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PORT ST PARDON ON THE DORDOGNE RIVER
The most popular destination for surfers in search of a ride on the mascaret is the small rural port of St Pardon, a small extension running north of Vayres. In fact, the Port is also popular with spectators, and several hundred gather to watch the largest coefficients of the tide. The river runs straight for a couple of kilometres in both directions from the harbour front.
The Cafe du Port, or locally Chez Ani, is a small restaurant that dominates the harbour front. This makes an ideal location for the surfers to gather for drinks after the evening mascaret. The food and hospitality is excellent and set meals ranging from 80 to 140 francs can be purchased at lunch time and in the evenings.
The river is around four hundred metres in width, with numerous take off spots for catching the wave. Almost unique to St Pardon, especially in quantity, are the number of following waves that can also be surfed for long distances. These waves can give a refreshing break from the congestion that builds up on the head wave around peak season. The skill of surfing the mascaret includes the ability to read the correct time to drop back onto a trailing wave, and it is using this method that the longest distances have been surfed.
The current distance record for Mascaret surfing on a continuous set of waves is 5.5km (over 20 mins), by local surfer Pascal, in Sept 2002.
Mascaret Image, Courtesy Isabelle Godicheau Mascaret Image, Courtesy Farbice Colas Mascaret Image, Courtesy Bruno Boue Mascaret Image, Courtesy Tom Wright Mascaret Image, Courtesy Bruno Boue