After a very nice snowy Christmas in the UK with my family the time had come to get out of the cold, back in our kayaks and hit the road in our trusty van for the start of another migration to Europe for the Spring/ Summer
So 2 weeks ago we loaded up and got the Channel Tunnel to France. Our real destination was the Frieira Dam Wave in Spain in the Galicia region, but with such a long drive ahead we thought we’d take a leisurely drive down to see some of the areas along the way.
Having seen that Lacanau beach on the West coast of France was on our route and having heard of it as a famous surf spot it seemed a good place to break up our journey. Already the weather was much warmer than the UK and it looked like some pretty big waves so we got on for a surf. The waves were big but the sets a little too close, so after an hour of getting battered around in the waves we surfed in to find camp for the night.
Katya had read up on top 10 places to see in Europe and having seen it on the signs it turned out that only a short drive away was Dune de Pilat, the biggest sand dune in Europe. It’s huge! At least 100meters high and the view from the top is spectacular, it looks out over the surrounding forests on one side and out to the light blue ocean on the other. Great fun to run down it after the long climb to the top too.
Back in the van we spent a couple days cruising through some very pretty rustic Spanish villages and countryside. Its a big difference to the feel of the Uk already, people seem very relaxed and friendly, much less rushed and manic, with old men sitting on benches watching the world go by and people sitting in cafes taking time to sit still and enjoy. Its very interesting to see the changes in culture and lifestyle as you drive across europe.
We then got to our first main stop, the Frieira wave below the dam on the Rio Mino on the Spain/ Portugal border. A great wave where you can get every wave move. At a high level its the a fantastic spot to surf on. At lower levels its a good but challenging hole and in between its just hard work 🙂
It has an eddy that you have to be very quick to catch and at usual levels you can’t make the wave from the eddy buts its not far back up unless you miss the eddy in which case you have a 15 minute slog through the trees and bushes over the jagged rocks until you can get back in again. The wave at the right level though is superb and the enjoyment from surfing it makes up for any hardships endured to climb back up to the top. It really is one of the best waves in Europe.
The area is very peaceful and also is pretty warm for this time of year with stunning scenery all around us, there are even Orange and Lemon trees grow full of fruit growing in every garden!
Last weekend was low water so we went to the Coast next to Porto in Portugal to get out in the very big and violent storm surf, good fun but very brutal conditions. I was soon back in the shelter of the van.
Now we’re back in Frieira, and after 4 days of surfing in the solid rain the sun has come out again so its time to dry our gear and take a break with the weekend low water.
Check back soon to see where we get to next on our journey.
Pringle & Katya
Check out the photos & the Flickr Slideshow below for a better view where we’re at and what we’ve been upto…