Surfing France during covid lockdown of 2020 has not been a stroll in the park for anyone. This little area of France is no stranger to tourists and boasts some of the very best waves on the planet. The surf around Hossegor , combined with the Pyrenees, the great weather and the countryside, have been a strong draw for any travelling surfer for decades now. This year however has been one of the most turbulent years in Hossegors surfing history. 2020 has bought two lock-downs ( so far) with surfing made illegal, the cancellation the world finals in Hossegor and the busiest tourist season ever
French covid lockdown # 1
Surfing France during covid lockdown #1 has left some scars in the surfing memories of the local community. The social media flashed images from time to time , however the reality of the 2 month lockdown in France was hardcore !
After returning from Sri Lanka on the 7th March France was fully gripped with fear. 3 days after on March the 10th they announced a lockdown. Without going into the details of how people stayed sane for 2 months, its fare to say that the French style of locking down was very different from the UK. The worst thing about the first lockdown was that they made the forests and beaches illegal as well. With a one kilometre zone only allowed from your house and only for 1 hour, this made surfing almost impossible for most of the local surfers. The president made it very clear that the beaches being closed was a clear message to all surfers that surfing was fully illegal.
In any situation there are always the people that will not accept authority and fight back. For the first time in surfing history surfing was illegal and surfers were not uniting but a split was starting to form in opinions and actions. The beaches and forests were heavily patrolled by helicopters , quads and patrol cars. Big fines were being handed out whenever a surfer turned up at any parking. There were regular scenes on social media of surfers being chased of the beach or arrested at gun point. The fact that the helicopters were being used made it almost impossible to sneek in a surf without getting busted.
Spot the obvious problem with his board …..
French surfing, covid lockdown & Quiksilver Pro cancelled 2020.
Obviously super famous for the Quiksilver Pro, one of the greatest surf contests on the planet, has been held in Hossegor for over 20 years. This year , the unlucky 2020, the Quik Pro was rumoured to be postponed due to the covid 19 pandemic. Obviously after a year that hurt so many in so many different ways, the idea of the Quik Pro not running was not good. As it turns out during the summer Quiksilver announced that in fact it was not postponed, but indeed cancelled. The absolute jaw dropper was that they have pulled Hossegor from the circuit forever. Not great news for Hossegor ! It also left a pretty sour taste in some of the top French Pros like Jeremy Flores, who openly spoke out against the decision. The cherry on the cake came with the imerging news that Kelly artificial wave would actually be replacing it.
As it turns out , the comp time came and went , the surf was amazing and it was busier than usual …… thats how odd 2020 has been in Hossegor.
The busiest French surf season ever
Just when the season could not be any lore unpredictable, France was given the green light for tourism. This came after 2 months of strict lockdown. It went from totally dead to full scale tourism. French tourists came to the coast along with a handfull of other Euro nationalities. It ended up being one of the busiest seasons Hossegor has ever had. All of the best surf lodges were full from start to finish. The surf schools also had the busiest year ever with private lessons being a big seller. From Sept the surf did it usual thing and turned on. Then …………..
French covid lockdown # 2
Yup ……. after a grueling first lockdown , then a full tourist season covid kicked off again and we were locked down . A last twist in this story is that the pros and pro instructors were given the right to surf in order to stay fit. Pretyy lousy for most , but worked pretty good for some. The surf has been super perfect for the last month and literally a case of getting barrelled all day almost alone. BUT if you didnt have your attestation / ID/ & proof of being pro , big fines were waiting …..
Surfing France during covid lockdown now
The futures bright , covid will pass and we will all go travel and surf in paradise again