Now, here's a cast of bonafide Basque rippahs. Aritz Aranburu, one of the best Basque barrel hounds around, Andy Criere; a competitive monster and the Amatriain bros, whose father, Ibon, pioneered some of those meaty Spanish slabs back in the day.
When lockdown kicked in, these gents went stir crazy at home, feet itchy to feel foreign soil. And then, travel opened right back up with a Mexico missio floated back in August. And they all pulled the trigger ahead of getting back for a comp in Anglet.
The result? It's this cut above titled La Mexicanada and we're here for it. This is what happens when you take some top EU talent and unleash them on the points of Mexico. And FYI, the Amatriain bros have been taken under the wing of Aritz - repaying the favour as their dad tutored Aritz in all things surf. How it comes full circle.
Anyway, the above edit is a blast. And we caught up with the crew to talk it all through.
Hey gents, the above cut's pretty wild. How long were you in Mexico?
Adur: It was a short trip, we stayed there for 5-6 days, not even a week. As we all are competitors, we had to get back home early due to a WQS in Anglet. Our stay in Mexico was definitely not the best training for the comp.
A quick flash in the pan! So what made you pull the trigger on the trip?
Iker: Because of the pandemic we spent all summer at home, and we had the need of moving out from routine. We were planning on a few trips before this one but traveling to other countries was very difficult since Spain was banned from many places. Mexico was one of the only destination that was easy to go, so the moment that we saw a good swell coming we bought the tickets and jump on a flight the very next day.
And Aritz, tell us about the crew -- Iker’s been going from strength to strength in bigger surf – have you been taking him under your wind a bit?
Yeah, this was a great crew for the trip. Andy Criere and the Amatriain brothers. I like to be surrounded by younger generation surfers to keep the energy up. Andy is a really positive guy. He was fired up to test himself in solid conditions.
As you know, I have a lot of connections with the Amatriain family. Back in the day their dad took me under his wing to start surfing some great days in Mundaka and during my firsts trips to Hawaii. They both have a great future in solid waves.
What is it about Mexico that makes it so special?
Andy: Mexico is just super raw, beautiful and powerful at the same time. We are very lucky to speak Spanish because you get to embrace and understand a bit of the culture of the place. The food, the accent of the natives and the landscapes make such an attractive experience out of this trip.
Then the Pacific Ocean comes into play, one of the toughest when it hits the coastline of Mexico. It makes you realise that your dream wave can immediately become your biggest nightmare and so you look at it with respect and humility. It’s for sure of those destinations you enjoy with big respect and come back home grown up from the experience. We went to Mexico looking for adrenaline and and for sure we found that.
When you plan trips like this, there’s a load of ground work – how easy was this one to get off the ground?
Aritz: The first thing is to be sure that is gonna be a good swell. We spent two to three days checking the charts every three hours. After that, I’m really used to booking flights and figuring out the rest once the trip is started. I love the feeling of a last minute trip without having everything organised.
This features some incredible Euro talent, what’s the dynamic in the group like?
Andy: The dynamic was great, we all know well each other and it was a great timing for the trip as we all wanted to surf good waves to avoid the dead flat summer at home. Honestly it was a super fun trip with this crew and we even got to share it with a group of surfers from the Basque Country that were already there. There is nothing better than sharing good waves with amigos.
Lay out some of the highlights for us.
Iker: One of the highlights was that the day before the big swell we didn’t really know if we would be able to use the jetski. Carlos and Pablo really helped us on that process and finally we could repair it, and we didn’t have any problems, even though it made an annoying ‘beep’ every 15 seconds.
Big question; which would you prefer; warm points of Mexico, or a winter at home?
Adue: Even if we all really loved Mexico, there’s no place like home. In winter time we have some really good waves and a big variety of different spots, water is cold though...