Don't know where to go on a surftrip?
No worries, today, the young surfer/shaper from Landes, Paul Duvignau talks about his trip to the land of surf culture: Welcome In California.
360°Surf: You just came back from a surf trip in California, can you tell us a little bit about your trip?
Paul Duvignau : My trip went very well, a little bit fast because I left from Bordeaux to Orly and my plane to LAX was leaving from CDG, I had to take the shuttle, which was late, so I almost missed my plane, I got off the bus 10 min before the plane took off ! So, I advise you to avoid this kind of plane plan haha, fortunately I didn't have a boardbag, I only left with a hand luggage.
How long were you there?
About two and a half weeks, from 17 December to 5 January.
How did you feel about your trip? How did you organise it?
Actually I had planned three stops, San Diego to start with, then Santa Barbara and finally Venice for the last two days before flying back. I chose these cities because I had friends who could put me up.
Why did you choose California?
Because it's a must-see destination when you're a surfer/shaper, there's an uncommon spirit there, and above all, whether you're old, young, with long or short hair, with a crappy old longboard or with the latest Al Merrick, no one is judgmental. On the street it's the same, wherever you go people are nice, joking, friendly. I've talked to homeless people as well as rich people, each one as cool as the next. California is surf, skate, smile and rock'n'roll :)
Tell us about the atmosphere in the line-up?
The atmosphere is really cool, in any case for my part I spent great moments talking with guys, I was surprised because in France it's hardly if they answer me when I say hello, and in California, all the guys are nice and easily engage in conversation.
What is the difference with the French waves at this time of the year?
December in France is the arrival of winter, storms and big swells, over there it's also the arrival of winter but it's quite warm and the waves are of great quality every day, the only thing is that you can have a 20 cm swell for 10 days or 1,50 m. You just have to be there at the right time. In California, the swells don't change overnight like in France.
What is your best memory / scare in the land of surf culture?
In Santa Barbara, I was staying at Tom Curren's house and one morning we went for a longboard session at Ricon, there was a perfect 1m and not much level in the water so we had a great time and then we went skating and in the evening his son Pat was playing live with his band Clean Spill (which I advise you to go and see if you go there !!) It was a great day among many others.
The biggest scare was when Pat and I got pulled over by the cops one morning, they actually put handcuffs on our buddy who was driving, but it was a mistake, a story about a minor who had bought some beers, and they thought it was him when it wasn't ;)
What are your good plans in Calif (spots, to see, to do, where to eat) ? In short, the Californian life in surftrip ?
The good plans start with the car ! At the exit of the airport you have to take the Alamo bus which brings you directly to rent a car, the best is the Dodge Grand Caravan, multiplace, perfect to put the boards and the family, or even to sleep in it if necessary ! Advice also, it is necessary to take a GPS, otherwise it is rather complicated to move, because the roads are large and it is easy to be mistaken !
Life in San Diego (from south to north) is to surf at Blacks, Seaside Reef and Cardif, then you have to take the 101 road which goes up north, it goes along the coast and the view is great !!!
For Trestle you have to park at the RipCurl shop in San Clemente and walk on the path that leads to the wave. For Venice, don't miss the skate park, it's a must, the arrival of route 66 on the Venice Pier with the big wheel, and even the Bouba Gump restaurant ! Yes, yes like in the movie Forest Gump !!!
Then for Malibu, it is not difficult to find it is on the 101, there are then good spots to surf as Ventura which rolls on a beautiful length, the restaurant at the Pier is top with an incredible view.
Rincon is a bit difficult to find but just before it there is an artificial island with a pontoon leading to it, the one you see on all the videos and photos.
In Santa Barbara there is the Sand Spit wave, at the exit of the harbour which is great but very rare, there is also a good skate park, and don't pass by the Al Merrick shop without going to see the number of fantastic boards there !
What will be your next trip? Why do you want to do it?
Next trip is Australia for Christmas! Direction Snaper Rocks because I'm taking the kids from my club on a trip there in host families and I'll be staying with my family. Good time in Australia for the waves, the sun and the heat.
In one word, how would you sum up your experience ? What advice would you give to a future globetrotter?
My experience was unique, different from the first time I went to California, but it's a really great country, go alone, immerse yourself in the adventure and you'll always find great people who will make your adventure unique!!!