David Latastere

DAVOS (David Latastère)

 

Interview :


My name is David Latastère, my nickname is Davos, I’m 35 years old, I’ve been surfing for 25 years and I’ve been doing SUP for 6 years.
I live at Messanges in the Landes area of south west France and I work at ADAPEI (Association Departementale des Amis et Parents de Personnes Handicapees Mentales) as a night nurse at their centre in St Paul les Dax. I’m also nearly qualified as an auxiliary nurse and sometimes find myself on call to help individuals or families who need support looking after a family member or loved one. I enjoy personal contact and my line of work allows me to have highly enriching relationships with the people I help. I’m also the organiser of a 100% SUP school in Messanges called SUPLAND, giving introductory courses on the beautiful lake Soustons cote Azur, a protected nature reserve, plus other intermediate and perfectioning classes in the waves on the beach at Messanges.

 
How did you get started in SUP ?
 
Actually I got into SUP almost by accident. It was at the Waiteuteu surf club in Messanges where they had one board available, a monster 12 footer, really heavy and difficult to manœuvre.

Despite the initial difficulty of getting onto a rail on that beast, and finding a good, balanced upright stance, I was pretty much instantly converted by the new sport. You get a totally different perspective, and I was determined to master the thing as fast as possible. You can see the potential really quickly. To beging with you don’t really understand what to do with your paddle, but you soon learn that you paddle is actually the key pressure and pivot point, enabling you to turn the biggest volume boards in an amazingly responsive way.

 
How do you structure your sessions ?
 

I usually decide all that in advance, after looking at the likely weather and water conditions : I’m lucky to have a job that allows me to go surfing a lot, but it’s a kind of double life. Working nights is exhausting and disorienting physically, leading to occasional huge energy loss that you really notice when you’re out on the water. I’m actually in the middle of re-training, I’d really like to have finished with night work in the next couple of years.

 
 
Which are your favourite spots in the Landes, and why ?
 
There’s an amazing number of spots, Messanges, Vieux Boucau, Soustons, les Casernes, the Nord Hossegor, les Culs Nus, les Bourdaine, les Estagnots, la Piste, VVF, Labenne. Boucau all the way to the Basque border, some hot sessions to be had down there. But it’s exactly those spots that everyone knows where there can sometimes be a bit of tension…

 
And that’s why most of my favourite spots in the Landes are the ones that nobody knows : the famous « secret spots »… In fact, the Landes is basically hundreds of kilometers of sandbanks, often perfect for a good incoming swell. Each individual bank is unique and can serve you up a wave that is as perfect as it is transitory. You have to understand  the tides and the direction of the incoming swell, always juggling with the elements, having a good feeling for them, having a good sense of timing, then you can work out the best spots to surf. So we usually end up in a small group of friends on some totally remote spot enjoying the most incredible sessions. That’s the true magic of the region, and the magic of mobile phone networks too ! 
 
   
How would you describe the type of waves  you find there ?
 
The waves down in the Landes are usually really powerful, big tubes, very fast, that’s why you can’t rely on late take-offs like you can on a surf board : SUP late take-off  can be very unforgiving, specially somewhere hardcore like La Nord , La Graviere or La Piste. Before you try any of those spots you need a really good level, an excellent understanding of the accelerations, and how to get on and stay on your rail so you don’t lose your line on the curl.

 
What’s the atmosphere like among riders ?
It can be very variable depending on the spot you decide to ride, and most of all, the number of surfers already out on the water. Obviously, in high summer it can be really difficult to find an empty spot, but with an SUP you can easily move away from the crowds to another, emptier spot, and you’ve got a better view of it all too.

 
What is it you like about this area that you don’t find elsewhere ?
 
What’s special around here is that if you make the effort to track them down, you can find waves of a rare perfection.
The Landes is crammed with exceptional spots, where you can go and explore amazing lakes and rivers on your SUP, places rich in bio-diversity of every shape and form. But bear in mind that many of these places are classed as nature reserves and you can easily find yourself copping a spot fine from the local park wardens. That’s why it’s always a good idea to go and get guidance about where you can and can’t from the local tourist information office. They even give you free maps so you can plan your trips and sessions properly.

 
How do you see the growth in numbers of SUPers in the area ?
 

SUP has really taken off around here, for two very good reasons :
 
Firstly, SUP is a discipline that anyone can learn, where you very quickly start to get some great sensations and excitement even on flat water, and for which you don’t have to be an Olympian athlete, but you will notice your physical and mental well-being improving. Doing sport for fun without seeing it as sport, whilst improving your health and fitness is a fantsatic thing. Unarguably, a couple of hours SUP every day will very quickly transform your body. I heard something recently, saying that apparently 70% of SUPers of all skill levels are women ! True or false ? We’ll see.   
   

Secondly, SUP is a great complement sport for anyone into surfing, as increasing numbers of surfers and bodyboarders have discovered. Personally, I’m surfing less and less, and when I do occasionally have a go now, I keep looking for my paddle. Also, curiously (and it seems I’m far from alone in thinking this), doing SUP helps improve your surf style, better control on the rails, and much stronger foot pressure and grip when you get back on the small boards. Ultimately, I would say getting into SUP is sure to help with your other board sports.  

 
What advice for people wanting to have a happy SUP experience here ?
 
The best thing to be sure of  good SUP day out is to avoid the overcrowded spots where all the locals hang out. You should avoid going where you’re not welcome, stick to the quieter spots, especially when you’re a beginner. Keep a good distance from other riders. Try not to turn up in a big group at one spot, especially if there are already other SUP-ers out. Cohabitation between surfers and SUP-ers can be tricky at the best of times at some spots, but as a general rule, if you arrive at a spot where people are already riding, say hello and check out the situation in a fiendly way, talking and being reasonable are often key to being accepted on any spot. Tell them you’re a personal friend of Davos and you’re sure to be welcomed for a stonking session !

 

Spots :
 
South of the Landes : from Boucau to Contis

Balades :


Hossegor lake
Port d’albret (vieux boucau) marin lake
lake of Soustons
Marais of Orx at Labenne
Léon lake
Azur lake

 

Interview : SUP MAG

 

Titles :

Champion of Landes and d’Aquitaine in SUP Open in 2012