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Justine Dupont goes XXL at Belharra

Justine Dupont, 23, from Lacanau, rode a giant wave on Monday, October 28th, at the famous big-wave spot of Belharra, France. The wave, measured at around 45 feet high is considered to be the biggest wave ever ridden by a female in Europe.

With a massive swell pounding the coasts of Europe today the big-wave spot of Belharra, a submerged reef that lies a mile offshore from Saint-Jean-de-Luz, sprang to life. The famous waves only breaks in the biggest of swells and a select band of big-wave surfers were on hand to tackle the huge waves.

Dupont along with Billabong Adventure Division members Benjamin Sanchis and François Liets traveled out to the wave just before sunrise. "I wasn't nervous, I felt confident," said Dupont. "I had complete trust in François driving and was looking forward to catching my first waves at Belharra."

"Justine really wanted it, there was no question about that," said Liets, who towed Dupont into the wave. "She is building experience and it's great to see her challenging herself in these conditions."

"I just wanted to make sure I had the strength to tackle these types of waves," said Dupont, who recently placed third in the World Longboard Championships in Peru. "When I looked up and saw how big the wave was, I just focused on making the drop. Now that I know I have the leg muscle strength to make these waves, I'm super committed to surfing bigger and better waves."

Sanchis, who won the Billabong XXL Biggest Wave Award at Belharra in 2011, attempted to paddle surf the wave, but a combination of strong winds and no other paddle surfers made it too difficult. His first wave, ridden with jetski assistance, was one of the biggest of the day.

"Winter has started with a real bang," said Liets. "And now we all are primed and waiting for the best and biggest waves." Dupont is training hard and waiting for more chances in France before she travels to compete in China in November. "I have had a taste, and I want more. But I know I have to take it slow. I am still learning and experience is the key in surfing these waves."