A career, a house, a wife, and kids are good reasons to stay put. But when you have nothing to lose, a siren is that much more seductive. “When you are 25 years old with no wife or children, the decision to leave and go search for perfect waves in exotic locations is an easy one,” says Todd Lee who, in a previous life, was a native of Coolangatta, Australia. “In fact, it was the best decision I have ever made.”
Twenty years ago, Todd booked tickets, said goodbye to friends and family, and fell in love with one beauty after another: Honolua Bay, Sunset Beach, Puerto Escondido, Jeffreys Bay. Each spot was a siren in their own right, but he was truly seduced when he reached the indulgent land of baguettes, brie, and barrels: Hossegor, France.
“When I arrived in ’88 it was just at the end of the summer vacation period,” says Todd. “During that year, the months of September, October, and November were all time. It was a new world. Everything was new. But it was never a conscious decision to move and stay in Hossegor. I was on a world surfing pilgrimage and, honestly, there are many places I visited where I could have settled, but Hossegor had it all. The waves are phenomenal when all the conditions are assembled, the social life is nothing short of amazing, and the cultural diversity living in Europe was a total change from Australia.”
After 22 years, Todd did end up with a wife, kids, and all the responsibilities that keep you from looking for your siren. Lucky for him, he already found his. —Todd Prodanovich