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Basque Country, Baguettes, Boards: A Grape Tinted Surf Trip through Southwest Europe By Shaun Daley

Posted on December 05 2018

Basque Country, Baguettes, Boards: A Grape Tinted Surf Trip through Southwest Europe By Shaun Daley


The idea of a trip that revolved completely around surf and wine has been tugging at me for some time. The criteria was simple: go to an area that has both firing waves and respectable grapes...coastal grapes.



To be clear, I’m a full on wine kook, aspiring for a better taste and a purple tongue.


Australia? Chile? It would be southwest Europe. The location of this dream trip materialized by way of coincidence when a buddy landed a gig making wine in Germany and was looking to chase surf when he wrapped. Said friend, Dave, who goes by FRESTcoast, happens to be the human form of this fantasy—a surfboard shaper and wine maker (ladies, he’s single…sort of). Immediately on board, I booked the flight.



The two-week packing list was short. A surfboard bag with a few clothes stuffed around boards for protection from the TSA maniacs, a backpack filled with silicone band One Eleven watches, a William Finnegans Barbarian Days book, a few 35mm cameras and five rolls of film. As I’m writing this, I’m realizing we were running a pretty analog system. Documenting the trip with film, reading books, drinking funky natural wines, and wearing solar powered analog watches. Just some regular crusters lusting for the simpler times when everything seemed to work better and feel better.



Instead of hostels and trains, we chose to rent a small diesel campervan equipped with sleeping and cooking supplies to make improvising simple. Mobilized by our hotel on wheels, we started and stopped wherever, parked and slept wherever.



The route we went through felt like a landscape lasagna: cute or ancient coastal town/wave/vineyard/wave/vineyard/wave/repeat. In fact, at one of the best point breaks we surfed, we quite literally parked at the base of a Txokoli vineyard. Txokoli is a highly acidic, very dry, low alcohol, slightly sparkling Basque wine that is phenomenal with food. 



While the quality of surf was driving the trip, it was the charm of these ancient structures, the calmness of farm country, pintxos, the happy people who lived like they valued life, and the smell of baguettes that made the trip. All of which went down smooth with butter and plenty of Vino Tinto.



Featured French beverages: Bordeaux & Madiran.

Featured Spanish beverages: Txokoli & Sidra.

Featured Spotify playlist: Coastal Grapes.




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