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They arrive in the dark night on a beach in Brittany, in the west of France, for an unprecedented session of night surfing. The place is deserted and the perfect time to attack the waves with powerful headlamps despite difficult conditions.
On the beach of Plévenon in Cape Fréhel, it is 23:00 on this February night when the arrival of a group of seven men piques the curiosity of some anglers, usually alone to occupy the place.
The temperatures are cool and the group, gathered at the foot of a van, listens to the latest instructions. Yann Le Her, board shaper, Alan, Yohann, Robin and Damien, put on hood, jumpsuit and slippers in synthetic rubber. And especially a helmet on which is fixed their waterproof liquid-cooled headlamp.
Called “blackswansurfing”, this LED technology illuminates the water over a large area with a power of 7,000 lumens, the intensity equivalent to that of two full-size flagship luxury sedans, according to its designers.
Powered by a battery the size of a small suitcase, worn on the back, the lamp offers an hour and a half of autonomy at full speed.
François Guillou and Sébastien Étienne, the two Breton designers, explain how to operate the lamp and trigger the SOS at sea, in case of emergency. And surfers rush into the Channel.
An amazing chiaroscuro performance is played in the rough sea of the Emerald Coast. The surfers roll down the reels, enter the tubes, revealing the waves everywhere in the light of the lamps.
For François Guillou “it was about discovering new horizons of surfing practices after dark”. “Surfer at night can get out of the crowd, come at times when there are fewer people on the waves,” said this entrepreneur.
Discipline also imposes a different practice. “Night surfing is not surfing like daylight. At the level of anticipation, it does not replace the sun. You can not see the waves, it’s about being much more intuitive and listening to your senses. “
And especially “do not exceed physical limits, and do not put yourself in danger”. “But once you’re stalled, the hard part is done,” he adds.
Around 1:30 in the morning, the session ended, the surfers were filled with sensations. All evoke a “feeling of exacerbated speed” and a “great excitement”.