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Surfing in Bidart

Surfing in Bidart on France's south-west Atlantic coast

A guide to surfing in Bidart

Bidart is one of the most beautiful coastal towns in the Basque country and you can get good surf here all year round.

On the coast half way between Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz you’ll find the chocolate box village of Bidart. With its typical Basque style houses, stunning Pyrenees backdrop and great surf beaches you’ll quickly be won over. Bidart has also got some excellent surf spots that work all year. The coastline is made up of rocky coves each with its own characteristics, which means you get a good variety of waves in close proximity. There’s something for everyone from beginners to advanced surfers and mellow waves for longboarders and more punchy reef breaks for shortboarders. One thing’s for sure – if you’re driving down the coast on a surf trip, make sure you check out Bidart, you won’t be disappointed.

The Best Time of Year to go Surfing in Bidart

Bidart has a diverse range of waves with something for everyone right throughout the year.

If you have a preference for small waves and warm water, the peak summer period of July and August is going to tick your boxes. However, the lineup is often crowded with good surfers which makes it tougher to learn as a beginner. In summer, tourists competing with local surfers for waves can on occasion lead to a bad vibe at the peak. You can avoid this by getting in the water early in the morning or late in the evening. It has to be said, late evening sessions in summer when the sun’s setting and there’s only 4 or 5 of you out can be some of the best.

For the majority of surfers the best time for a surf trip to Bidart is either before or after the peak summer period. In May and June and from September right through to November, the swell is more consistent, the water’s warmer and there’s less people in the lineup. When there’s swell in Bidart you really can ride any type of wave and during the shoulder season you won’t have to battle with locals to get a ride.

In December, winter kicks in, the water temperature drops and big swells hit the coast at regular intervals. Winter is the time of year when advanced surfers can push their own boundaries. In Bidart with the exception of Plage du Centre hold the swell well without closing out and if you’re up for it you’ll get some amazing waves and carve up some big walls.

Bidart Surf Forecast

Bidart, Plage du Centre surf forecast – surf report and surfing conditions for the next 3 days with swell components including wave height, wave direction and wave period, wind direction and weather forecast.

Bidart surf forecast courtesy of surf-forecast.com.

Watch this: Longboard session in Bidart

Bidart Surf Spot Guide

1. Ilbarritz

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 0.5 to 2.9 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.460363, -1.579284.

After surf with a sunset at Ilbaritz, Bidart
After surf with a sunset at Ilbaritz, Bidart | © OT Bidart

Ilbarritz is a really pretty beach and a top surf spot when it’s working. It gets a lot of good local surfers and can by quite crowded when it’s on in summer. The bottom’s a mix of sand and rocks and the wave can be quite fast and hollow. When the conditions are right, there’s a nice A-frame peak straight out front. Ilbarritz is best surfed at mid to low tide. Watch out for the rocky slabs particularly at the southern end of the beach.

Guillaume’s take:

Travelling south to Bidart from Biarritz, Ilbarritz is the first beach you’ll get to. It’s always worth a look. The spot is always less busy than Biarritz but the waves are just as good and you can even surf at high tide. When you’re waiting for a set you can admire the majestic but somewhat out of place Chateau d’Ilbaritz perched on top of Colline de Handia. There’s a good vibe here, but you just need to watch out for the rocks at both the northern and southern end of the beach. At low tide, the rocks can be off-putting.

2. Le Pavillon Royal

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 0.8 to 2.5 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.455808, -1.582350.

Surfing at Pavillon Royale
Surfing at Pavillon Royale | © pavillon-royal.com

On the road between the Côte des Basques and Bidart, after the Ilbarritz roundabout you’ll reach Pavillon Royal in front of the campsite of the same name. It’s rocky and positively dangerous at high tide, but when the conditions are right this spot can generate a beautiful wave. Shallow water covers a slab of rock at the northern end of the spot. Works best on an outgoing tide. Over 2 m, the wave crumbles.

Guillaume’s take:

Le Pavillon Royal holds the swell well and produces a variety of different waves. There’s a reefbreak at the northern end of the beach that’s a bit fickle but can generate a powerful right when it’s working. The beachbreak at the southern end is more accessible for beginners and throws up rights and lefts. The rips can be treacherous when it’s big here and the unwary can quickly find themselves being dragged out.

3. Erretegia

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 0.5 to 2.5 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.444073, -1.592203.

Surfing in Bidart Erretegia
Surfing in Erretegia, Bidart | Flickr – © Bruno Raymond

Busy in the summer and popular with surf schools as a result of the beginner-friendly waves. Downsides are rocks on the bottom and a high tide that washes up against the cliffs. To escape the rocks, walk down the beach and paddle out in front of the old stone hut.

Guillaume’s take:

Erretegia is probably Bidart’s most beautiful beach. Head to the northern end to surf a lovely right hander, or go south for a more mellow left. Once you’ve surfed Erretegia, you’ll be forever smitten. At the same time, take care getting into the water particularly at high tide, and as with all Bidart’s beaches, you need to watch out for the rocks.

4. Plage du Centre

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 0.5 to 2.9 m. Swell direction: West, North Lat Long: 43.437973, -1.595930.

Bidart - Plage du Centre
Surfing day at La plage centrale, Bidart | Flickr – © Laurent Guerin

With decent swell on an incoming tide, you can have a great session here. It’s packed in the summer though and there’s some big rocky slabs to watch out for especially at the southern end of the beach. Pollution from the Uhabia river can be a problem if the current’s dragging north.

Guillaume’s take:

Plage du Centre is a decent beachbreak that offers a range of possibilities and it works on any tide. There’s a decent right straight out front and a nice left at the northern end of the beach. At the southern end, there’s a more hollow wave that can barrel on the right day. The atmosphere is always pleasant and relaxed.

5. L’Uhabia

Spot type: Beach, Reef. Offshore wind: Easterly. Bottom type: Sand and Rocks. Best tide: Mid tide.
Wave size: 0.5 to 3 m. Swell direction: South, West Lat Long: 43.431789, -1.600781.

Wipe out at l'Uhabia, Bidart
Wipe out at l’Uhabia, Bidart | Flickr – © Laurent Guerin

Plage de l’Uhabia takes its name from the river that flows through Bidart and into the sea here. Heading south on the road to Spain, you’ll find the spot just after the Uhabia estuary. You can often have a good surf here; the river sculpts some nice sandbanks and kicks up a decent but mellow right and left near the mouth of the river. The spot tends to wash out when the swell’s too big. There are a few rocks to watch out for and pollution from the river can be a problem if the current’s dragging north.

Guillaume’s take:

L’Uhabia is one of the only river breaks in the region. The spot is renowned for holding up a good wave particularly at the southern end and it’s a good spot to head to if it’s too big elsewhere. You’ll find a nice long and mellow right and left but the wave can quickly build in power on big days. You’ll find steeper walls at the northern end of the beach, but it quickly closes out if there’s too much swell. Watch out for the rocks at the extreme north and south of the beach and occasionally the pollution from the river, particularly after heavy rain.

Please leave a comment below if you need specific advice for your surf trip to Bidart, or if you have any recommendations to help us improve this guide. Happy holidays!

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