The surf rolls, crashing over the sea stone wall of Donibane Lohizune, men of all ages appear to stand on the sea. Their Stand Up Paddle boards rise and fall among the sunlit fluid terrain. Jumping off the rocks I paddle out to join them, and we chat, waiting for sets of waves to arrive. A fellow bodyboarder notices a thick approaching wave and kindly says, “Go ahead, you have this one…”—a very generous gesture in a highly individual and localized surfing world.
After a few waves curling cleanly to the right, a few monstrous ones crash through, wiping us all off our boards. Laughter follows the sincere looks to check that everyone is above water. Liquid beatings seem to bring out the best in humanity. Expressions of concern represent a very welcomed attitude which any non-local surfer warms to when they are visiting foreign breaks.
As we finished up, we farewelled the surfers, and my new bodyboarding friend, originally from Paris, and I found ourselves skimming down the face of the same wave towards the beautiful “St Jean de Luz” shore. Neighbouring Ziburu, or Cibourne in French, is its beautiful twin sister town. Some may find Donibane a little touristy; however for me it has enough local spirit, with plenty of bread shops and local surfers to balance out the postcard and magnet stores (which are actually nice quality, too!).