The Persistence of Hope

Micah Lester, Nelson Cloarec and Adrian Fernandez de Valderrama in Scotland

“Every surf trip is about hope. Hoping to score and hoping to have some good times. Some trips make you hope for better days more than others…” Team O'Neill surfer Micah Lester

The higher the latitude you venture in Europe the more wild and unpredictable the weather. If the surf is hard to predict the weather equally so. Sure in France, Spain and Portugal you get good storms. But it’s a variation on a theme of hot, warm, nice, maybe some rain. Unless you’re in the mountains. The higher latitudes are way more schizophrenic. Snow. Hail. Gales. Wearing all the clothes your brought with you weather. Hail the size of peas. Hail that ricochets off metalwork like stray bullets. Hail that feels like it’s trying to bury itself in your skull. Thankfully winter wetsuits with hoods are the ideal anti-hail wear. As are big winter coats with fur lined hoods.

Frenchman Nelson Cloarec, Australia’s Micah Lester and Basque chap Adrian Fernandez de Valderrama from team O’Neill spent ten hopeful days somewhere in the colder reaches of Northern Europe hunting for perfection. This is their story.

All credit to the guys, if there was a surfable wave, even in the middle of a fierce gale with showers of snow and/or hail they were out there. Micah is an old hand at this, he’s been travelling the world in search of surf for over a decade from the tropics to the Arctic Circle. He knows how it goes. You enjoy the good times. You do your best through the bad times. You surf when there’s a wave and the younger crew were loving it too.

Having endured nine days of trying and failing and being pushed and taunted by the weather at every turn the trip seemed doomed to fail. Hope had all but gone. But on our last full day we had a glimmer. A slim chance of good conditions.

It was looking sketchy but Nelson was mad for it. He got straight in. Five flawless barrels later any call of, ‘We should wait for the tide to push up and cover the rocks a bit,’ was forgotten and Adrian and Micah were in a blur of wetsuits, fins and wax.

Directed by Roger Sharp
Tim Nunn International Film Features
Team O'Neill surfers Micah Lester, Nelson Cloarec and Adrian Fernandez de Valderrama

Film and Photos by Tim Nunn & Sharpy
Words by Sharpy

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