Within the past 72 hours, The O’Neill Mission has brought together nine of the most dynamic surfers in the world to the to the European surf centre of Biarritz, hosted a launch party to remember on the beach of Anglet, moved the entire troupe 382km north to Ile d’Oleron, in the hope of discovering offshore winds and a few waves, made it through protesting French fisherman blocking the entrance to Ile d’Oleron with burning tyres, and temporarily lost five surfers as Hugo Savalli led them 200km too far north, following the wrong address on his satellite navigation system, then packed up again and headed another 450km north to the shores of Brittany. And this is only the beginning.
Enjoying the adventure is last year’s O’Neill Mission winner, Michel Bourez, eager to travel through the coast of France, surfing and exploring hidden waves.
“This is so different than any other contest,” he said. “It’s more like a fun adventure than anything else. I am looking forward to finding somewhere to surf on our own, and maybe even find a new wave that no one has surfed before. I have decided this year to go for loads of airs – a superman and some reverse airs,” he said.
“It’s totally different to The Mission last year in Tahiti, which is where I grew up surfing on the reef break in front of my house since I was eight years old,” Michel said.
It might be a world away from Tahiti, but as contest director Matt Wilson pointed out; “It’s got that similar sense of mystery and the unknown.”
“We have a general idea of the direction we are heading, but we have no idea what to expect when we get there. That’s part of the whole Mission package,” Matt said. “The swell forecast is better in the Brittany region, which is great for us because that area is a lot more unexplored.”
For now The O’Neill Mission is camped on the beach at La Torche waiting to see what swell and adventure the day brings.