Blitztrip Bretagne

Wednesday the 19th of May, our hearts were bouncing a little bit faster than usual. A 6-8ft 11 second swell was arriving at the coast of Bretagne. Hungry for epic waves we (Jouke and I) called all our surffriends, trying to fill a van with at least four people. Deadline for departure would be 2300, at 2130 we got a crew of four (Jan Jaap and Kiril joined us). At 2245 we got our fifth member: Anton! With a little delay, leaving at midnight, we drove to Bretagne. No map, no food, no toothbrush. Our minds set on epic surf the next day, we took the scenic route via Calais… an extra 100 kilometers. After a thirteen hour drive, we arrived at La Torche. We got out of the van and ran to the coast. We saw nice 8 foot waves with much power and got in the water for a refreshing session! We decided to buy a barbecue for 13 euros at the Carrefour supermarket, money well spent! That night we ate jummy surfburgers on real French baguettes!

The next day we woke up late, needing our sleep to get fit again. In the afternoon I had a great session at La Torche. It was a bit crowded, but I got on Jan Jaap’s 7’6″ and surfed on 200 meter long lefthanders. My longest rides ever. In the evening we decided to explore the area to find an uncrowded spot to surf in the evening and the next day. We drove along the coast and checked out several spots. Most of them weren’t working at all! We drove a little further until we arrived at a bay called Baie de Trépassés, which translates to Bay of the Death. It got it’s name because of the colder water temperatures. The place looked more like the Bay of the Gods. It was magical! Jouke and I decided to go for a evening session. The water was very clear and refreshing. The waves were small but powerful. Seeing the sun shine through the waves was beautiful. Much better than the brown mud of the North Sea we usually surf in in Holland.

The next day, a new portion of swell arrived. The waves got bigger and the bay was on! I surfed mostly righthanders trying to get better at surfing on my backside, but also caught some beautiful lefthanders. The rest of the crew was also ripping and all day long we surfed! In the evening, the swell got less and less. We almost decided to go home, but first felt we had to check out La Torche again. Arriving there, we saw that the swell arrived much better and decided to stay another night, drink some beer and get up early for a dawn patrol session!

The early morning session was superb! Only a few people out at La Torche and the waves were very clean. Up to about 6ft in the sets, the long lefts were great to practice generating speed on a wave. Late morning, early afternoon, the spot got filled up by sunday longboarders, which made it a lot harder to catch a good wave without dropping in or getting dropped in. The waves also got smaller and smaller. Therefore we decided to drive back to The Netherlands.

This was definitely my best short surftrip ever. Four days of clean, near perfect waves, in a row! It will be hard to get used to the Dutch waves again…

Scheveningen Zuid, Hemelvaartsdag

Already had many surfsessions in The Netherlands, but last week was especially great: four hours in the morning on saturday, a great dawn patrol session on tuesday the 11th of May, and a super relaxed and fun session thursday the 13th of May, Hemelvaartsdag, a public holiday. I borrowed my camera to my friends girlfriend, and she took some shots of us in the surf. The waves were really mellow at first, but started getting more powerful at the end of the session. Haven’t caught so many waves in one day since Portugal!

Scheveningen Zuid, March 6

After coming back from Portugal, the water in the Netherlands was terribly cold. After a dawn patrol session at the end of Januari, during which I couldn’t last more than 20 minutes in the water I decided to wait a month for the water to get warmer. Unfortunately this didn’t really happen and I needed my shot of surf! So I decided to buy warmer gloves as soon as the surf arrived on the 6th of March. Now I could surf for three hours easily! I took some pictures after this epic surf session at Scheveningen Zuid. We got a spectacular sunset before going home. Although the watertemperature was 4 degrees Celsius, the air temperature -1 degrees and it took more than three hours for my feet to get warm again, it was definitely worth it!

Portugal: Peniche 2009-2010

For the second year I went to Peniche in Portugal during the winter with a bunch of friends from my surfclub Plankenkoorts. We had loads of great waves and I got to try out my new camera! I took more than a thousand pictures, most of which are of my girlfriend and other friends practicing surfing. To give you a general idea of what the waves and scenery look like over there in the wintertime, check out these pictures!

Online!

From now on, mennovanderbijl.com is up and running! I finally have a place on the web where I can post my pictures! A couple of months ago I bought myself a Canon EOS 500D DSLR and I have already taken loads of pictures with it. Mostly of surfing, but also some landscape shots, portraits of people and just random weird photos. Soon I will post several of these pictures on this page!