely but this place is where my heart is. And the surf is unbeatable.' I have to agree.