‘Surf Trips & France’ by Pat Morrell

‘The Early Days’ by Pat Morrell

Part 2

This is 1971 and Hutch and I are coming off Barricane beach in Woolacombe.  By this time we were both living in England and found it more convenient to leave our wives together  (after a year or two with children) in Hutch’s house in  Southsea, and to go down to the west country for a weekend rather than to come to the Island.  Woolacombe was much closer than Newquay so we would leave at around 6:00 or 6:30 on a Saturday morning, reckoning to be in the water by 10:00 and then return late Sunday afternoon.

Pat on Ventnor sea front during the winter of 1971/72 with the Westcoast surfboard from North Devon that was later confiscted by French Customs (but that’s another story).

In 1972 we went back to Biarritz where there was quite a gang from the Island I remember the Isle of Wight contingent sitting on the sea wall outside the surf club at Cotes des Basques, Biarritz watching the then world champion (Corky Carroll).

From left  is me (Pat), Rory Angus, an Australian chap that we hooked up with, Bob Ward (I think, he was certainly around), Trev, his girlfriend, an English bloke called Alan that was with the Aussie, and their two girlfriends one who was English the other Australian.

The “IW” campsite.  Hutch in the middle, Rory on his right and Trev & girlfriend in the background.

Rory at Chambre d’Amour.  The waves were very small but he insisted it was worth going in, we gave him flack about surfing on wet sand.

Hutch on the left, unknown on the right.  This is on the sandy beach between Bidart and Guethary

Chambre d’Amour.  Trev’s girl, Trev and Rory with Hutch in the car.  Hutch and I were a bit better organised that the rest of them and did most of the shopping.  Each day we would go into the little supermarket in Guethary and buy a platter of peaches, about 4 baguettes, two cheeses and 7 or 8 litres of beer.  The girls there thought it was only for us so we achieved a little notoriety for our diet, but it was really for the other guys as well.

Tony Macpherson may remember it as the year he spent a night in a French gaol! He was camping in his van on the beach at Bidart and I asked him to try to sell a board for me. Despite my suggestion that he didn’t advertise it, he put an “A Vendre” notice on the board (The Orange surfboard in the shot of Hutch and Pat at Woolacombe). The police hauled him off for not paying import tax or something. The options were to pay a fine or forfeit the board, he chose the latter and I lost my board! Tony didn’t offer to recompense me.

One Response to “‘Surf Trips & France’ by Pat Morrell”

  1. Tony Macpherson says:

    Nice article Pat. Surprisingly I was not given the option to pay a fine they just confiscated the board. You were right about the sign it shouldn’t have been left up overnight. Not sure who wrote it as at the time I didn’t know what “A Vendre” meant!!
    My memory is of the police turning up after midnight and I had to follow them in my van to the police station (Guethary I think). After several hours I was allowed to leave without the board. When I got back in the van it was clear that it had been searched thoroughly, presumably for drugs. Trevor Woodley also had a sign up but managed to remove his before the police noticed.

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