The High Line: November 2022

Stories and recs from the French logger and TSJ 31.5 profile subject.

Light / Dark

As I write this, it is a public holiday here in France. There was a huge swell the last few days and it looks like another is on the way. For now, the surf is clean and mellow with light offshores. The tourists and weekend warriors have gone home and Biarritz has returned to the quiet coastal town it’s always been.


By Andrew Kidman

Every shaper used to have a TV and a VCR in their factory. My local shaper had one stashed in the attic. Climbing up there to watch Litmus at age 13 was both exciting and frightening. The vibe of the film was darker and full of details—the opposite of then-contemporary surf movies. Miki Dora and Tom Curren sightings were still common here in Biarritz, so it was fascinating seeing them on screen. Watching Derek Hynd’s display of technique and creativity made a powerful impact on me. His segment shaped a large portion of my surfing vision.


Rito y Geografïa del Canto Flamenco

When researching for our film, Con Duende (below), I dove into the history and culture of flamenco art. In doing so, I discovered this really cool series of documentaries. This episode about Spanish guitarist Diego del Gastor is especially riveting. Don’t worry, it has English subtitles. 





Haldane’s Daughters
by Haldane’s Daughters

This was recorded by Neal Purchase Jr. and his mates a few years ago, but was just released recently. Neal’s guitar playing is very similar to his surfing: raw, dynamic, graceful, with a perfect sense of timing right in the pocket.

Le Long Des Rues
by Henri Crolla

Typical sentimental Parisian music. His jazz guitar skills are at the service of each melody and song. Unfortunately, the whole album isn’t on Spotify, but you can get a taste from the two tracks that are. 


by Gene Cooper

For a few years, I saved all of my prize money and decided to purchase a fancy late-’50s longboard replica shaped by Gene Cooper. (If I was competing on shortboards, I could have bought a house). It was the most beautiful functional piece of art, but, of course, I sold it for all the wrong reasons. I regret it every single day.


by Tim Winton

I came across this novel while stuck in Australia during the pandemic. It’s about two boys growing up in West Oz under the tutelage of a wild mentor. I can relate to some of it. The surf descriptions are quite accurate, too. “This is not a story about surfing,” book reviewer Patrick Ness wrote about Breath in The Guardian. “It’s a story about fear, about pushing beyond fear, and about becoming addicted to the pushing. Moreover, it’s a story about the price of being more than ordinary.”



Some friends and I surfed the Le Mascaret tidal bore near Bordeaux late one afternoon—no leash no problem, all went smoothly. We celebrated with a great dinner at the chateau afterwards with many bottles of wine. I was sleeping on the couch until someone woke me up at 3:00 a.m. to go surf the river again. Still in a haze from the booze, I managed to surf the bore on my knees with no leash. I got lost in the dark and fog and started thinking I missed the exit. In the middle of tumultuous waters, I climbed the muddy riverbank, where all kinds of rusty objects had been thrown. I then hiked through the country in my mud-covered wetsuit with my board. I was scared I’d get shot for trespassing. Turns out, I exited the bore way too early. I finally arrived at the rendezvous an hour late. Everyone was worried something had happened to me. 


Sharp Hands & Fine Teeth

You never know when you might need to not to look like a surf bum, so I always pack my Japanese hair comb. Also, I never leave without my watch from March Lab. It has Biarritz’ Villa Belza engraved on the back. It’s like a piece of home is always with me. 


Scarlet Begonia
by Chris Christenson

My new signature model rides very smooth and does it all, with an emphasis on traditional logging. It’s been field tested extensively throughout European waters. The name comes from my daughter, Scarlet, and is also a nod to all the Deadheads out there. Check out the stock dims on Chris’ site by clicking here. 


Golden Era

Most of my life I’ve been attracted to surfing’s golden era. Everything looked better and life seemed easier back then. Recently, I had the realization that the time gap between the ’60s and ’90s is the same as the gap between the ’90s and the 2020s. Looking back, the ’90s were my ’60s—the waves were still relatively empty and no one cared about traditional longboarding. So, the lesson I learned is that there’s never a better time than now.