A short history of Basque surfing

A short history of Basque surfing

#throwback to a time when #frenchyouth still knew #fascism was uncool and #Biarritz was all about 'le surfing'.

The #Basquecountry had been #ridingwaves for some time on #bellyboards they called 'planky', but three films and two books changed all that: the first was a 1952 documentary on Pearl Harbor, where in a 5 seconds sequence young Basque local #JackyRott glimpsed people standing on boards. Using his wood work training, he set out to shape the first French #surfboard, which had a disastrous narrow ski-like shape and failed to produce the glide he was seeking. While he was away on military duty, another documentary (and book), '#Hawaii: îles de rêve' appeared in 1956/57. A photo of Hawaiian #surfers in the book struck a chord with local planky fan #HenriEtchepare: 'I must do the same'. Teen #JoeldeRosnay saw the film in Paris and came to the same conclusion.
When Joël came on holiday in Biarritz, everybody was talking about #PeterViertel, an American scenarist who had just finished shooting a film adaptation of Hemingway's 'the sun also rises' in Spain and was spotted surfing a 'real' board. It was when Viertel's board broke that the local men had their lucky break: inventor #GeorgesHennebutte offered to repair it and though he knew nothing about #shaping, did such a good job that he became 'co-owner' of the board.

When Viertel left, he shared the #stoke further and left the board behind: a balsa seed that flourished into a multimillion European surf scene. The #Waikikiclub of Biarritz was created, Jacky Rott became a real #shaper, #Hennebutte invented 'le fil à la patte' (the modern #leash design, which Americans later patented), #JoMoraiz created the first #surfschool, and Joel de Rosnay became the poster boy and French #surf champion, travelling to Australia and Peru.
On May 20, Biarritz will become surfing's world capital again with the @isasurfing #WorldSurfGames. Come and celebrate history and the eternal knowledge that real stoke knows no border! ✒: @_laurence_b #freesurfspirit

 The Biarritz dream team

The Biarritz dream team

Chief Storyteller at Swellbound