France/Spain Winter Road Trip
CS Road Trip - South West France & Northern Spain (Liselle Wilsnagh & Phil)
January 21st - 26th saw a small team from Christian Surfers UK fly to toulouse to start aa very exciting 5 day trip. The team consisted of Dan Evans (Swansea), Liselle Wilsnagh (London) Dave Matthews (Woolacombe) Cirsty de Cruchy (Jersey) and led by Phil Williams.
The aim of the road trip was to connect with the key leaders in the area and see how Christian Surfers can resource them, encourage and assist them in what they are doing. We were hosted by a young German couple who are missionaries in Bayonne, France – Thomas & Dorte Feder. We first met them 2 years ago at the CS International Conference 2004 in Hossegor. It was great to actually meet some of the people they are working with and hang out in their very cool little flat.
While we were in Bayonne we went to visit local surfer Jean-Ives and his wife Cecile with their family. Jean-Ives is a big wave surfer and an incredible carpenter – check out the photo’s to see some of his creations – which included a very cool bookshelf. We also connected with Gerald Griffin and his wife who have been working at the Skate Church (http://www.skatechurch.net) in Portland, Oregon, but have now moved to Phoenix Arizona.. http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/Content?oid=26132&category=34029
Gerald and his family are hoping to move into the San Sebastian area in Spain and where over for a kind of scouting trip. They are very excited about working with Christian surfers. We got to have coffee with them in St Jean de Luz along with one of the leadership from their church in Phoenix. Our trip was also to help connect the various missionaries with each other and build more of a network. It was incredibly encouraging to hear that this was indeed already happening!! We also met with a new Australian missionary family who have moved into the Biarritz area – the Parenty . It was great seeing their excitement at meeting others called to the same area and mission field.
We then went on to Northern Spain to a town called Gijon (pronounced “hee hon”) where we met up with Huicif and his wife Tanja and their family. They are part of a house church there. Another Australian missionary family have settled there – the Millers – who are also part of the church there and are very excited about working with Christian Surfers to reach the surfing community there. Huicif is a very respected surfboard shaper in the region as he has been doing it for 20 odd years http://www.hrsurfboards.com/
The girls got to stay with the German family who pastor the church there. They have an awesome flat on the 12 floor of an apartment building with incredible views. We hung out and prayed together and just generally made new friends!
Dan and Phil managed to sneak a couple of surfs near La Barre, and saw some mega waves at Hossegor La Nord.
The next day we left to go back to Bayonne. On the way back we went to have lunch with Joseba (or Jo if you don’t speak Basque). He used to live in Plymouth.He has decided to return to his family home in a little Basque village called Eloria after growing up in the UK. He is fluent in Basque & Spanish. The village is about 45 min from Mundaka (really good surf spot). It is inland in the mountains and was absolutely amazing. There are 7000 people in the village but they have the most incredible basilica (Sort of small Cathedral) – see photo’s. The first time Jo strapped a surfboard to the roof of his car, the local old men gathered around and wanted to know what it was. They had never seen a surfboard. He has managed to get some of his friends to take up surfing and is now organising surf trips for the locals. We also got to eat a traditional Basque meal – 3 courses with wine and coffee for only 10 euros (about £7.50) amazing!!!
That whole day we had been driving around in snow. Spain had had one of their biggest dumps of snow and it was all over the news. By the time we got back to Bayonne we discovered that it had reached there too, with locals saying that they had never seen so much snow in the area. There was even snow on San Sebastian beach. It was also -6 degrees Celsius at the coast!!! We had our last supper with a local church leader Pastor Bernard and Evangeline, who have 9 kids!!! Oh my word!!!
So we came to the end of the trip and due to the huge dump of snow, we decided to stop in at one of the ski resorts on our way back to Toulouse airport. So on Friday we left Bayonne bright and early, watching steam rise off the river and everywhere covered in snow!! It was absolutely incredible watching the sunrise over the snow covered fields of France. We stopped in Carteret in the Pyrenees (just outside Lourdes) and got in a day of snowboarding. Cirsty hired Ski's, whilst Dan, Phil and Liselle took to the slopes on snowboards. Dave meanwhile played trains on the cable cars. The day was incredible with blue skies, fresh snow and no wind! A perfect way to end off an intense but amazing week. We then boarded our flight and headed back for Bristol.
That ended 5 days of great fellowship, 1100 miles of driving, 2 surf sessions, 1 days snowboarding, and most importantly of all fellowship, and linking the key Christians with a passion to reach surfers in the area. A huge thanks for the hospitality of our hosts.
We certainly plan to visit again, so if you wish to be part of it, keep checking the events section