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We all knew this day would come, but we are too naive to have imagined death would come from within.

Wheels & Waves, well not exactly… The embryo of Wheels & Waves, changed our lifes. Val and myself rode on the bike for seven straight tanks to meet the Southsiders, as my inner voice whispered that I was on the right track. That trip was sort of an epiphany for us as we were just about to quit our previous life and embark in a no return trip to our moto-life. It was April 2011, and we had barely twenty old bikes and a bunch of good lads willing to ride fast. For us motorcycles are important, but only part of a bigger picture. In that picture are family, friends, dreams, commitment, road trips, racing, big meals and late nights. The good life. That weekend, we saw the stars align and met some dangerous men that thought alike. Cheeky dreamers in their forties and fifties that dared to dream of a better, fulfilled, existence with their eyes open, at daylight! Preparing the path with a clear vision in mind so that with hard work and a hint of luck we could maybe be proud one day.

This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for a Wheels and Waves special – 5 years ago – and still today wouldn’t change a word. Under the name Barbarians At The Gate, (You can read it HERE), it tried to asses the environmental challenges W&W was facing, growing up from an underground cultural happening into a global movement.

As most of you know, El Solitario has always been present at the helm of the decision making of W&W, but all times as an outside confidant. We had a – de facto – agreement in which we committed ourselves to help develop and promote the event as if it was our own. In exchange we were granted the EXTRA VIP DO WHATEVER THE FUCK YOU WANT PASS; before; during; and after the festival. Let El Solitario do whatever the fuck it wants, its always the price to pay if you want to run with the wolves. But lately routine and tensions in the direction of the event made us start having less fun. Paramount was the entrance of a new partner in the organization that knew nothing about the ethos of this cultural meeting of the motorcycle minds. The newcomer, J.A., (Now AKA ‘The President of W&W), was not known to be good at anything but rapidly picked his side and started bidding on the fight.  The tactic was an easy pick, dīvide et imperā. A Napoleonic history lesson he knew well.

I burn when I recall the long drives, the many flights and the days and late nights our family has invested to maintain the peace in the heart of the organization of the festival. It infuriates me when I think about the thousands of hours of work we’ve put on making W&W the phenomenon it is now, free of charge, blinded by the thought that it had to be done as the event was a gift of love, therefore worth fighting for.

Mr. President, not only you ripped us off, (At least all those that believed in W&W as a forum to unite wills, and express ourselves, and not as a societal ladder or a money machine!), but not content with your new boots, you’ve showed an outrageous lack of moral the moment you’ve erupted with a bunch of lawyers into – W&W’s founder – Vincent Prat’s house and sack, in the most uncanny way one could imagine, his LIFE. You and your lies have poisoned the hopes of a better moto world the wolves had, and forced us to grow up, even if we were already aware that this is just a trap. Mr. President, because of this and the menacing letter the Wheels and Waves had the nerve to address to us – 6 months after the coup d’etat – inviting El Solitario to continue attending W&W like nothing had changed, but threatening to take actions against us if we decided to go our own way, we will never support this new, spiritless, fake, (and to all effects for the wolves, DEAD!), W&W you’re about to throw.

Sic semper tyrannis



63 thoughts on “WHEELS AND WAVES IS DEAD”

  1. Boom! I was a guest at a Southsiders MC ride in 2009 in Biarritz: there were 12 of us, and it laid the foundation for a future. I’d met Vincent at the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours in Cali, and we had a fun vintage bike ride that was also my divorce party. Things changed in 2011 – magic happened – as Vincent saw a new possibility, and made it work. We met David and Val, Fred and Hugo, and more. Wheels&Waves started the next year, and we all knew it was born with a gun to its head: commercialism. The dance to balance popularity with authenticity seems impossible – they cannot coexist? I suggested the Southsiders sell the event 5 years ago so we could return to having fun. We tried to revive the amateur feel by organizing Wheels&Waves California for 2 years, which had a good feel, especially the first Cayucos event, with no sponsor reps in attendance. So much to say about all this, so much learned from this, I am grateful in all ways despite the current situation.

    1. Paul, I was there in 2009 with Daniel DELFOUR with 2 Norton Commando. It was great, realy great. But, it was the start of a commercial spirit and passion. I would say after 25 years of experience of organizing classic bikes festival, passion and money can be most of the time incompatible.

  2. Such a shame I have had the pleasure of being at all but the the first W&W , but could feel the change over the past 3 years . I will miss the ride down from London and all those great roads of the bieritz area . Good luck to all lone wolfs for the future. Keep the faith.✌️

  3. Nothing good lasts forever…
    Do you own thing in the “Rias”, and good friends/ things will come / will happen.
    “I lo demás que se jo**!”

    1. Comment on ethics from the guy acknowledged to have shafted Ben Part when the notes came rolling in

  4. True spirit, will always live in the hearts of believers: corporations have no soul and no belief:

  5. Sad days indeed. I have very happy memories of early Biarritz, the chaos, the spirit.
    It’s like a dear friend dying: let’s remember them as they were, not as they became.

  6. Was an honour and a privilege to ride and party with the wolves a few times at W&W!

  7. Agradezco las explicaciones públicas que nos das, a todos, los que de una u otra manera, en las sombras seguimos tu camino. Solo echo en falta que esta carta / comentario, llegue a solo dos meses de celebrarse el W&W, cuando muchos, como es mi caso, prográmanos los pocos días de vacaciones que la vorágine laboral nos permite, para poder sentirnos lobeznos por un día. Este año ya es tarde… quizás el próximo, la manada nos lleve a otro lado. Un abrazo

    1. Espero no ofender, pero si te tienen que decir a donde ir, o esperar a alguien a quien seguir, mas que lobos….somos ovejas.

      1. Cuantos egos e hipocresía.. los lideres nacen para ser seguidos y admirados.. y no por ser un fiel camarada eres un borrego! Empecemos a mirarnos al ombligo antes de menospreciar a la audiencia.
        ..más contención en las palabras negativas y unámonos en positivo. Yo aquí veo empatía y apoyo! No borregos!

  8. When fun becomes a business it’s not fun anymore. I went in the early days rode punks peak and felt the excitement of festival, the rides, the people and parties. It died awhile ago and it will never come back. So sad to see it go.

  9. Well buddy, this is business. La moto c’est l’Esprit. They don’t give a damn about our poetry. Money and emptiness. We had the same lack of faith here in Reunion Island. I just ride and write. Alone. Let the dogs bark. We just reign.

  10. What an inevitable shame. Having attended the earliest Wheels & Waves at the lighthouse, as well as the last several events, it was becoming self evident that all great things eventually die. The DIY, non-commercial spirit of the event that Vincent and team envisioned was slowly turning into a commercial enterprise where survival was wholly dependent upon generating revenue. I had the pleasure of meeting Vincent, Hugo and David when they visited our shop in Ventura back in 2012. W&W was still in its infancy and I was inspired by their desire to share their passions in a very non-commercial, organic way. Unfortunately, A pure passion project is not sustainable unless the event organizers are rich and don’t give a fuck or comprises are made in the interest of the almighty buck. It’s true wizardry if one can pull off something like W&W early ethos in a sustainable way. Sadly there are few that have succeeded at this. While I’d hate to see the event fade away, know that you succeeded in creating experiences, friendships and memories for many. They will never own that.

  11. I’ve always found that the simple way to ruin a motorcycle event was for $$ profits to be part of the mix. I attend, host, and volunteer at lots of events, but the free ones are typically the most fun and least stress. See you on the road!

    By the way, I’m riding to Cayucos tomorrow with the pre1916 crowd. I’ll be thinking of our two W&W rallies there as I ride around.

  12. I’m sorry about the way things turned. I was also here the first four editions (where I met David, Val and their wicked team not to mention heaps of amazing lads) and I have to agree on everyone’s feeling. The spirit of the early editions wasn’t here eventually. It faded away somewhere down the line.
    But El Solitario remains and I wish the wolf a long and peaceful future.

  13. David, sorry (but not surprised) to read about this. You have the true spirit. Try to not let the dark side dim its light. Keep on, brother.

  14. Unfortunate, for sure. The same thing happened with the 1 Show in Portland. While it used to be something unique – something that I would look forward to in the depths of winter, it’s now just a corporate bike show.

  15. David,
    I only attended the first time last year. But riding and shooting the shit with you and many likeminded elevated us way above where we were standing. Enterprises can’t kill that, they can’t sell that. I will howl, ride and float 10 feet above ground with you anytime, anyplace. Just bark!
    Brothers in fur.

  16. Hi’
    You dig your own hole dude.
    Last year El Sol prices where properly indecent.
    So, it’s a business and someone do business on you, etc…
    F*** I love your brand !

  17. In El Solitario we trust.

    I will miss seeing custom bikes explode into flames in the lonely hills of Spain. Until we meet again….

  18. Why don’t you do your own thing? We are just two old wolves that noticed that this run ruined into the commercial.. You know.. Cash rules everything around me…too many brands…too many fake people…just a showcase. So do your own thing..Do whatever you want in your own space..with people you like.. With the packs around you…outside the cages….

  19. Hey Dude, you created the meanest motorcycle in the world accompanied by a bunch of crazy wolves…let it from the leash and let it bite – not bark. I wonder how it would bring back the values stolen by a …“layer“…and a „president“.

  20. All god things do not last forever. Thats how you recognize that it was great, when it ends. Just lets remember the good times. And lets try to do something new with the right spirit in it.
    I am in for antything that would be more about biking and less about selling.
    Cheers and lets howl toghether

  21. ‘nough said… The king is dead!
    So… Hail a new king… A new event, hosted by the men who built the world’s most hated motorcycle!

  22. I was lucky enough – and am proud – to have been at the lighthouse with many of you over the years. And I have made more true friends and memories in those three, early and individual weeks shooting the shit with the actual passion and energy behind this often vapid, deserted industry, than I ever did within my four years actually ‘within’ it.

    It was only a matter of time before the wolves were chased from the door.

    But even after year three it was beginning to feel the strain. And creativity needs constraints to flourish; no great good has ever come from untethered commercial resource or the rushed influx of more moderate influence. Constraints build challenge. Challenge builds change.

    Something tells me that many of you (us?) will be around a fire somewhere soon… And I know that the next grand ride for many will be of an even greater significance than this little bubble that was created on that beach all those years ago.

    Onwards… And who the fuck are el solitario anyway?!

    1. Chris, with you and the howlers and my little thing. There is a lot of potential to start something new.

        1. Lets call it Bitches &Bastards or just Fuckers Ride so no BMW or HD terp would like to sponsor it :)

          1. Taking a cue from the wolves .. how’s about WTF on the Beach ? And yeah … as much as the sponsorship may of initially benefited W&W’s .. ultimately as all corporate drones do .. they’ve managed to destroy it . Hell … just look at what they’ve done to Sturgis . Morphing it from a motorcycle rally with a touch of outlaw to a polly white bread corporate consumer fest complete with homogenized been there done that music and a whole lotta crap along the way

  23. Sad to hear this news, sadly this kind of thing happens all too often and the end result is usually an over commercialised hollow facsimile of the original concept. look at burning man. Once the greed sets in the organic free nature is replaced by just another gathering with too many rules and regulations. the snake usually ends up trying to eat itself “Ouroboros” ….. cool … you can’t buy it, you cant make it and you sure can’t fake it. Ride on

  24. Looks like the way of the Wolf is just like that of a knight, a true knight, one who engages his heart for what he believes is right, regardless the cost. I’m with you. I’m sad to read this article though. I met Fred and Hugo in Paris, Paul dropped by at my first photo exhibition, Gary and Ben did too. That same year I had a very nice chat with Vincent on the phone, not long before the Southsiders threw their first party in Toulouse. It was all happening. It was so cool. I only regret not making it to the very first W&W, and I’d have really liked meeting you too. But hey, when it becomes mainstream… It’s not avant garde anymore, and well, it’s time to move on. You’re right to say that it’s dead, I don’t know who’s taking over but I do know that you’ll always be light-years ahead of them. Keep it up, just like a knight, keep on riding for what’s right, and like a wolf, do whatever the fuck you want! Peace & Love.

  25. Bike shed in UK, same deal. Once the manufacturers are involved…it’s just another big boring bike show.. and mediocrity has taken over. Remember what you Hugo and Fred started is still alive, commercialism and greed have driven us back to our own garages and reminded us that you should just build for yourself then ride it.

  26. We are with you , we also were part albeit a small one with Revolver Surf running the little bellyboard comp & it was Vincent alone that brought us back time & time since the early lighthouse days . The success was also its downfall & last years slide into a full on commercial bike show was the end for us . I’ll never forget the madness & sheer creativity of the early days & watch with interest what grows from the original crew

  27. Things grow and get popular… nothing stays the same… you can’t moan…. what are you going to do.. stop people going?… start another event, 5 years down the road it will have grown again.. people Moan it’s not the same as it was etc …. get over it…. just be grateful that more and more bikers are enjoying these type of events…

      1. In addendum to my comment on music .. it might just interest you that today 90 % of the so called ‘ live ‘ music you’re paying a fortune to go see …. is nothing more than a pre-recorded ‘ air band ‘ pretense of genuine ‘ live’ music .

        And that sonny boy .. is from a music insider

    1. I thoroughly disagree ! Once the corporate drones take over everything goes to hell in a hand basket while raising the price of entry exponentially . Don’t believe it ? Take a good long look at the Autotuned homogenized crap that passes itself off as music these days and the price of tickets that goes with it .

      So to put it bluntly .. those of us in diametric opposition to your sycophant ideology aren’t ‘ moaning ‘ .. we’re just stating the facts as they are in the futile hope a few of you might wrap your heads around reality and get on board with the REAL program before this corporate crap completely rules and ruins our lives . art , hobbies and loves

  28. Really!!!! Please people make up your own mind and don’t let someone else let this do for you! Someone who doesn’t agree anymore with Wheels & Waves thoughts. Yeah shit can happen.
    Enjoy Wheels & Waves 2019!! We will make it a good one again with our without some people!!

    1. Exactly!… if you don’t like it go and do something else…. oh and be careful it doesn’t get to popular!!… you might start moaning again!!

  29. Ya era hora… buenos chicos que vendieron sus almas… hay un monton de eventos moteros por Europa que merecen nuestra visita mas que W&W. Live to ride…

  30. Todo aquello que se hace primero pensando en plata, ha comenzado a cavar su tumba…

    Bravo Wolves !!! You gave us a breath of hope!

  31. To quote Alberto Giacometti ….. ” Fuuuuuuucka ”

    Goddamn Ayn Randian Anarcho Capitalsim and all its adherents to the very bowls of a hell of their own making . And may they be consumed by the very greed they bow down to . ” F*** !!!!

    As for all you wolves .. Non Illigitimi Carborundum .. or as we Josiey Boyz ( New Jersey ) former ( moi ) or present like to say … F*** em if they can’t take a joke


  32. I agree, money kills the innocence. Only those who have more than enough of it can oversee the matter.
    As I have no wealth (at all), I have followed with sheer curiosity W&W for several years now, and in a similar way El Solitario, just to see how would both evolve.
    W&W showed its potential as a money making event, the spirit could be bought, and the assistance to Biarritz brought Kudos to a wider audience of posers. Damn shame, someone saw that and made the intelligent choice. Not the ethic choice, for sure, but that’s how it is.
    As for El Solitario, you have two sides, the creative one, and the commercial one. I can see how they relate, they feed each other. That takes away some purity or purpose, but the practical way is the only way.

  33. I was invited to do an photo exhibition with my documentary about British Rockers at Wheels and Waves 2014 in Biarritz. I came with my family and we had a blast driving around with Vincent wife in her beautiful vintage car. The last day we had that awesome gathering with food hanging out with the El Solitario MC and great photographer Alberto García-Alix . It was just rock and roll .
    I have been photographing subcultures in the UK for more then 22 Years and have been attending and documenting many do’s Mod or Rockers , Ace Cafe ,Goodwood Revival, Side Burn flat track: there is something we can learn from the Brit’s with the attitude of live and let live, be and let be.
    Saying that it always been that the big fashion brands are thiving from the subcultures. I think it is time El Solitario MC make something your own !

  34. Southsiders always be in my best memories!!! I am Portuguese and at some years ago i have the luck to meet this amazing guys and El Solitario team !! A smell of freedom a taste of challenge a link with good vibes yes !!! Wheels and waves is that spirit if someone try to change it !!! Another WW will appear of course because this spirit will be always everywhere we are all Solitario we have all WW spirit !!! That is not for sell !!! Vincent Prat all the best my best vibes are for you !’n thanks for you work and testimony for all of we enjoy a better adventures life !!!!

  35. Triste d ‘entendre le loup hurler.
    Triste de voir le capitalisme et l égo triompher.
    Triste de voir disparaitre l’âme de W&W disparaitre.
    Heureux d’avoir créé W&W et Southsiders avec Vincent.
    Heureux d ‘avoir rencontré de belles personnes.
    Heureux d’avoir associé mes fils et Fabienne à cette belle aventure.
    Prêt pour une nouvelle……………………

  36. My first W&W was at the light house to meet david and See « Petardo »( my bike) in the flesh for the first time… dj set at the light house, racing the first punks peaks with flip flops!!! And drinking until late … I had a blast and it definitely changed my relation with motorcycling. Thanks to vincent, david and Valeria and Pico for having me with you and let me experience since 2012 great mortorcycling experiences ( grizzly, bardenas, marocco, italy, Germany…) next…

  37. Yes, it sucks when some bearded hipsters try tomake a few dollars off the motorcycling community..

  38. Hello « wolves »

    Okay well I’d say you got fucked at your own game. Business is business and you weren’t strong enough, even as a big and scary pack of wolves, to keep it in a short leash.

  39. Of course maybe the whole mindset surrounding the event was wrong from the beginning. Maybe creating something more of a non-profit/ associative event paid by its members/participants would have been it ? And you’d still have been able to make side profits from selling your merch ?

    But the worse when it comes to wheels and waves was the self centered “pack” and the pack’s friends. If you were not on the precious list, you simply didn’t exist. In the end the wolves were having their own dream-world festival while the peasants (the fuel of w&w) were allowed to the permises of the castle and to pay for stuff. A motorcycle show should keep its simplicity, you should be able to talk to the organizers, builders, they should be having fun amongst everyone else. It should be a land of opportunity for the smaller fish, not a world of complacency for the self titled “elite”.

    Good luck with the rest of your adventures.

  40. Good morning friends!
    I learned how so many Italian friends what happened inside your group.
    We don’t know each other but I know very well the passion that allowed you to realize what was a true event that represented your lifestyle. In a similar way I experienced the same disappointments but the fact remains that real friends are always visible from the mirror of your bikes, for parasites …………. it remains placed on the headlight of the beloved bikes.
    Have a good trip !!
    Bear “34

  41. Fuck me, some of these so called bike builders, ‘build’ a few bikes and think there rock stars!…

    1. That’s right Simon! Those do not know of Friends and Passion but of seeking notoriety. Azz to be noticed there are many ways without breaking reality of Friends and Passion

  42. It’s official, I checked the pulse this year and although there is life, there is no soul left, the corporate machines have killed it trying to use the festival for sales advancement without giving anything back, such a shame, especially Husqvarna with a tent which could have been a sales showroom anywhere in bland land, no creativity or passion. Deus don’t get it either, nothing to celebrate for the many who travel hundreds of miles for Swank Rally’s ideals and passion. A lot less people venturing to the events outside the village, a general feeling of nobody really cares anymore. Sorry to see it in its last days, but It looks to be dead. R.I.P. long live the original passion which will go on and grow outside of wheels and waves into something bigger and better but stay rooted.

  43. Well of course you are partial being very good friend with Vincent. I don’t care about old or new W&W, for me it was already dead when there was a private party 2 years ago beside the village for special allowed guests listening to there own music while the main band was playing on stage this Saturday night. You don’t mix apples and oranges… Greed was in the place already, when W&W made benefits of 100 K€ with a turn over of 300 K€ (2017 figures) you surely like money more than bikes and… people. I like you David, for what you did for the motorcycle world, but you cannot cry because someone else took away the fat safe from Vincent’s hands, this is life when you fly too close to the sun and forget about real life. So long

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