Photos by Matt Snelling
Hometown: Biarritz, France
Surfer and artist Margaux Arramon-tucco has got this whole living thing dialled. Born in the idyllic coastal town of Biarritz in south-western France, it wasn’t long before she followed her dad into the frosty Atlantic waters and kick-started a lifetime of surfing logs with effortless style. Inspired by the artists, surfers and musicians who would pass through town—plus a tight-knit community of like-minded creatives—Margaux also began dabbling in art, filmmaking and photography. So, what’s in the water down in Biarritz that’s pumping out all these free-spirited, stylish cats? We caught up with Margaux to find out.
How did you get into surfing?
I first got into surfing at the age of 10. I grew up in a house on top of the most epic logging beach break of Europe, La Côte des Basques, and my dad brought me down one evening for a try. I remember this day very well; it was the beginning of an ever-lasting passion.
You’ve got great style on the board. Were there any films or surfers that influenced you growing up?
Thank you! Growing up in Biarritz we always had Clovis Donizetti and Robin Falxa as the two most classic surfers of our spot. We would sit on the wall and watch them surf, and I really got inspired to ride logs first because of that. Also, my friend Ricardo Desonis, whose from Brazil and living in Biarritz, and one of the first guys to shape classic single fin longboards and surf them under the name of Carioca (only the real locals will know). He made me my first log and I think it’s one of the last boards he ever shaped before quitting surfing and shaping to go live his dream with music. The guy was a legend to me. Me and two of my friends, Amaya Gomis and Pandora Decoster, were really into this kind of style. A few older female figures would show up from time to time as well, like Helen Chabeau and Claire Karabatsos. There were a lot of legends down at the beach during this time, and though a lot of them left, they’ll always be remembered. Later came the international inspiration with all the household names, plus I’m still looking at old footage from the 70s and 80s, and looking at my girls from all over the world who inspire me loads.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the new short film you’ve been working on?
Royal Motel Room is a short film shot on Super 8; we tried to make something more cinematic because that’s what I’m really into at the moment: trying to democratize surf videos by giving a more photographic image to it. Matt Snelling is the filmer I brought with me to Australia and he shot only on 8mm and 16mm. He brought two cameras: one waterproof and another one for out of the water. I had no idea of what the images looked like until it was developed, I imagined what the final product would be because we spoke a lot of what we wanted to express visually, but the surprise was a good part of the process, and I loved this experience. The film centres around the theme of a motel room—the one motel room you always end up booking when on the road during a surf trip. A big part of the music was made by friends, we really wanted to keep it as homemade and authentic as possible, with no post edit on the imagery.
There’s such a rad creative surf scene down in the south-west of France. What do you think it is about this area in particular that produces so many multi-talented creatives?
It’s true, a lot of my friends have made their way into music, photography or cinema. I think there is something here… life is good, you know? The cultural history of this city inspires people a lot and the skate and surf scene build creatives, for sure! Also, there is a lot of art culture and history here; Picasso lived here for a while, and a lot of musicians and legends like Miki Dora made their way here at some point. There might be a mystical spirit that makes people super creative and productive here.
Aside from surfing, you’re also a really talented photographer. Was there a particular photo or photographer that made an impression and inspired you to pick up the camera?
I picked up a camera when I started travelling, but the artistic eye I got only a couple years ago. I tried for years to produce art through painting, drawing or manual works, and I found photography very interesting in a way where cuts and textures can appear, especially in film. I have many projects I am working on at the moment and it really stimulates my brain. Buying cameras, trying them out and working with faces, materials and architectural imagery is super interesting to me.
Where’s one of your favourite places to travel and why?
Out of all the countries I have visited in the world, there are two very distinct places: Japan and Morocco are the ones that inspire me the most. Aside from that, I love the south of Europe and its 80s vibe; it’s so cool they kept it in its juice culturally.
Where’s three places you’d take us if we were visiting your hometown?
So many cool places here! We are super-close to Spain. I love the Chillida sculpture gardens, the mountain meets the ocean on the road and there are some cool hikes to do. Guéthary is a little village down the coast where you can eat super-well, and there are many spots like Providence or the harbour to eat fish in Biarritz. Man… it’s amazing here!
View this post on Instagram
Did you learn anything new during isolation?
Yes! Isolation went really good because I’m very privileged to be living near the ocean. Our area wasn’t overly affected, so it went pretty easily; no surf for two and a half months was a good experience because I was super-productive on other stuff. The waves were perfect every day, but it was beautiful to watch. I think I learnt to realign with my objectives in life, and what I wanted to do and why. I could have been isolated two more months for that reason. My body felt good and my head rested.
What have you been reading, watching or listening to at the moment?
I have been reading a lot of Virginie Despentes, she’s a feminist with a lot of history. I love the way she writes, it’s pure and raw and sincere. I am really into older French cinematography from the nouvelle vague in the 70s. Super-cool imagery with empty conversations, but super-realistic actually. And music is a constant search for me, I listen to everything every day, I am constantly searching for new music.
Croissant or pain aux raisin?
Pain aux raisin. So good.
What does the rest of 2020 have in store for you?
2020 has been a productive year for me, I have gotten my head straight into my projects and focused on making things. There is a lot to come in many different subjects from me.