The sound of sparring cross-Atlantic French dialects in full verbal conflict echoes across an otherwise flat water paradise. Even the famed howling gusts of Leucate’s devil wind can’t drown out the escalating conflict between a rather insistent local park ranger and my French Canadian photographer. I don’t understand a word they’re saying, which makes managing this photoshoot a bit more difficult than expected. My interpreter, professional photographer and close friend, Vinny Bergeron, takes a sidestep from the heated exchange to assure me everything is just fine—part lie and part casual understatement of the situation; I can tell because the man in the official looking uniform is pulling out his phone and seems to be threatening to call in reinforcements, but it’s hard to really know which way it is going because this American can’t read angry Frenchmen.I’ve always traveled with the idea that ‘it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission. So there we were shooting photos of our Liquid Force team in a prohibited saltwater lagoon without anyone’s stamp of approval. The Leucate region of France is dotted with these lagoons, yet on the first day of our shoot, this was the only one near our campground that wasn’t packed full of kiteboarders; a key concern for photoshoot purposes. Ever see a car commercial with other cars darting around in the background? Of course not, the frame is always an empty roadway, often scenic or coastal, but curiously devoid of other cars. Who likes traffic? Not me. We shoot marketing campaigns around the same concept; we shoot for the scenery, and as much as we are focusing on an athlete or our products, we are shooting that empty dream session that plays out in every kiteboarder’s head.
The altercation in the lagoon next to Le Palme resolved itself rather quicklywhen the mayor got on the phone and pardoned our sins, so long as we promised to pack it up and move on. With our first photo session in the can and forgiveness in our back pocket we proceeded to the next location with a solid grasp on how to bend the rules of the road.