March 13, 2013

The Sun Also Rises

“Do you hear that?” I asked to no one in particular. “The rain stopped,” I chuckled in surprise and contempt.

Cyrus (Sutton) looked up from the pot of vegetables he was cooking on a stove in the small apartment in Hendaye, France and studied the window.  The squall had subsided, and the trees were no longer shaking like middle school boys at their first dance. “Looks like it,” he said, returning to his afternoon snack.

Since arriving in Bilbao a week before,  the wind and rain had never stopped.  Growing up in the Pacific Northwest and experiencing a fair share of New England’s Nor’easters, the Basque weather caught me off guard.  The storms came in from the North Atlantic, slowed a little bit courtesy of the small speed bump known as the British Isles and then slammed into the southern European coast.  During our stay in the Basque country,  the largest wave ever surfed,was surfed five hours down the coast in Portugal.

James and Ryan looked out the window and nodded in agreement.  Despite arriving in Bilbao a week before, we were still jet lagged and worn out from surfing.

“What time is Sancho meeting us for dinner?”

“We have to meet him in San Sebastian at 7:30.”

Glancing at my watch, it was few minutes before four.  I was restless and jet lagged.  My clothes were damp and sandy from the constant transition from standing on a rainy beach to wearing a wetsuit to standing back on rainy beach.  Rising from the couch, I walked over to the window.  The sun peered through a break in the clouds.  I reached for my bag and jacket.  ”I’m going to go grab a coffee and take a look around. I’ll be back in a bit.”

“I may see you at the cafe, I need to check on the good old internet. You know,  make sure its still there..”

Walking down the stairs of the  comfortable but sparse apartment building, I exited onto the an empty street. The roar of waves crashing against the breakwater at high tide a block away echoed around the Orwellian apartment buildings.  Large puddles surrounded the storm grates and scraps from the various palm trees dotted the sidewalks.  During the summer months,  Hendaye is full of vacationers from inland.  It’s not as fancy as Biarritz or San Sebastian and in the off-season it showed.   Save for the a few surfers scrambling to get their wetsuits on,  the streets looked post Zombie apocalypse.

Heading towards the beach,  I searched the pockets of my jacket for my headphones.   Finding them, I plugged them into my phone and resumed Hemingway’s fabled, “The Sun Also Rises.”  It was nice to be alone and walking in a city, albeit a small, empty one. Back when I lived in New York, I opted out of taking a cab or subway to work and walked instead.  That hour per day was my alone time, it kept me sane.  I slipped into a similar mindset as I wandered Hendaye’s empty streets.

Luc’s Mini Cooper and his hand shaped eleven foot single fin.

Sancho making lunch.

 

Rainbow!!

“Should I stay or should I go now?”

Showers at the Mundaka Harbor.

Ryan Burch having a beer and watching waves at Mundaka after the best day of surfing of the trip.

Old-world streets.

The planner in Peta’s shaping bay.

The French and Spanish boarder.

A basement stairway in a five hundred year old castle in Spain.

It’s alive!  That little black speck on the wave is Ryan Burch.

A 70′s style single fin gun, a two plus one gun, and Cyrus Sutton‘s experimental one plus one gun.

Mildew in the making.

Sancho looking out over a thousand foot cliff.

Cobblestone streets.

Red, white and grey.

Cyrus Sutton and my surfboards for the trip.

 Cy and his broken 7’6 gun.

The street lights flickered into action, punctuating twilight.  My immersion in Hemingway’s bullfights had lasted two hours.   I needed to get back to the apartment for dinner. The wind was turning from a straight west to a south. Low pressure in the Atlantic was sucking warm air from Spain’s interior.

“We could score Mundaka in the next few days,” I mumbled to the empty street.  ”With any luck, we might get some sun…” I continued my one sided conversation.

Here are some more links,

The Fun Also Rises (Tumblr #),

Regressing Forward (Cyrus Sutton’s blog).

9 Comments



  • Sarah // @clementimes
    March 13 , 2013

    Loved seeing all of your images on Instagram and getting a chance to read about it here, Foster. Best wishes for many more adventures to come.


  • March 15 , 2013

    Road to hell paved with unbought stuffed dogs…

    One of my favorite books. Great stuff as always here.


  • Hey!
    March 16 , 2013

    A reader from Bilbao :)


  • March 19 , 2013

    These pics are amazing.


  • March 19 , 2013

    Thank you!


  • Kirsten
    March 23 , 2013

    Hey, from Australia!

    Just wanted to say that your photos have such a magical quality to them. Perfect. How did you get into film photography? I’m trying to get into it myself & there is so much information out there; did you read anything that helped you a lot?

    Love


  • March 24 , 2013

    I recently visited the Basque Country (I was in Bayonne, Biarritz and St. Jean de Luz) and the whole time I was there I thought of The Sun Also Rises and the parts of the book that took place where I was. I love being able to see the places that inspired stories, and that is one of my favorites.


  • March 24 , 2013

    Brook,
    I felt the same way when i was in the Basque country. It was really cool to see the places that Hemingway was describing. things havent changed that much in the last 90 years.

    foster


  • March 25 , 2013

    Hey man, I was just catching up on your travels. Buying a superbrand craft 2 this weekend. My girlfriend and I are heading to Barcelona in August (knock on wood with plane fare) and I’m already starting to convince her to drive with me up to Bilbao and then to the coast so I can catch some waves of my own. Thanks for the great post!