An introduction to board sports with Thomas
Join the world of 100% Pont l’Abbé surfing with a champion
We're off to Pors Carn Beach, close to the legendary surf venue of La Torche. This is the base of the new-wave surfing club run by Thomas Joncour, the European surfing Vice-Champion. With an exceptional instructor like him, the introductory session takes place in a relaxed atmosphere with the focus on nature. The two-and-a half hour session is full of surfing, general hilarity and learning about the natural environment.
Total immersion in nature
As we stand on the beach, Thomas points out the dolmens and fortifications that brave the wind on La Torche point. Opposite there is a small harbour with a few boats. The champion, whose nickname is “La Jonkette”, could talk forever about his beloved “Bigoudene” coastline. Look closely and see how many colours you can pick out along this listed nature site. The pearly whiteness of the beach and the light green hues of the vegetation form a frame around the blue of the lagoons and the turquoise and jade of the sea. Once we’ve appreciated the view, it’s time for some action!
The joys of surfing
A little warm-up, a few safety rules, a bit of theory and off we all go into the water! With our surfboards at our sides, we wade out to look for a good wave. For our first surf we won’t need to go out too far. With the sea up to mid-thigh, that will be far enough. Even the foam can carry us along. The champ’s experienced eye picks out the best waves for us. I lie on my board, turn it to face the beach and, encouraged by Thomas, I paddle with my arms, 3 metres before the wave. Then the force is with me and I get the thrill of being carried to beach; and there’s only one thing I want to do then – do it all again!
We all stand up…well, nearly all
We’re a small group, so La Jonkette can easily give us tips, guide us, adjust our stance. We’re beginners, but lucky ones! After surfing 4 or 5 waves lying down, our little team goes back to the beach to learn how to stand up! The way Thomas explains it, it sounds easy. John’s the first to do a successful take-off. It’s an exhilarating feeling. Even when you only stand up for a moment it puts a big grin on your face. Anyway, falling into the water is fun too! The only possible danger is that you’ll get totally hooked on surfing. Triumphant yells alternate with ignominious splashes.
Sharing apples, stories and pancakes
After our efforts, there are tasty rewards waiting for us. On the dunes we drink local apple juice or coffee instead of salt water. The Penmarc'h pancakes, with demi-sel butter or honey, go down very well. Depending on the time of day, there might be pâté on offer too. The budding surfers share their impressions. The conversation moves from one subject to another. Thomas tells us about his career. Because he was so fond of his bit of the cliffs, he came back to lay his boards down in his native land after surfing the seas in every part of the world. Together with Alan, the bodyboard champion, he decided to found this 100% Breton surf school. They chose to set up at Pors Carn because the bay, between La Torche point and a natural embankment, has the right kind of waves. Plus it’s one of the prettiest parts of the coast!
Sport and excursions: the perfect combination
To prove beyond any doubt what a marvellous place this is, Thomas gives us a few addresses... Just nearby there is the Museum of Prehistory where you can surf through the aeons. Beyond the point, La Torche beach offers you a chance to watch true surf acrobats in action on the waves. Further along you’ll find seaweed ovens, two major fishing ports and the Eckmuhl lighthouse, inviting you to explore different aspects of the marine world. Before or after surfing the waves, other discoveries can be slipped into the programme!
Text: Annick André
Plage de Pors Carn 29760 Penmarc’h