On December 16th 2016, the wave called Belharra did break for the first time since January 4th. That was the first time I went on a boat to shoot it.
Belharra is a bask myth. It’s a wave that only appears a few times a year, off the coast of the corniche between Saint-Jean-de-Luz and Hendaye. The last time she broke, was on January 4th. Many big-wave riders have been dreaming of it ever since. But, on the friday december 16th, it was back, with some perfect conditions to paddle in.
Belharra from the boat
After a few researches, my colleague, mon collègue Guillaume Arrieta found us a boat, lent by Rico Leroy. We had a hard time coming out of the Harbor, with all the waves breaking in the chanel. Then, we took way of the shore to avoid the shallows before arriving. Once we did, the swell isn’t here yet, and most of the waves don’t break, with jet skis all-over the line-up. Slowly, it’s cleaner, the bigger waves broke, and paddling riders are taking place at the line-up. Even if, in the end, not a lot of good waves appeared, it’s easy to say that Stephane Iralour, a local charger, caught the bigger wave paddling. Matthieu Crepel caught the bigger one with a jetski, while everyone started to leave.
Despite the pressure from the waves Breaking outside and the lack of a full time pilot, this first experience was a success. Even if the waves weren’t as good as predicted, it allowed us to meet the line-up, take our marks, spread some images, to be ready when the next one will come. Thanks to Rico Leroy for the boat.