SURFING in FRANCE
Surfing is much more of a main stream sport in France than it is elsewhere in Europe. There are hundreds of places where people surf along the French Atlantic coast and even the Mediterranean.
The epicentre for surfing in France has to be Hossegor in the south-west. The sandbanks produce powerful barrels that draw surfers from all over the world. Each year in the autumn the Quiksilver Pro world series surfing competition comes to town and the world's best surfers battle it out over 5 or 6 days.
For a more mellow surfing experience, head to Biarritz. Huge sandy beaches and rolling waves make this a great place to learn to surf. This year in May, Biarritz will host the ISA World Surfing Games which acts as a qualifier round for surfers hoping to represent their country at the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan.
ORGANISE YOUR SURF TRIP
Once you've chosen the perfect destination for your ability and style of surfing, you need to organise your accommodation, airport transfers, surfboard hire and lessons. We've got your back. We work with the best companies in the industry to help you organise an unforgettable surf trip.
Check out the best surf spots on France's Atlantic Coast for your next surfing holiday.
Hendaye, right on the border with Spain is the best place on the Basque Coast to learn to surf.
Kevin Olsen is a former pro surfer and South Africa team coach. Now he provides private surf coaching sessions and surf guiding around Hossegor, Seignosse and Capbreton and will show you the best spots on the day. He also runs the Seignosse Surf Villa, luxury accommodation a few hundred metres from the beach.
This is Kevin's take on his local surf spots:
The best time for waves in France is spring and autumn. The best surfing months for waves in Hossegor are March and April or September and October. The summer months, as you might expect, will be small surf.
With its miles and miles of beach breaks south-west France serves up some of the meanest sand-bottom barrel riding waves you will ever surf. When it’s pumping, Hossegor is always a good starting point - do a little surf check and decide what you prefer Hossegor, Capbreton or Seignosse.
The section of the coastline from Capbreton to Seignosse offers any surfer a massive playground of waves. From beginner waves to expert waves, small waves to big waves, winter or summer the South-West of France rocks.
Seignosse is great for surfing in the summer months because it’s normally super consistent with waves around the 1 m range, light winds and works on both tides low and high. You can stay on the beach and surf all day watching waves come alive with the changing tides.
When the swell drops, head straight to Le Penon and Les Bourdaines where the best summer sandbanks can be found. These surf spots work best on a high tide as the waves break close to the beach and can turn up some great barrel rides just meters from the beach. The low tide produces amazing rides on the outside sandbanks for all levels and expect long perfect rides.
Les Estagnots, Les Bourdaines and Le Penon have some insanely round barrels and ripple peaks that work on the smallest swells in the 1.5 metre range. Seignosse is great for all levels when the swell is below 1 metre and the tides are good.
My best surfing memories in France are from Seignosse. I've had so many good surfing days there. Long days on the beach surfing multiple times per day and enjoying the summer sun. You can't beat it.
Hossegor produces world-class waves that are considered large shore break waves that break very close to the beach and are technically difficult to master. This is a experts only type of wave, however if you are watching from the shoreline it makes for a awesome 180° surf arena with high performance surfing from the world’s best surfers. It’s a thrill to even watch from the beach never mind actually paddling out!
La Graviere works best in the spring and early summer, and during September and October when winter swells start to kick in. If the sandbanks are nicely groomed, the wind stays offshore and the tide is right you can expect crazy-perfect bottomless barrels.
In Hossegor near the pier is La Sud and perfect for beginners when the swell is up. This short stretch of beach offers long rides and works best on the low to mid tides. There are surf schools a plenty on the beach and it's walking distance to Hossegor Central where all the shops, bars and restaurants are.
Capbreton is a bit more sheltered, so when the surf is big and difficult head here to find smaller, more manageable conditions between the piers. Capbreton works best on the low to mid tides.
Capbreton really comes alive when the surf is big. Around the 2 metre range it gets super heavy. Massive WWII bunkers on the beach at Santosha and La Piste make for a unique backdrop to your surfing.