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"A LA RAME" with Vincent Duvignac

6 January 2021

“A LA RAME” ("Paddling In") is spine shivering 10-minute documentary from Vincent Duvignac, shot 24 hours before the second lockdown in France.

Thursday, October 29, 2020, a huge swell caused by Hurricane Epsilon is expected to land on the Atlantic coast. The depression is intensifying to 945 millibars and promises to be gigantic - a classic mid-Winter swell.

The news quickly spreads across the closed community of South West big-wave surfers. Belharra, the well known big wave spot that rarely breaks off the coast of Urrugne (Pyrénées-Atlantiques), is on the verge of waking up. The rumors are confirmed and everyone, including Rip Curl Europe Team Rider Vincent Duvignac, begins gearing up.

Some prepare to confront this mountain by getting towed in by a jet ski; others, either more experienced or more daring, want to attempt to take on this giant wave by paddling in….

Vincent's main goal for this swell was to paddle into one of Belharra's bombs, while documenting the full experience. Rip Curl chose to share this attempt with him, deciding to follow him for 24 hrs, unobtrusively and while using an onboard camera.

You can feel every emotion Vincent experiences along the way from fear to excitement. Vincent Duvignac shares a mixture of strong emotions with us that will take the viewer on a roller-coaster journey throughout this short but intense documentary; an experience that will certainly remain forever etched in his heart.

“Lots of questions were unanswered about my physical and mental preparation at this point in the season, about the equipment and the safety leash. And this 13-foot board that I’ve been looking at for 6 years in Rob’s workshop, is it surfable? With chop like this, I’m not sure. Is it possible to paddle in to Belharra? Yes, but the unique challenge lies in the positioning, meaning you're guaranteed to get a massive wave down on you... Huge respect for chargers, but heading off paddling in without knowing which trajectory to take and simply enduring the speed, is not at all what I’m looking for in achieving a ride. I came without pretension, and even getting towed into a wave, I wasn’t keen. Seven years after my first tow-in wave on this spot, I’ve finally stopped being obsessed by this paddle-in challenge out at sea, but I’m driven to constantly improve my paddle-in technique to get the best possible trajectory in waves. That’s what I’m really obsessed with!” says Vincent Duvignac.

The final shots of the film portray outstanding images of Vincent surfing massive Belharra - the power and perfection of these hollow waves are ranked among the best sandbanks in the world.

 

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