etnies Girl surf team rider Mary Osborne kept this journal and took the photos below when she was in Biarritz, France, for the last Girlie Surf Camps of the year.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 18, 2004
I am currently on a 10 hour flight to Paris. Ahead of me is a two hour layover in the airport before I finally catch another flight to Biarritz, France, for the Girlie Surf Camps. I have been dreaming of going to Biarritz to surf for years. I remember being 16 years old looking on the Internet for surf camps in France—I was hoping that I could teach surfing, which would mean I could get a free room and board, and surf all over France. It's funny how things work out in the end. Six years later, etnies has invited me to help out with the Girlie Surf Camps in Biarritz. I am thrilled to be a part of this camp and very excited to see Biarritz.
I finally arrive at the camp, where about eight trailers with surf-related posters and signs (like etnies) posted all over them sit. I am definitely in the right spot. I put my stuff away in one of the cozy trailers, which will be my home for the week, and I'm off to explore the coast of France for my first time ever. The campgrounds were ideal, far from anything I have seen here in California. They sit on a beautiful, lush green bluff and overlook a perfect right hander. I grabbed my surf gear and headed out for a surf to wash off all the plane yuck and try to keep myself awake before jet lag gets me.
Dinner: a tomato and cheese sandwich...yummy!
SUNDAY, SEPT. 19, 2004
The weather reminds me of home, since there's a bit of warm rain this morning. I haven't seen rain in a while in my travels but it definitely is a sign of wintertime approaching.
A lovely camp sunset
Every morning, a group of campers goes either at 9:30 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. to surf. I jumped in the later crew because I slept in till 11:00 a.m. We headed to the south of France, Hendaye, to a beginners beach because the waves everywhere else were too large. The water was very warm but the air had a winter chill to it.
The girls are from all over Europe: Germany, Ireland, Switzerland, Russia—you name it, they are here. It's so exciting for me to learn about each girl's country. One by one, I begin asking my questions. I have so many for each of them. Once they found out I was professional surfer they had so many questions for me. It was so enjoyable. Every girl here at the camp is trying surfing for the first time ever. They love it and they are doing so well.
In the evening we headed into Biarritz for a Mexican meal. It was a blast hanging out with the girls. It is so different being around a group of very intellectual and strong women. Each girl brings a different attribute to the table. The Mexican food in France is definitely not like in California—lots of garlic.
MONDAY, SEPT. 20, 2004
We went surfing again in the same spot, Hendaye. I got to help a few of the girls stand up on their first wave with whitewater takeoffs. They are all doing great. This evening we'll be doing yoga on the bluff overlooking the water. I got to go with a few of the camp directors to see Hossegor for my first time. What an amazing beach break. Now I see why every magazine runs shots of it and every surfer talks about it.
Dinner: The girls BBQ together at the camp. They found some random boys to join them, which spiced up the evening. Everyone seems a bit tired from surfing but still overly excited to be here. I know I am.
TUESDAY, SEPT. 21, 2004
Back to Hendaye again....the waves are still too big everywhere else. The girls don't seem to mind, considering this is a nice mellow beach break. The further south you go, the smaller the waves become. Girls are still catching whitewater but everyone has stood up and rode a wave to shore.
Dinner: The BBQ was going, and I had salad, bread and wine myself. Everyone throws in and shares their food with the others. It's so fun seeing the different meals the girls come up with.
Girlie Campers Gone Wild!
We headed to St. Sebastian for a night out on the town. It was every man's dream to see two carloads of women singing and laughing out loud as we drove into the historic town. Light rainfall filled the small streets and old buildings in St. Sebastian, but that didn't stop any of us from having a good time. I am so glad I can finally say I saw St. Sebastian.
WEDNESDAY, SEPT. 22, 2004
We're back in Hendaye again due to large surf still. Many of the girls paddled to the outside today to catch their first non-whitewater wave. I pushed a few girls to the outside then helped them as they paddled for the waves. Easky Britton from Ireland arrived today. She is so nice and enjoyable to be around. I took notes from her on her shortboard as I tried shortboarding. It's so fun!
Everyday the girls improve. It's fun to see older women pushing their abilities. The girls seem to be bonding more. Every day more and more questions are being asked, and I can tell they understand surfing more.
THURSDAY, SEPT. 23, 2004
Tonight Easky and I had an open question and answer discussion about surfing. We discussed topics like surfboards, different wave breaks, shortboards versus longboards and weather. I think this really helped the girls understand surfing a lot more. You could tell just by the looks on their faces they were putting all pieces together and things were making sense.
FRIDAY, SEPT. 24, 2004
Mary (far right) and the girls getting ready to head out in the VZ limo
It's the "BIG" night out: Maurica organized for all of the Girlie Camp instructors and a few other helpers to take the Von Zipper limo to Hossegor to Jimmy Paige's bar for food and entertainment. There was a surf video premiere and, since the WCT was in town, several other pro surfers there. The girls were in awe as good looking surfer boys quickly filled the bar. The night didn't end there. We packed up the vans once more for dancing at the Rockfood bar located just a few steps from the beach break in Hossegor.
SATURDAY, SEPT. 25, 2004
I'm very tired, having gotten only one hour of sleep due to the enormous amount of fun I had last night with the girls from Girlie Camp. I am on my flight home back to California. I'm excited to get home, but I will miss each girl I met. Each one had a different influence and impact on me. Not only did they get to learn about surfing, but I learned something from each of them. Hopefully they will come visit me in California.