La Graviere is a site of pilgrimage for European tuberiders, and when a promising forecast materialises you can be sure to find a congregation of hooded worshippers huddling together atop the dunes.
This was the case late last week when wind, swell and sand aligned for a feast of classic French barrels. Two days of "real La Graviere" were claimed by the locals. It wasn't one peeler for every 20 closeouts. Spitting barrels could be observed in every which direction, many carrying an wide-eyed occupant.
From dawn you could hear the whirring of cars, the noise of the cold wax being scratched on surfboards, the whispers of surfers discussing what they were seeing. You could perceive in between the fog men plying these liquid caverns that die on the sand, and as the day progressed the beach filled with spectators and broken boards.
"La Graviére" is the temple for those who want to test themselves, those looking for a challenge. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they don’t. It's like a Roman amphitheatre where the brave struggle to emerge victorious and people applaud the exploits of the gladiators.
If you do paddle out, don't hesitate. The power worshipped at La Graviere is far from benign.
Words by Marc Gasso