It has been a fine end to the old year, and an even finer start to the new one, for the European wave-riding enthusiast. Shouts of “¡Buena!" have reverberated nonstop all along the Basque coast of Spain, so loud they could reportedly be made out as far away as Hossegor. Mundaka did that thing it seems to do every year around Christmas/New Year and went bananas for ten days straight. According to Superzuri, who's responsible for the singularly enticing images directly below, the 31st December alone had enough waves to compensate for an uninspiring autumn. Click through all of them, we dare ye.
As it turned out, the Mundaka faithful were paid back with interest. Aritz Aranburu drunk wine with his homegirl on nochevieja (see below), but went to bed reasonably early in order to start the new year as he finished the old: getting barrelled out of his brains. Here he adopts the same pose he uses for group photos, standing as tall as he can inside what was apparently his very first wave of the year.
New Year's Resolution #1: Be more like Aritz Aranburu / his Grandma
The annual Punta Galea Challenge took place just along the coast on the 30th, and was won for the second consecutive year by Nic Lamb, with Adrian Fernandez de Valderrama taking second and Indar Unanue third.
Natxo Gonzalez, A.K.A. King Joffrey, A.K.A. the human embodiment of Wave-Riding Enthusiasm, rode the standout wave of the event, windmill-arming down a wobbly monster and strong-arming his way through the pit for a 10-point ride. The subsequent claim cemented his status as the Most Stoked Man of 2017.
Ayer fue un día increíble, pero sobre todo, por vosotros, por toda esa gente que se preocupó en escribirme dando ánimos y por todos los que os acercasteis a ver el evento, antes de mi primera manga se me caían las lágrimas al ver el acantilado lleno de gente!De verdad, gracias de corazón! Con este recuerdo me quedo! Feliz año!❤️#2017 ???? @isionoya
So far he is also the Most Stoked Man of 2018. Two days later, on New Year’s Day, he parked himself inside this almighty Mundaka cavern, after which he was so stoked he pretty much spontaneously combusted.
New Year's Resolutions #2: Be more like Natxo Gonzalez / Joffrey
Commenting on the above photo, an envious Éric Rebiere reckoned Mundaka looked approximately “100000 times better than Nazaré". Still, Praia do Norte did get proper menthol once or twice this past fortnight, and Rebiere was in attendance, as was Tom Lowe, who took the following wave on the head:
It led to a cut head and stitches but couldnae wipe the smile off his face:
First ride yesterday before getting severely humbled...second wave I hit a chop and fell, surfacing right in the heart of the next...horrendous hold down followed with a board to the head. I’ll happily settle with some stitches considering. Thanks for checking on me @ryanhipwood , for the help on land @kikiboisson and the Nazare lifeguards. Back out there next week hopefully! ???? @shannonreporting
New Year's Resolution #3: Be more like Tom Lowe
Back to left-hand leg-burners. What with Storm Eleanor hammering the Cornish coast, a certain somewhere awoke from its slumber and began to look, dare we say it, a little Mundaka-like itself.
New year, swell for days! After three consecutive storms hammered in the new year, we're still celebrating the start of 2018 in Cornwall with some leg burning long rides. The last two days I've surfed more left's than in ten years. ???? Storm Eleanor saw bouys topping out at 25 plus feet, sending swell into lots of nooks and crannies including this little gem. Hope you all got some ???? ???? @photogregmartin
New Year's Resolution #4: Be more like... Alan Stokes? Yes, especially Alan Stokes!
Even the Mediterranean has been active. Young Leonardo Fioravanti returned to Rome with his tail not between his legs but resolutely high, and rightly confident that he will conquer the world yet.
Beautiful day in my home spot “Banzai" near Rome! It was a pleasure to be back in the water with everyone who I used to surf with when I was tiny!! ???????? || Dopo qualche annetto sono riuscito a tornare in acqua a casa! Bellissima “session" con tutti i ragazzi che mi hanno visto crescere sulla tavola da surf ????♂️ ! ???????? ???? @pierocapannini