Some years already passed since Marco Mombelli introduced me to Vincent Duvignac. The name recalls the one of some novelist, like Dumas or Pennac … I often meet him on the beaches of the French Landes, and every time he he enters in the water I can appreciate the way he expresses his style, clean and unique. Writers use the pen to create their masterpieces, Vincent writes them with his own board.

Photos and interview by Paolo Poldo Testa

Follow Vincent on Facebook.

Can you tell us something about your beaches and about your home?
Surfing around Mimizan, my home town, is rude. Sand bars are moving everydays with strong currents, and the only option to find some “easy” waves (especialy when it’s over 5feet) is to move down to Capbreton, 1h15 drive. But in the same time there is not a lot of people surfing the North Landes, and we have lots of space to find and discover some sand bars. I get my best waves and best barrels near home, and Hossegor looks easier to surf, first beacause it breaks near the shore compare to my place, without rips!

What is so special or particular in the Landes’ waves?
The big difference is about the area: Hossegor/ Capbreton coast line is tight and the good sessions appear with hight tide, breaking close to the shore. Up to the north, from seignosse to my place it’s a 70km of same beach, and miraculous waves showing some shallow barrels at low tide only, with most of the time strong currents who totally suck the front side of the wave. Landes is all about barrels, and it’s way harder for turns.

You surfed some years without sponsor before moving to Reef and then also Rip Curl, you’ll be glad I imagine? A nice team!
After be sponsored by Quiksilver for 8 years, and Rusty for 2 years, times went really difficul to purchase my dreams. I had to sell lots of stuff and reorganize my schedule to continue to live the dream. I’ve been back to school to get the french licence to teach surfing, and hopefully I could find Reef. I get a bit more exposure, meet some nice guys and also I continue to mix freesurfing and competitions. Now it’s a new start with RipCurl, it’s a long term contract with a really good team in and out the office. I’m super happy and have more motivation and surf better now, even if I’ll be already 30 next year!

Which was your biggest challenge?
Probably be able now to surf big barrels around Hossegor and home. It was a dream for me as a child, and I was super afraid by the waves taller than me!

In competitions you’re always motivated in free surf you are surely at your ease! Competitions or trips?

I love to compete. Only when I win 😉 I love all the preparation before a competition, the goal to make my best, and to have everything ready. It’s good for your spirit to be 100% focus sometimes… I wanted to do more in the WQS, don’t know yet if I’ll compete next year in a pro event. I think you need to be ready, dont want to waist my time as I probably did. But I’m happy to say to my son that i’ve got 3 national titles and 2 Eurosurf titles under my belt now.
Trips and freesurfing are the most exciting, it make me remember why I start surfing. Emotions are the same after 22 years! Anyways I still train to improve my surfing and be ready for anything from 1 to 20 feet, thanks to stretching, physical training and some works in the swimming pool.

Be and do the best for my son, he's 3 1/2 yo now. Be ready for a tomorow mission.

Vincent Duvignac

What did you imagine as a child? I’ll be a fireman, an explorer, a pilot, or you already dreamed of riding the waves?
I wanted to be a fireman, exactly! I was a junior fireman with 2 good friends. But I was drawing waves on my books and drawing lines on my skateboard from 8 yo. I was looking to the impresive surf magazine collection of my dad and dreaming about that waves. I could keep a page opened for a day…

Immediate or future projects?
Be and do the best for my son, he’s 3 1/2 yo now. Be ready for a tomorow mission. I’m watching closely Mediteranean sea at the moment, and also not famous places in our beautiful France.

Who will win 2016 WCT?
I was thinking Medina. But super happy that JJF get it, for the love of surfing!