If you don’t know what it is…. You should!
With humble origins starting from a popular meet-up for surfers, skaters and motorcyclists has now encompassed modern cultural movement. Located in Biarritz -France, The Wheels and Waves-Festival (W&W) has made a firm and distinctive mark on the biker world. Nestled amounts glorious architecture and incomparable waves you can hear the rumble of custom motorcycles echoing through the spectacular town. This is definitely a unique event worth attending and will undoubtedly be on our calendar for next year!
2017 saw the sixth year of the W&W Festival, encompassing about 20,000 guests and travelers from all over the world for this surf/moto frenzy! The quiet and scenic town of Biarritz gets speckled with campers and visitors eager to snatch up whatever B&B, hotel or crash-pad they can!
You are not in France, you are not in Spain; welcome to Basque Country.’ Sprawled across a huge banner hung outside the ArtRide exhibition.
Oh the bikes…
What was there? You name it… cafe racers of every shape and engine size, scramblers, trackers vintage builds, retro nostalgia, even the “what the hell were we doing builds” to the “we knew exactly what we’re doing builds”!
We had a number of friends who rolled down from London following from the Bike Shed Event in London in early June. It’s not surprising to see some of the ‘shed bikes’ make a re-appearance at Wheels and Waves. What fascinates us about this even possibly more than other’s is that it is allegedly a “no OEM industry hard sell” …. Instead… organic, cultured and includes races, rides and special exhibits.
“Our event is about motion,” is the mission statement of Southsiders MC founder Vincent Prat, chief of the triumvirate (with Jérôme Allé and Julien Azé) who organize this legendary festival.
Did we mention they also have an indoor cinema showing unique and custom selected flicks? Also… a big stage, with vibrant music from new age / upcoming bands provides an enthralling experience to all who attend no matter what’s your flavor. Don’t be surprised to see OG celebs such as the Legendary skater Steve Caballero shredding the half pipe (casually).
Wednesday… aka the ‘El Rollo’ is the infamous flat track race at San Sebastián’s Hipódromo. The attendees were blown away by the sheer size and scale of the competition compared to last year.
With an ominous mix of serious competitors and wannabe speed daemon, each race was small enough that it wasn’t cheer chaos. The machines varied from Triumphs to BSA’s, to even American v-twins.
“All this is awesome, but I want more?!”… well… you got it!
Thursday is the official opening day of the ‘village,’ and in the evening another ride to San Sebastián is required for the ArtRide exhibition, held on three floors of an old fish-packing warehouse in Pasaia. It’s a mix of fresh custom and vintage bikes, photography and other art, and film/performance.
The Punks Peak hillclimb (an uphill sprint bent in the middle) has spawned a host of imitators, so the ‘El Chupito’ race spices up the pre-’50 to Powerbike mix of racers. Costumes are required to race your 50cc demon, and this year the theme was ‘Superheroes.’ All sprints should be done in costume! Especially as sprints grow faster and more serious annually.
Saturday is the all-day ride out into the Pyrénées though the mountains all day. With the stunning weather this year, the riders were plentiful and in high spirits. Twisting roads and views that go-on for miles, whizzing past old and historic villages makes this ride a ‘must do’ and will resonate with every visitor to this event. Once you get back to the village don’t be surprised to see some exceptional custom bike builds scattered around the field… no extra hype … just beautiful bikes.
W&W – A festival that celebrates expression, fun and a culture that has developed around this way of life, inspired by motorcycling.