Surf travel features

Surfing South West France

" France has numerous quality beach breaks, pointbreaks and some offshore reefs, perfect for beginners, but also challenging in autumn and winter for the experienced thrill seeking big wave surfers"

Getting there:
The Southwest can easily be reached trough flying in on Bordeaux or Biarritz. Paris is about a 6-7 hour car ride away.

Travel:
Roads are excellent, but the big toll roads are expensive. The fast train (TGV) will take you to Bordeaux from Paris in 3 hours. Booking in advance is advised

Language:
French, but most (young) people will speak english fairly well but it's always best to start a conversation with a couple of words in their language.

Season:
Summer is a popular time, but also the most crowded and inconsistent. The end of the summer, beginning of autumn is the best time to go, the water and air temperature are still good, waves are good and most of the crowds have gone home. You will needs board shorts/shorty in summer, a 4/3 for spring and autumn, and a 5/4 wetsuit with cap and gloves in wintertime

Cost of living:
Camping is a good and cheap option. Every coastal town will have one, prices start at 8 Euro per person per night. Food is good and reasonably priced. Local wines are often good quality/low price.

Positive

  • Variety of breaks
  • Great food
  • Chilled atmosphere
  • Safe
  • Beautiful beaches (and people)
  • Frequent morning offshore winds in summer
  • Superb nightlife
Negative:
  • Crowds
  • Long flat spells in summer
  • Strong rips and currents
  • Very dangerous shore breaks


Surfing in France can be done pretty much all along the west coast en even at some some in the med. The following spots are all located on the SW coast in the Biarritz / Bordeaux area.

Lacanau Ocean:
Host of the annual ASP contest. It is a beach break, which can be good, depending on the shape of the sandbanks.You can park your car at the beach front,( but it's expensive).. There are several very good campsites but they are quit expensive know nothing about the nightlife 'cause the camping was too far away from center ville'.Tip: Do not follow the signs which leads you to the Leclerc Supermarket, because it's 45 km. away. (Rating 7)

Biscarosse Plage:
A nice little village, i've had some descent waves here, less crowded than Lacanau. Good car park(free) and good showers at the beach. But a lot of police is in this village , so watch were you park your car. Camping is best at 'Les Vivier', not too expensive, and everything is very clean. I only went to a nightclub once here(L'Ocean) it was very expensive, but definitely worth it!(From Biscarosse until Mimizan is a military zone so access is forbidden)

Mimizan Plage

Nice little village, I've surfed here with 3 meters and it was perfect. If there is a real terrible smell in the morning :GO surfing it's offshore. Very good car parks near the beach. There is a very nice camping 'Club Marina' but it's expensive. Best camping is municipal, but beware of the boss, he's got strict rules!. In the evening there are plenty of good spots to go and chill out. Bar Le Surf is always a good option.From Mimizan until Hossegor there are several good remote beaches which get good surf without the crowds , but access is difficult, buy a good map.

Vieux-Boucau

Same waves as in Hossegor, but less people in the water. Nothing to do in the evening, so bring Backgammon with you.

Hossegor/Capbreton/Seignosse
One of the best beach breaks in the world, especially La Graviere has very fast tubes. But at high tide the Shore break is a true board snapper!. The ASP contest is held at Les Estagnots. Lots of people in the water in summer, but a lot of people are wannabe's (especially the hundreds of Germans) so they will not drop in, but be nice to the locals. Nightlife is excellent at the Rockfood, in September you can meet the pros there. There are several campsites here , most of them are good and not too expensive, (but make sure that you are close to the Rockfood!!).

Anglet
Anglet has some very good beaches for surfing, but not in summertime!!! This place is a real zoo! I've seen it with 25 cm of waves, with more than 150 people on a very small line-up, so expect your ride to be ruined by bodyboarders.Don't know if there is a campsite here.

Biarritz
This is a very nice town to visit, expect to see some nice cars touring around here, because it is expensive. It is also very crowded in the summer, and the 'Grande Plage' is not that 'Grande' so it get's very crowded. On the beaches of ILbaritz are a lot of longboarders because the waves are normally not breaking that fast here. In the evening you can go to the casino if you have some spare cash. There are enough campings but i would recommend a reservation in the summer.

Bidart
Good waves here, less crowded than Biarritz. It doesn't have a very nice beach, there are numerous camping here(say hello to the camping boss), but for the nightlife you need to go to Biarritz.

Guethary
Guethary has a very nice little harbor., and was home to the 1996 longboarding world championships. The waves can be perfect here, because it can hold swells up to 4 meters. But it breaks over rocks so beware( check out the rocks at low tide to know where they are). I haven't seen a very big beach here, but there are plenty of camping's in this area.

Les Alcyons
Same as Guethary , but this one is a left, and i heard it is very powerful.

St Jean de Luz
I have never been there, i've heard that it can have some good waves, and that it is a nice place to visit.

Hendaye
Never been there, but i heard it needs a big swell to break. This is the last place before the spanish border. Don't buy your liquor or cigarettes here , buy them in Spain it is a lot cheaper there.


More info and spots in France can be found here.


In France 1997 - 1999

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