Les Palmes & Le Couteau


Interview with Yann and Joël Badina

Joël Badina, 29, Lifeguard living in Anglet, France

Yann Badina, 24, Anglet France

What is your bodysurfing history?

Joël: Started bodysurfing since I was a kid on Anglet beaches during Summer, going straight in the foamies and having a lot of fun. Things started to get serious at the end of high school when I bought my first pair of fins. Since this day I got more and more addicted to this wonderful feeling and never stop then.
I learned on my own, slowly but surely. As the connection with the ocean got stronger, I would chase bigger and better waves to keep the stoke alive. I also decided to enter bodysurfing contests to meet other people that share this passion. My homebreak is Anglet, Basque Country, France. Very nice sandbars, one of the best place for bodysurfing in my country.

Yann: I began with a bodyboard at age 10 or 11 I think, but I was not really good. Some years later, I was about 14, my brother Joel showed me the way, I was more able to take waves and have fun without a board, that’s why I never stop it. Then he offered me my first real pair of fins, it was started ! I principally surf in Anglet where we live, and also in Bidart, a little village few kilometers away, where it a bit less crowded in the water.

Who had the idea for the film? What were the main locations for shooting the film? Is there anything that was particularly special about the locations?

Joël: The idea of the movie came from Rémi Blanc and myself.
Rémi lifeguards with me in Anglet and is also a graphic designer. Winter was coming and we knew we would have a lot of free time. We really wanted to do something about our own vision of bodysurfing: simplicity, commitment and flow in any kind of conditions. So we decided to record every sessions with waves of consequences during the 3 monthes of winter. Antoine Justes, surf photographer and filmmaker, joined Rémi to help on the project. On my side I talked to my brother Yann to get him into it, and also Lucas Espil and Jean Lemonnier, the two young guns of the movie. We are all part of a lifesaving and bodysurfing association named “Les Guides Bains Angloys” which became the main sponsor of the thing.
The title “Les Palmes et le Couteau” is a little joke that makes reference to a famous french slang expression “la bite et le couteau which litteraly means” the dick and the knife”. People use those words when you try to do something hard without any help or weapon in your arms like if you want to climb Mount Everest in boardshort and slippahs…and well we thought it was pretty representative of what we do bodysurfing through European winter: cold water, big surf and only neoprene and fins to deal with it!

Where are your favorite bodysurfing waves?

Joël: Anyway good waves are everywhere, even in France if you didn’t know already.. The bodysurf here began quite long ago as I can hear old people telling stories of swimming in the waves and going straight with the foam.
Contests are on since early 90’s and each year the winner of the championship gets a ticket to Hawaii… That’s why North Shore has seen many of the best French riders like Laurent Masurel, David Dubes, Christophe Clemente, Matias Hegoas, Fred David and more. It’s been a few years now that the community is growing faster thanks to social medias. The spreading of news, pictures and videos makes lots of youth and less youngs get more involved into the sport, coming from different backgrounds as surfing, lifesaving or pool swimming. More than that, it is now crossing the borders. I just came back from a contest in Morrocco where the locals are crazy about bodysurfing, all along with the Portuguese community; those guys are overmotivated!! And this year Spain runs its very first national bodysurfing championship.

Yann: There is a lot of waves really nice for bodysurfing. Recently we go to California and caught some waves and the Wedge. This wave is brutal, but really fun to ride, especially when you start with the side wave, then you arrive in a big and wide barrel. And the Wedge crew is full of nice guys, thanks to them for welcome us as they do ! Pipeline can be perfect to bodysurf, but it’s overcrowded and it’s hard to have your wave over there. To finish I will say Nazaré in Portugal, with its big triangles, north Morocco where there is a big potential, right, left, beach break and point break, and of course in France!

What is a new wave you want to bodysurf?

Yann: A new wave I want to try is Point Panic, that looks perfect for bodysurfing, the videos I watch from there just make me mad! I hope to have a chance to paddle out there one day.

What bodysurfers do you or did you look up to?

Yann:  There is not really one guy I follow. A lot inspire and impress me. There are the classics like Stewart and Cunningham of course. More recently there is Kanealii Wilcox, doing crazy things never seen before! I try to watch videos from everywhere in the world to learn more and more every day. By traveling, you meet a lot of guys who are ripping, with different styles, different point of view about bodysurfing, but all passionate by the same thing, that’s what I like the most.

Joël: Several surf trips led me to meet bodysurfers from all around the world. This emulation helped me to grow my knowledge and improve my skills. Hanging on with guys like Mark Cunningham or Kanealii Wilcox don’t let you cold. Wedge Crew, so friendly last summer offering my brother and me plenty waves on a good day. My friend Sean Enoka, greatest ambassador of the sport, spreading the Aloha spirit with KahaNalu Hawaii. I’m so proud to be a part of the crew!! I couldn’t forget these epic times. Yes, sharing is good for you.

Final Thoughts:

Joël: I expect torpedo people to get bigger and I think we did our part of the job showing “Les Palmes et Le Couteau”. I hope Europe is now a point on the bodysurfing map next to Hawaii, California or Brasil.

Special thanks to Antoine Justes for the photographs from the film and to the Badina brothers for taking the time to answer a few questions.

WBC 2016: The People

Papa Joe, the man in the green cap, can be seen swimming the peaks of Oceanside all year long.
Mike Stewart led a deep contingent of Hawaiian bodysurfers at this year’s contest.
Shayne McIntyre is a family man, world traveler and helluva bodysurfer. His positive energy is contagious.
As the contest cranks to life, director/bodysurfer Tim Burnham hollers at competitors in the surf.
Bill “Froggy” Schlidge is a champion for bodysurfing. He loves the sport and works hard to pass down his knowledge and passion to the next generation.
Ernie Ford of Ojai has been trekking down to Oceanside for many years bringing a rack of talented bodysurfers from the South Jetty.
Meredith Rose is a solid bodysurfer with stoke overflowing.
Jeff is always keeping an eye on things. Here he is with fellow charger Chris Kalima looking over the heat sheets.
Tom Hunter is always ready with your cap and the call.
France sent some of it’s best to Oceanside this year. Joël Badina led the way.
Mark Cunningham is always a pleasure to have running about the place. This year he was serenaded by Fred Simpson and Mike Stewart for his birthday song.
Wedge pioneer and Viper Surfing Fins creator, Fred Simpson returns year after year to support bodysurfing ohana.
A young man runs up to his friend to wish him luck before his heat.
Scott Hubbell has been the man behind the curtain for the last 15 years of World Bodysurfing Championships.
Rabbit is a humble and styled wave rider. His creativity on the wave helped him capture his age division title and put him in the running for Grand Champion.
Scotti Schafer (Right) rode several waves to the beach in her age group final. She then ran south on the beach to get back in the water for the next set. This gutsy strategy earned her the age division win in a talented grouping.
Contest director extraordinaire Tim Casinelli.
Hawaiian youth Kanealii Wilcox and Tayzha
Mike and his son Kaimana enjoyed their Oceanside premiere as Mike took down the big win.

The First Mākaha Bodysurfing Classic

The following article was written by Hawaiian Kā’eo Awana. The photographs were captured by local photographer Philip Kitamura. Thanks to Sean Enoka and the boys for their collaboration.


Mākaha beach bared 5-6’ waves (Hawaiian scale), or 10-12ʻ faces on the day of the Mākaha Bodysurfing Classic. The waves broke from the outside point and marched into the backwash infested shorebreak. The expressions on each competitor varied from pale intimidation to ragged anticipation to anywhere in between. During check-ins, two ski’s were launched from the north end of the bay. Jet skis are a typical supplement for Mākaha lifeguards, except these weren’t lifeguard skis. To much of everyone’s excitement, the Hawaiian Water Patrol was present to ensure everyone safety. Furthermore, they would be providing assistance during heats to get competitors zoomed back out the point after catching waves. This was a pivotal moment for bodysurfing in Hawaiʻi. An average Saturday morning at Mākaha has 50+ people at the lineup with every type of surf craft under the sun. Competitors were not only able to bodysurf Mākaha at 6’ with 5 other people, but also with jet-ski assist. How can you put a price tag on this experience? With the sun peaking above the Waiʻanae mountain range, the air was buzzing with excitement.

The best in the business - Hawaiian Water Patrol gearing up for the day
The best in the business – Hawaiian Water Patrol gearing up for the day

Paipo Division- Paipo boards are typically wooden boards that take on various shapes and sizes, and have no leash. The word paipo derives from the traditional name of papa paepoʻo, which loosely translates to “board to catch waves head first.” Traditional papa paepoʻo riding looks more like bodysurfing than bodyboarding.

Final Results:

  1. Duane Desoto
  2. Ben Severson
  3. Matt Solomon
  4. Sean Enoka
  5. Wareen Hoʻohuli
  6. Makani Christiansen


Mens Open Handboard – Handboard divisions required some type of handboard device. Handboard types ranged from daughter’s slippers to Kaha Nalu Bulaboards.

Handboard Final Results:

  1. Mark Cunningham
  2. Kaleo Garlasa
  3. Thoman VanMelum
  4. Kealiʻi Punley
  5. Don King
  6. Greg Hense

Women’s Open Handboard


Women’s Open Handboard Results:

  1. Sonja Du Plessis
  2. Pua Nawi
  3. Nalu Puʻu
  4. Maria Remos
  5. Kyla Lozis
  6. Carla Lewis
  7. Makenzie Arita
  8. Kehau Kim

Tandem Bodysurfing – The tandem division required two partners to be riding a wave at the same time to be judged.

Don King and Mark Cunningham
Don King and Mark Cunningham

Tandem Final Results:

  1. Mark Cunningham & Don King
  2. Duane Desoto & Keanuenue Desoto
  3. Kanealiʻi Wilcox & Kāʻeo Awana
  4. Kanekoa Crabbe &  Kanealiʻi Barrack
  5. Makani Christenson & Hiram Pukahi
  6. Matt Solomon & Sonja Du Plessis
  7. Joel Badina & Kalani Lattanci
  8. Kai Santos & Henrique Postilli

Womens Open

Women’s Final Results:

  1. Jonja Du Plessis
  2. Kim Kehaulani
  3. Carla Lewis
  4. Makenzie Arita
  5. Chelsie Henry
  6. Chris Ann Severson

Mens 50 & over

  1. Mark Cunningham
  2. Don King
  3. Ben Severson
  4. Walter Rodby
  5. Jon Parrish
  6. Chris Gardner
  7. Mike Worper
  8. Pete Rea


Mens 41-49

  1. Greg Hense
  2. Harley Holt
  3. Peter Westbrook
  4. Josh Marvit
  5. Brian Kanealiʻi
  6. Allen Buchanan
  7. Eric Wahilani
  8. Aaron Kim
  9. Pat Bryon

IMG_3079Men’s 31-40 Resutls:

  1. Matt Solomon
  2. Kanekoa Crabbe
  3. Sean Enoka
  4. Kehau Kukawi
  5. Lohiau Cofran
  6. Nick Youngleson


Mens 21-30



  1. Kanealiʻi Wilcox
  2. Joel Badina
  3. Kāʻeo Awana
  4. Kyle Mensching
  5. Malii Laigo
  6. Dylan Smith


Mens 20 & under

Kealiʻi Punley
Kealiʻi Punley

20 and under Restults:

  1. Kealiʻi Punley
  2. Taylor Char
  3. Nao
  4. Pono Garlasa
  5. Josh Abilla

People who do not bodysurf often ask what the prizes are for winning a bodysurfing contest in Hawaiʻi. They expect to hear of lavish prizes, brand sponsorships, and cash that are commonly associated with the surfing industry. Most are shocked to hear that a trophy, fins, and clothing gear are typical bodysurfing contest prizes. To Hawaiʻi bodysurfers, contests serve as platform to gather bodysurfers to share the stoke of waveriding together rather than glory, fame, and riches. At these contests bodysurfers are able to reacquaint themselves with their friends, families, and meet fellow torpedo people from around the world. This is the ultimate prize of the contest; everything else is an added bonus. Contests naturally reveal winners and losers, but that is lost in the aloha that bodysurfers share with each other in Hawaiʻi bodysurfing contests. The first annual Mākaha Bodysurfing Classic was a success and raised the bar for bodysurfing contests.