Basque Country Stories

YOU could be forgiven for thinking that the only point break in Spain was Mundaka. But only a short way from its thunderous glitz lie some perfect gems. Koldo Boulandier shows us a few of Northern Spain's other temptations.

Nowhere to run ... The Bay of Biscay

Nowhere to run ... The Bay of Biscay

© 2014 - msw

This year is not as good as other years, bad weather, heavy rain, wind but there have also been a few big special sessions to make up for it. The last two weeks of January were quite good in terms of waves and the points started to work. February has been very bad and March has not much better. The surf has occasionally pumped but it has not cooperated with the all important light. I discovered the power of photography working as an art director, then in December of 2007 I decided to do more than look and grabbed the camera. It was incredible to see that without any real experience I could get some ok photos, after 10 years I hope I've improved somewhat.

The Bay of Biscay

Slotted ... Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Slotted ... Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Note the baseball glove shape of The Bay of Biscay: from Northern Spain curving around to South West France it is perfectly situated to catch all available swell which funnels down from the hyperactive North Atlantic. There is nowhere for the it to go, no sliding past, if it propagates in here then it will end up on a lucky surfer's beach, reef or point, and there are a few of them scattered around.

Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Ivan Mintegui setting-up ... Aizkorri

Ivan Mintegui setting-up ... Aizkorri

This is Aizkorri and beach and left-hand pointbreak during one of the year's best sessions back in October, 2008. The point is much the best with numerous barrel sections.Well overhead waves, offshore, perfect conditions. I like to find different perspectives and improve my technique, you never know enough, I'm always learning.

Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Airbourne ... Jon Arrieta

Airbourne ... Jon Arrieta

Taken from the same session as before. In my opinion surfers in general can be very vain - but if appearing in a photo can serve as encouragement to continue practising our favorite sport - then why not?

Sopelana, Pais Vasco

Ivan Mintegui about to get shacked ... Sopelana

Ivan Mintegui about to get shacked ... Sopelana

Pictured is Jon Arrieta, surfing at Sopelana, Jon just wants to fly every time I see him. He can't help it. Sopelana is the back-up WCT venue for Mundaka and has hosted numerous events in the past.

Sopelana, Pais Vasco

Aizkorri as big as it can handle ... Unknown

Aizkorri as big as it can handle ... Unknown

As you can see this beach gets really good when the swell is rolling from the north and the wind blows up from the south. Here an unknown gets what he was looking for.

Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Smaller but perfect Aizkorri ... Sergio Lopez

Smaller but perfect Aizkorri ... Sergio Lopez

The biggest session I have seen at Aizkorri with perfect conditions. You can take only the first wave of the series, the others closed out the whole spot.

Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Same session, tucking in ... Jon Arrieta

Same session, tucking in ... Jon Arrieta

One day later in the same spot, perfect conditions but slightly smaller

Aizkorri, Pais Vasco

Big Bakio ... Mikel Zuniga

Big Bakio ... Mikel Zuniga

Surfing is Jon Arrieta, same session as before, still looking good.

Enrique Gar seeking shelter ... Laredo

Enrique Gar seeking shelter ... Laredo

Bakio, Pais Vasco

Pictured is Mikel Zuñiga at Bakio which has fast, hollow peaks. This beach has also hosted the WCT, including a final won by Andy Irons in 2007.

Laredo, Cantabria

Eneko Acero ... Sopelana

Eneko Acero ... Sopelana

Laredo, Cantabria, this is a good little spot when all the other beaches are maxing out.

Sopelana, Pais Vasco

Back to Sopelana, this is Eneko Acero one of the best surfers in Europe and local here. He has a strong powerful style.www.koldoboulandier.com


Ed Temperley

MSW editor. Twitter @edtemperley