From Beach to Wheels and Waves – Wavelength Surf Magazine
Royal Enfield X Wavelength
Louie LeProvost powers the six-speed Royal Enfield Interceptor 650. Maintaining gears meant the bespoke 2-1 escapement beefed up a 1960s baritone through the old, hazy pines of the Médoc Regional Nature Park. With the little BAAK speedo pointing towards the magic ton, the barber, surfer, motorcycle enthusiast and former military machine fitter, released the accelerator and pointed his bike, and his thoughts towards the Biarritz Wheels and Waves Festival. But before talking about the destination, we must talk about the trip. We have to talk about the Beach Hopper project.
In 2021 Wavelength and Royal Enfield traveled to the Drive-in Cinema for the Beach Hopper. 100 bikes came to cruise along the beautiful Cornish coast. This year, the Beach Hopper project set out to demonstrate how anyone, regardless of mechanical skill level, can easily modify their bike. A wide range of custom bolt-on options from various companies are available right out of the box.
We were given a fresh Royal Enfield Interceptor 650 and a stack of partners provided everything from exhausts to board racks to turn the modern classic into a tarry, head-turning, ear-splitting surf mobile. We would build at the Spring Classic Festival and go to the annual Wheels and Waves Festival. Cornish-based Louie LeProvost, barbering in the Moto paddock at the Spring Classic with Uppercut Deluxe, was the obvious test rider.
The Interceptor 650 rode in Woolacombe, a retro roadster, to be transformed into a certified Beach Hopper as it left the Spring Classic.
After undoing the mounting bolts and carefully removing the exhaust, an S&S 2-into-1 exhaust was lined up and fitted with a little patience, a little sweat and a light tap with a rubber hammer. The throatier, meatier sound wasn’t just for the pines, on his journey from Cornwall to Biarritz and back, LeProvost received more compliments on the exhaust than on his beard and hair. No small achievement.
BAAK, the Lyon workshop for the creation of motorcycles and spare parts, provided a prototype of Surfboard Rack. Coming to market soon, construction was incredibly simple. After removing the front engine bolt, it was replaced with the front plank bracket and bolt. The left rear passenger footpeg was later replaced with the rear surfboard rack. After a quick squeeze, the black two-finned Beach Hopper fish slipped like an old biker’s hand into his favorite leather glove.
BAAK also helped streamline the cockpit with a small Daytona speedo. It is a plug-and-play solution where we have reconnected the BAAK wiring harness where the original was unplugged. It added a smooth, simple and retro feel to the dashboard.
The bike already looked very hot, but we wanted this Beach Hopper to be a real showstopper. Enter Image Design Custom, the UK’s leading and legendary custom paint and design house. The preparation for these geniuses was a piece of piss. The battery covers were easily removed to reveal a small tool pouch that Enfield supplies with everything you need to work on the bike. Within minutes the gas tank was removed, easily packed up and ready to paint. IDC did the rest.
All that remained was to attach the ingenious Wingman of the Road Goose tent to the back. It has a fully waterproof 420g ripstop canvas tent with wing/awning, high density foam mattress and built-in sleeping bag. With this bad boy, our fearless rider would always have comfortable, waterproof, instant swag to call home. All that was left to do was hit the road.
After a wet Wednesday in Plymouth to catch the ferry to Brittany, Louis dried off on the boat and soon encountered two other riders heading to the WAW. We’ll never know if it was the tattoos, the leather jackets or the handlebar mustaches that brought the trio together. On French soil, they leave for Quimper for a continental breakfast, then keep the sea to their right and head south. Louis made a detour to La Roche Sur Yon for dinner and an overnight stay with friends who live in the rural hinterland between La Rochelle and Poitier.
The next morning he opened the Beach Hopper to the ribbons of black tar that roamed the Renoir fields of green and yellow and reconnected with his new buddies on the ferry to Royan. A crossing of the Gironde estuary led to the ride through the Médoc regional natural park, and finally to a surf check at the Lacanau surf hub. There were waves, but the pull of the last stage to Biarritz and the Waves and Wheels was too strong.
Royal Enfield’s warm welcome, not to mention the prime rib, cold half-presses and crowd of like-minded surfers and motorbikers, meant it was a good choice. For over a decade, the festival has blended motorcycling, surfing, skateboarding, music, art and culture. The aim is to build on the past and use the know-how to live the present and talk about the future.
On Friday, Louie took part in a hike in the Pyrenees, and the incredible roads and mountain views saw Louis call it the best ride of his life. The fact that it ended with an epic lunch and sunset surf on the beaches south of Biarritz made it a pure to-do list.
After another surf on Saturday morning, the call went out to ride an hour north to Magescq to watch the El Rollo Dirt Track race. Here, everyone from pros to legendary old retirees raced 80-year-old Harleys at high speeds on a gnarly track. Not for the faint of heart or soft of the down. The final night was a celebration of the Beach Hopper project at the WAW village before Louis howled and retraced his steps through the French countryside to Roscoff and home.
The end of the road?
No, fine, Jose. Due to a mix of customs paperwork and supply chain issues (don’t you like taking back control), the final stages of the custom build couldn’t be completed before the ride. However, our friends at Bad Winners, the Parisian custom motorcycle workshop known for its bolt-on aftermarket kits, will be working on the front headlight, custom handlebars, rear storage and new seat to get the Beach Hopper ready for Cornwall this summer.
The Beach Hopper will keep rolling! This is just the start of something special. Readers, let us know where we should point it next…?