Dom Joly: Formidable! Drunk surfing can claim a certain je ne sais quoi

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The Independent Online

It was back to the beach for me this week. As my extended French exile (sorry, holiday) rolled on inexorably, I was forced to find things to take up my time. Having seen a sign for surfing lessons on the only road that winds its way down towards Cap Ferret, I decided to go for it and gave the number a call, with mixed results.

"Allo Oui?"

"Ah, you do surfing lessons?"


"Uuhmm...Je voudrais apprendre a...surfer..."

"Vous etes Anglais?"


"I speek Engleesh, dood. I spent two years in Newquay...Cornwall is gnarly..."

" it? the surfing lessons?"

" problem dood...'ow much surfing have you done already?"

"uhhhmmm, nearly none.."

"'Ow much?"


"None? Zero? Nada? Holy shoot... 'ow old are you my friend?"

"Uuhhmmm forty...ish..."

"FORTY???? Holy shoot grand-pere – eez a bit late to start wiz ze surfing now."

"Yes, you're probably right...sorry for troubling you..."

"Wait, wait mon ami. I am only pulling your does not matter what age you are, you can surf at any can swim I take it?"

"Yes, yes, I'm a very good swimmer – I still hold the record for my school 25-metre freestyle as it happens..."

"I'm sorry my are forty years old but you are still at school?"

"No...I still hold the record from when I was at school..."

"OK...formidable...I presume that you do not have a board?"


"A wetsuit?"


Swimming pants...don't worry I am pulling your foot again....unless you are nudiste?"

"No...definitely not a nudist..."

"I am a nudiste..."

" you teach non-nudists?"

"HA HA, you English are so easy to mess with – I am not nudiste, except with my woman..."

" how do we do this, where do the lessons happen and how long, how much etc?"

"OK, so we do two lesson out of ze water – we can do zem on the beach or in my garden, whatever you prefer?"

"I think the beach sounds good."

"OK so we do ze beach – you can run around with your board – ze women go crazy for zees..."

" wife will be thrilled..."

"I would like to meet your wife, will she be coming for a lesson?"

"No....most definitely not..."

"I can do two lessons for the price of one, it is good value..."

"She...she doesn't have any legs..."

"Merde...holy shoot...maybe not zen...just you I think..."

"Yes...probably for the best. Now when do I actually get on the water? I'm here for two more weeks, will I be able to be surfing by then?"

"Yes, mon ami – you will be like Hawaii Cinq Zero. I am ze best teacher in all of France."

"So I will be surfing, of a kind, after the first two beach lessons?"

" will be falling off your board a lot for a while but once you catch your first Atlantic roller, you will be like an orgasm."

"Right...well that sounds really great..."

"You bet your life my friend, the ocean ees like a woman, a big sexy, wet woman and you are the master of her when you are on ze board..."

"Great...where are you based...where shall we meet?"

"I am not based anywhere – the beach ees my office and the sea is my secretary, who I am making love to on a regular basis..."

"Brilliant...where shall we meet then?"

"When do you wish to commence operations?"


"NOW!!! I love your enthusiasm mon ami. OK, meet me in ze bar on ze corner of ze Avenue de Semaphore...eet ees called Le Grand Cornichon..."

"Sure...what time will you be there?"

"I do not understand you mon ami...what time?"

"What time will you be at the bar...Le Grand Cornichon?"

"I am here right now...I have been drinking here since nine o'clock ziz morning. I am lamenting the departure of a woman from my life..."

"Oh...right...well, maybe today isn't the best time to start this sort of thing, then? I mean, we can't surf drunk can we? Even dry surfing on a beach..."

"What are you talking about? I have never surfed sober in my whole life? Are you fucking with me?"

", not at all...definitely not...fucking with you...only I would feel safer doing this sort of thing not under the influence of alcohol."

"Are you serious? Are you a lover of men?"

"What? No...what does that matter? I don't want to surf drunk, or be taught by someone who is drunk."

"Zen you have come to the wrong person my friend..."

"Yes...I think I have...goodbye..."

Back to the boogie board for me for the moment.