GALLERY: Natxo Gonzalez Brawls With This Rare Basque Country Freight Train

Jason Lock

by on

Updated 107d ago

Around the corner from Mundaka, along the Basque Country's rugged and wild coastline, is a fickle wave that only works a couple times a year. It takes a big swell to wrap into this locale and even when the numbers start to jack to eye watering levels, you'll need the sandbar to be just right. But when the elements combine (as they did earlier this week) it can put on quite the spectacle.

It was the number one choice for Basque Country warrior Natxo Gonzalez, who made the call right as Storm Dennis was finishing his tirade across the North Atlantic – you can see more from him across Europe, especially at Nazare which you can see HERE and the rest of the Old Continent, HERE.

Watch Mundaka live HERE

Natxo, reaping the fruits of a laboured paddle.

Natxo, reaping the fruits of a laboured paddle.

© 2020 - Jon Aspuru

For Basque lensman Jon Aspuru, this wave is on his doorstep, his home town – and when it starts to work, you can bet his phone begins to blip.

But as is the nature of massive storms, the forecast wasn't solidified until a few days before this session went down.

“The previous swell forecasts altered a lot in the last days before they arrived,” explained Natxo when MSW tapped him about this session. “So I was very nervous and checking the forecast every hour.

Look at this thing. Peanut gallery getting their fill.

Look at this thing. Peanut gallery getting their fill.

© 2020 - Jon Aspuru

“It seemed to be the perfect swell for our coastline. The only thing were the neap tides. That detail was decisive to choosing the spot, because  almost all of the spots on our coast depends a lot on that. 

“Finally, the day arrived. It was a clean and perfect swell with south offshore winds and sets of thick lines  riding the horizon.

“I called Jon, and he told me that his home town beach was firing. There is a river mouth with a pretty fickle wave, it works a few times a year. And this time, it was really big, almost closing out. A few locals were watching and, when I arrived, with the intention to get out, there  were two who were encouraged to do so as well,  Rafa Urrutia and Diego Elejoste. At the beginning I got in with a Pukas 6'4” but that was too short to paddle. There were 3-4 metre waves out there and so windy. I went back in and fetched the 9’0”

“It's more fun to go out with more surfers in in those conditions because we can push and encourage each other. And I've always had a great vibe with the people there. 

How about equipment? “At the beginning I got in with a Pukas 6'4”, says Natxo, “but that was too short to paddle. There were 3-4 metre waves out there and so windy. I went back in and fetched the 9’0” so I could take some bombs.

When to go to the Basque Country? HERE

Local Diego Elejoste takes a swing.

Local Diego Elejoste takes a swing.

© 2020 - Jon Aspuru

“Locals  commented that  probably this wave had never been surfed in those conditions. We were lucky.”

As for Jon's spin on the session? “It is one of the waves that I like to shoot the most. My home… with the incredible background of the hermitage of San Juan de Gaztelugatxe, a symbol of the seafarers here.

“It's very difficult to match a good session there. It was amazing to see local friends enjoying the session with Natxo on a memorable day like that.

“But All good things must come to an end , and after that swell, the sandbar broke and the wave lost its shape until the natural cycle of the sand returns to coordinate with the sea to revive it.”

You can't deny the rural beauty of the Basque.

You can't deny the rural beauty of the Basque.

© 2020 - Jon Aspuru