Feels good to be back – exhausted but sound – at El Solitario Ranch after surviving for another year our best and worst week of the year. As the festival gets bigger so do we and so do the risks and challenges we encounter. Thinking on the way back home about this  chronicle, couldn’t help  but ask myself if it is worth so much effort and stress for what it feels like an altruist path to redeem ourselves.

Although one thing we know for certain is that chasing meaning is better for your health than trying to avoid discomfort. And so I would say that the best way to make decisions, is go after what it is that creates meaning in your life and then trust yourself, buckle up, and handle the stress that will surely follow. 

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Where else in the world could you race with Randy Mamola or skate with Steve Caballero, surf with Tom Curren, eat BBQ drinking whisky with El Solitario and buy the best denim on the planet while listening to Elliot Murphy?
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You become where you are and you ride what you want to be, but in the end is just you and your spelling mistakes

How big shall the counterculture movement become before the always moribund mainstream phagocytes it leaving no trace? At the times of W&W-1, in the midst of the economic meltdown,  the world was full of new ideas and outrageous propositions. The new wave custom scene was born! Shortly after, populist custom houses extended the same model of “bespoke” motorcycle across the globe filling gaps and  wiping the voices of those that dared to speak different. It didn’t take long until the industry learnt to run off with their style, dogmas and clientele. Today it feels like it might be the end of the scene and the motorcycle will continue its self destruction path and I begin to feel it might be better it this way. The outlaw way!

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No matter how many times you come across the Wall of Death it is always striking to watch
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El Solitario Denim Kamikazes in the Village. Because there is more to life than motorcycles and unicorns™

Still, I don’t know the right answers and for us, W&W still is our avant-garde quintessential space in which our rebellion finds its latitude and friendship steers the wheel, and who knows, maybe the motorcycle scene is not worthy of being saved. Anyway for us we still work like lunatics for a better W&W, because it is in our DNA to enjoy it with our friends and why not walk for a while on David’s shoes, with his loaded slingshot, fantasizing of dropping the system to its knees.

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Sancho & probably the most beautiful car in the world – The BMW 328 Coupe KAMM
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The surf contests curated by Robbie Warden

And how do we do this? How do we overcome the drift towards standardization? Gentlemen, the answer is Guerrilla Warfare. Irregular combat in which a small group of combatants use military tactics including ambushes, sabotage, raids, hit-and-run tactics, and mobility to fight a larger and less-mobile traditional military. This is exactly how we tackle Wheels & Waves. A first class ticket in a pirate torpedo aimed at the core of the decision makers & influencers in today’s motorcycle and surfing industry but without getting burnt.

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Stress connects us to our hearts creating resilience!

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“W&W, although most often been billed as a party, it has always been secretly operated as a convention of the most creative people in Motorcycle & Surfing today”. “If you didn’t come to the party before, maybe it is because you weren’t interested or didn’t think you were invited, but the answers to your questions are here, and it doesn’t look like you pictured… but then, the future never does!”. Paul d’Orleans

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Daniel Cregnou: 46 years of surf and board shaping in Biarritz

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The Art Ride consolidated its presence in Casa Ciriza in the town of Pasaia with a more tridimensional line up  as the Surf & Skate got more power adding freshness to compensate the later lack of new concepts or ideas in the motorcycle world.

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World premiere of E.S. Desert Wolves
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The intriguing photography of Aleksei Kalabin AKA Capital Wheels was rad and fresh

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In the racing department El Rollo was as good as last year or even better proving that dirt track is one of the coolest things you can do on a motorcycle and Punk’s Peak was a success although starts lacking coolness due to an increased professionalization/uglification  of the participants and their weapons of choice victims of a loony power escalation. Among the news this year, was that El Solitarios 50cc racers from La Copita ruled on asphalt & dust, showing the rest of the world that you do not need hundreds of horses to have the most fun.

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La Copita at El Rollo Flat Track Race
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La Copita at Punk’s Peak
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You meet the nicest creatures at La Copita

And to put a golden end to the event, on Saturday evening we organized an incredible barbacoa party, in which El Solitario unveiled its wisest endeavour so far. A secret project that has accompanied our family for years and after endless tastings cosy dinners and unfulfilled dreams, finally saw the light this early Summer night. El Solitario’s Barbacoa Sauce!@# We cooked, we ate, drank whisky and danced till very late into the night until the security kicked us out, but that’s another story…

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Wold’s Most Expensive Barbacoa Sauce
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How to make stress your friend

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This is just a mere introduction. Stay tuned for a detailed description and succinct photo essay of each and every event around Wheels & Waves in  this corner of the the blogosphere!

El Solitario wants to special thank The Southsiders, Dewar’s, Harley-Davidson, The Dyneema Project, SHOEI, Alberto Garcia-Alix, Classic Co. La Copita Family, our very own Wolf Pack, Dunlop, Sancho y Angela, Juanra, Martin, Pachi, Pio, the cities of Biarritz and Hondarribia and all of you that made this dream possible for another year. AWOOOOOOOOOOOOO!@#$%

Photography by KTFender

5 thoughts on “WHEELS & WAVES 2017: BACK TO THE ROOTS”

  1. What you say is true although I am also one of the people who entered the train of custom bikes scene quite late, shortly before industry took over. What I was a little disappointed about W&W was the fact that it’s made for the big players in the whole scene. If you want to see the custom bikes of the small people there is not much space for them to present their creativity. They need to stay “outside” and it feels somehow like they are just tolerated and not welcome. Maybe thats just because of the location which offers limited space and houses and neighbourhood all around. HD, Honda, Yamaha and BMW etc. are in the center and I do know they bring some of the money to create such an event. But remember the Glemseck 101 where there is still a place for all the small people and their bikes and where the rules still enable you to go crazy till morning?! I think W&W experienced the same in the beginnings but growed too much. So if you are wondering where it all goes that might be an idea where you could try to get back… back to the roots and the simple people. Besides of that it was a wonderful and well organized event and I am glad that I was able to attend it…

    1. Hello Victor! First thanks for hanging out in this outcast corner of the motorcycle and even more for leaving your feedback.
      Clear this, I must disagree with your conclusions, as they are really far from reality. In Wheels & Waves every custom bike is welcome. All a participant needs to do to get his/her bike into the village is send a photo to the organization while they fill their inscription. The Art Ride is also open to everyone and I can assure you that they review every single request they get thoroughly and with due care. Another issue is style. This is personal and very subjective and the organization has its own rules of what they want and what they don’t want inside. Wheels and Waves is an open show but it is curated by vintage oriented crowd. You mention the manufacturers and yes it is true that they make W&W possible but the Southsiders DO NOT RIDE new bikes custom or not. We are vintage freaks although we have to coexist and work with modern bikes to pay the bills and why not have some fun thrashing them around!@#
      All the best and wish you an awesome W&W18

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