Riding Chilli A211 April 2021
Surfing World Class El Salvador2 May 2021
While traveling for surfing I got a call from Andy Higgins who currently works at Wave Garden and who was in charge of organizing the legendary Rip Curl the Search events. To give you an idea, those of you who love surfing, Andy organized for me the best CT in history on the rights of Mexico. So when I saw the call I imagined that it could be something fun but I wasn’t even close…
The proposal was the following, to go on a surf trip to the Swiss Alps to surf in Alaia Bay, the new artificial wave that was about to end. My face lit up with that news because on the one hand I had never been to Switzerland (nor had I planned to go …) and on the other hand, I had not surfed in Wavegarden on the left so far! He asked me my availability to be able to go and try the wave menu (we will talk about this later) to which obviously I replied yes! It was clear to me that this was going to be a “trip of a lifetime”.
We would literally be one of the first groups of people to surf in Switzerland and the first times in history that we were going to surf in a country with no ocean. Isn’t this crazy? 🤔
We left a week earlier than planned because the weather was worse than expected and it was essential that we scored a couple of sunny days both to record and not to get so cold. I prepared my board bag with a couple of boards and a pair of thick wetsuits (6.5mm with hood included) and we agreed to leave from Biarritz by car to Sion. It was about 10-11 hours long journey but the highways are good so we made it easy. We managed to get to the hotel for dinner and we went straight to rest because some very intense days awaited us.
I was excited to go to the wave and when we arrived we were all crazy seeing some right and left barrels breaking in the middle of some snowy peaks in the background. When I started surfing 15 years ago, I never thought that this was possible and I felt out of place because the situation was overwhelming me. It was pure perfection, crystal blue water, tubes, and all this to ourselves.
It didn’t take long for us to change and start trying the Wave Menu they had in mind for us. This Wave Menu exposes the different types of waves that can be produced and with slight modifications within each of these waves to find the one most adapted for customers. There are 5 types of waves currently offered: Waikiki, Malibu, Turns, Airs and Barrels
My favorite was Barrels because I could try over and over again until I got just the line I wanted to get a tube from top to bottom. Although I had a great time in all the waves in the tube I was able to improve and practice my position a lot, especially on my back.
On the fourth and last day of our trip, the truth is that I WAS SUPER SORE! I was very tired since we surfed for 6 hours every day and of course, it is not like in the sea that you have to wait, here you catch one wave after another so imagine the intensity!
It was a very different and unbelievable trip. I felt very fortunate to be a part of this breakthrough in our sport. Many thanks to Wavegarden for the invitation and to Alaia Bay for the reception and such a pleasant stay in a wonderful environment. I have no doubt that I will enjoy it again soon!!
- What boards to bring: I advise taking boards that are a little shorter than what you usually carry. If it is an epoxy, the better!
- Which fins to surf: I had medium fins (I usually use large ones) a little straighter than usual to be able to pivot comfortably and, VERY IMPORTANT, drift in tail on the backhand tubes.
- What wetsuit to wear: when I went in February the water was 6 degrees Celsius and I used a 6.5.4mm with a hood included. It is essential to wear gloves and booties. They have a room that dries everything in an hour so there is no need to bring a spare.
- By plane or by car? It took me 9 hours or more from Sion to Hendaye and the truth is that the road is very good.
- Lastly, I don’t know about you, but the bread with jam for breakfast, which is the most common thing there, doesn’t suit me much, so bring you good ham and olive oil!