Miles from a real beach, find the world's most intriguing wave.
In a valley in Europe's Basque Country, is the increasingly famous wavepool called Wavegarden. Some 300-metres long and 75 metres wide, it generates a wave over 200 metres in length.
Eighteen second rides!
John John Florence, the Hawaiian surfer currently touted as the best surfer in the world now that Dane appears to have lost interest in the virtual crown, took his Pyzels to the pool during a lay-day in the French leg of the tour last year.
"John wanted to give it a try and see how fun it was," says photographer Alex Laurel. "I was a bit in that same 'fun' kind of approach. It's not a performance wave but the surroundings are pretty mental, lost in land, deep in the Basque Country, next to a river going through a forest. Well, not a performance wave until John gets in and carve the sh*t out of it. The place is rad. You just have to press a button to start the session. No tides to deal with, no swell charts to read and a wooden deck instead of sand dunes to cross to get in the water. Once you finish your ride, let's say a righthander, you don't have to paddle back out 'cause a left starts two minutes after at the exact spot where you kicked out on your first ride. Such a lazy-man surf spot. But why make it harder when you can make it easy? At first we were down for a little two-hour session, but I think we ended up staying for almost four hours. After the session, John just had to put his skate shoes back on, ready to sweat it out on a mini-ramp next to the pool. Just bring a DJ, light up a barbecue with a few beers and I think you could have a f*cking great day."
Want to buy your own wavegarden? Let's ask for a quotation:
"The approximate facility investment (including generator and civil work of the lagoon) starts from €3 million for simple civil works and the small wave generator (similar to the current system in Northern Spain)."
And what kinda wave count can we expect for our three mill Euros (around $US4 million)?
"120 expert waves per hour of at least 18-second duration and a larger number of beginner and intermediate waves in the perimeter of the lagoon."
Makes you want to be a millionaire, don't it?