I caught a Euroline's overnight bus (EUR68.00) from Munich to Paris where I was initially going to catch a TGV train, but Jesper messaged me a couple of days ago and told me that he could pick me up in Paris as he just visited the mother of his French wife Soraya. They were also on their way to Lafitenia, a small town located about 8 to 9 hours south west of Paris by car.

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It was still dark and quite chilly when my bus arrived in Paris early in the morning. Jesper soon showed up by his parents' red VW van. Six months already passed since my time in Senegal. It was great to see him, Soraya and their cutest baby-girl Mia again.
We spent no time in Paris and dodged the crazy morning traffic of Paris in order to catch up with our surfie friend Arne and his family in Lafitenia.

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It was just after 19pm when we finally arrived in Lafitenia.
I came here not only because I wanted to catch up with Jesper and Arne, but also because I wanted to surf this right-hander pointbreak at any cost this time as I missed it out the last time I was here in November 2010.

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Camping Plage in Lafitenia was where Arne, his family and his German friends were camping. Arne very kindly set up a huge tent for me to sleep right next to his high-tech-fully-equipped camper van.
The photo below shows my tent with Jesper's daughter Mia.

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Arne and his son Andre were surfers from a town near Düsseldorf in Germany and I met them at Jesper's guesthouse in N'Gor, Senegal earlier this year. We all surfed together and had a good time then. And now here we were!
The photo below shows (from left) Arne, Jesper with Mia, Soraya, Arne's daughter Jenny, Arne's wife Christiana, and Andre's friend Dominiq. But where the hell is Andre?!

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Perhaps the last time I seriously camped for a few days in a row was when I was a boyscout two thousands years ago. This time I was so unprepared for food and sleeping, etc. Very fortunately, Arne had all kinds of equipment for camping. He and his wife Christiana even cooked for me every night.

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The surf in Southern France was surprisingly consistent with very warm water. Nonetheless, we still had a few tiny-swell / flat days on which we just went swimming or went snorkelling. Otherwise, we just chilled out at the camp-site. Arne and Andre sometimes went spear-fishing too.
The second photo below shows the catch of the day - an Octopus.

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One day Arne cooked something very very French for me - Escargot.
I'd neither had them nor had I wanted to try them before, but just because of the fact that I was curious about how they would taste, Arne grilled the snails with some garlicky sauce for me.
Honestly speaking, Ummm... they were edible but funny texture.

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A great thing about this part of Europe in summer is that there are no mosquitoes (at least around where we camped). This is completely opposite to Japan. Summer in many parts of Japan can be an ongoing battle with mozzies. Whereas, this northern part of the Basque region seems to be a perfectly mozzie-free environment with low humidity, even though the day-time temperature can reach more than 35 degrees.
I love Japan's hot sticky summer, but I also found the summer in Europe very pleasant. Furthermore, the long daylight combined with the daylight saving in France makes it possible for us to surf from 6am till 10pm in the evening.

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When the surf was small in Lafitenia, we sometimes drove to Guethary or Hossegor in search for better waves. Nothing epic but we always found some playful waves somewhere. I then borrowed Andre's bulky 6'0 NSP which turned out to be quite fun to surf with.

Beach-breaks in France could be really fun, but I came to France this time to score some proper waves in Lafitenia. And after two weeks of my patience a big low-pressure finally emerged in the north Atlantic.

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It was sunny and the wind was very light. Waves were 4 ~ 5ft on sets with occasional bombs.
Lafitenia can be very crowded when large swells hit the coast and when other spots start to close out. However, strangely enough, it wasn't too crowded on this day.

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Some of the waves that I caught had nice long shoulders and so rippable.
The photo below shows me on one of the waves then. It was taken by Christiana.

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My initial plan was to stay in Lafitenia for only a week, but I ended up staying there for three weeks in the end due mainly to the great comfort and food provided by Arne and his family.
The photo below shows all my camping mates from Germany.

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Arne and his family left Lafitenia for his hometown in Germany while I decided to stay for a few more days. I can't thank them enough for their wonderful hospitality. Danke schön!

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As Arne packed everything up, but he left a sleeping bag to me, I bought a new tent for myself at CarreFour for only EUR27.00. This is definitely the cheapest accommodation in town for sure!

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Lafitenia seemed to me somehow Euro-surfers' magnet and I ran into many familiar faces here - one French surfer who I met in Barra de la Cruz, Mexico last year, one Swiss surfer who I met in N'Gor, Senegal last December, and another German surfer Christian who I also met and surfed together in N'gor this January. Such a small world!

Niko - a long-boarder from Berlin - was also amongst frequent visitors to Lafitenia. He and I shared the same spot in the camping site. He was a very interesting guy to talk to and often made good coffee with his poorman's espresso machine every morning.

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My time in Southern France turned out to be 100 times better (and cheaper) than expected with some good waves.
The photo below shows Christian (far left) and his family members and Niko (far right). Many many thanks to all my Euro friends for their great company.

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A perfect summer vacation in France!


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