Learning - Pro
March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Intermediate - Intermediate
April, May, June, July, August, September, October
Yoga Searcher Hossegor is a yoga retreat in the countryside of south west France, specializing in providing getaways for anyone looking for a slice of serenity.
From rocky point breaks on the Brittany coast, world class beach breaks on the Bay of Biscay to big wave reefs down in the Basque Country as well as 620km of Mediterranean coastline to check out, France has enough waves and swell to keep everyone entertained. Not to mention it boasts the longest beach in Europe and the warmest water off the whole of Atlantic Europe.
When winter arrives in November, water temperatures drop and a 4/3 is required as well as a pair of booties. Water temperatures will sit between 12-14°C. Air temperatures fluctuate in the wintertime from 1°- 20°C.
Hossegor - with some very heavy beach breaks, shifting sand bars that can make for long rolling waves as well as a deep water marine trench directly in front of the Central Plage (Beach), that with the right swell can produce waves in the 30-40ft mark. Great to watch the boys towing in from the Hossegor beach bars.
Basque Country – As like anywhere else there are spots for learners and those looking to improve but the Basque country really is a special place for those advanced surfers looking for some challenging waves. With some spots frequented by tow-in crew as they will hold up to 7m swell. Also home to some steep barrelling lefts.
La Grande Plage is a beach that picks up a lot of swell in Biarritz itself. The waves get busy in summer with locals as well as tourists. Although waves here can be hollow, they are usually less heavy than the barrels of Hossegor.
Where to stay
There is a complete range accommodation in France for those just backpacking through and looking for a place to leave their bag while they are surfing to families coming to use some of the holiday camps with kids clubs, pool, and surf lessons. All the way to 5* hotels and Villas, for those who are arriving for some fine wines, rest and indulgence.
Surf Camps – for when surfing is your priority, dodge the Hossegor crowds and stay just north at the Secret Spot Surf Lodge
Luxury Hotel – The Hotel 202 is a great spot in the centre of Hossegor and is where the pro surfers stay when they come to town
The Quiksilver Boardriders Camp – for adults and teenagers who want to immerse themselves in the surfing world
France has so many possibilities of little adventures to go on. From rafting, surfing, hiking, skateboarding, cycling almost anything you can think of. A trip to San Sebastian is always a fun day out and if there’s snow on the Pyrenees, yoau can surf and snowboard in the same day!
The best time of the year to surf in France has got to the autumn time when the World Championships come to town. September and October are still warm and the swells are solid. Springtime is fun too before the tourists arrive but the sun is out. July and August are usually crowded and the waves are still fun but less consistent and smaller. From mid - July until October the water in southern France is warm enough to be out all day in board shorts and a t-shirt with water temperatures from 19°- 22°C.
The best waves are in the southwest; not only beach breaks, but also reef and point breaks further down the coast in the Basque Country. The south west of France has the famous Hossegor barrels, where a deep trench crosses the continental shelf delivering big swells from the Atlantic Ocean. When the swell is too big, you can travel further down the coast into the French Basque Country where you can ride reef and point breaks that hold big swells as well as provide shelter from the wind.
Hossegor gets crowded in August but you can always find less-crowded waves if you are prepared to go searching just 10 minutes or so further up the coast. The rest of the time you can find good waves with few crowds especially if you are willing to get out there early! It’s bright well before 6am in summer so you can get uncrowdedwaves if you are an early riser!
The most famous waves in Hossegor are found out the front of the central Hossegor beach, opposite The Rock Food bar. The Graviere is a really heavy, barrel with a thick lip just to the north of the Rock Food; it’s basically a serious shorebreak onto the beach. When the swell is over 6 foot, a wave called Le Nord breaks into deeper water straight out the front of the Rock Food. There is a channel to get you out the back, the waves are big and heavy and the hold-downs are sobering….these waves are for the intermediate to advanced surfer.
If the waves are too big then go to the next break down, which is called Le Sud – it’s located on the Hossegor side of the port. If the waves are huge, the only place to surf is in between the groynes at Capbreton, which is more suitable for beginners as it is sheltered from the big swells. Further south again is a wave called La Piste, which is another heavy, barrelling beach break.
Just north of the Graviere is a nudist beach called les Culsnus (literally translated as bare bum beach) – in summer you will walk through the naturalists on the beach to get to some really good A-frame barrels. Further north again, you get to a popular beach called Les Estagnots – there’s a great bar / restaurant in the car park here owned by an Aussie called Woody. Another 15 minutes walk up this beach takes you to Les Bourdaines. This is where the best sandbanks often form and where the ASP surfing contests are sometimes held. The Cream Café is a good bar / restaurant situated in the car park right next to The Perfect Wave Europe headquarters.
Where you want to surf depends on your level of surfing and what you are looking for. Some people may prefer a barrelling beach break while others prefer to surf the more mellow waves down the coast in the Basque Country. The sandbanks on the northern beaches are constantly changing so you need to travel up and down the coast, checking the banks and the tides in order to search for your perfect wave.
30 minutes further south is The Basque Country. Biarritz is a pretty little coastal town in the Basque Country with some lovely beaches surrounded by rocks and cliffs. Slabs of reef dot the coast and there are also coves, headlands and a series of jetties in Anglet, which are protected from the wind.
Famous waves like Guethary and Lafitenia attract the crowds from far and wide, especially when the northern beaches in Hossegor are too big to surf. Depending on the swell direction, it’s usually a few feet smaller in the Basque country so this area caters for all levels of surfing.
Just across the Adour River in Anglet, Les Cavaliers is a stretch of coast that is interrupted by a series of jetties on the southern side of the beach offering protection from the wind. This area tends to close out when the swell gets bigger than a solid 6 – 8 foot.
La Grande Plage is a beach that picks up a lot of swell in Biarritz itself. The waves get busy in summer with locals as well as tourists. Although waves here can be hollow, they are usually less heavy than the barrels of Hossegor
La cote des Basques is where the annual Roxy ASP event is held; it’s a beautiful bay with peaks all along it. You can have a nice surf and then watch the waves while having lunch in the restaurant overlooking the whole bay.
Bidart is another safe and fun wave, perfect for learners, rights and lefts break onto a sandy / rock bottom.
Guethary is a 20-minute paddle out the back. It breaks in deep water onto a reef and is for experienced surfers only. It doesn’t get good until the waves hit 5 or 6 foot and it holds up to a solid 15 ft. and bigger. It’s a powerful wave with a big ledgey take-off and a nice drop leading back to the channel. Going left when it’s big will leave you in the impact zone and watch out for the currents. Be very respectful of this powerful wave and the locals will command respect too.
Lafitenia is an exposed reef and a right-hand point break. It’s fairly consistent so beware of crowds and watch out for the rocks.
Further south again is Hendaye is the ideal spot for beginners, it’s a big beach on the border of Spain where the waves are way less heavy than up north.
On the Mediterranean coast, in the south east of France, the scenery is different and the waves are more inconsistent. The Minstrel wind blows all year but more in the springtime, creating surfable wind swells.
There are also waves further up the coast on the Atlantic side through Biscarosse and the Gironde. The breakbreaks of Hortin and Lacanau are lovely little towns with less heavy waves than in Hossegor. Brittany towards the north of France is a beautiful area where the coastline is similar to the UK and the weather and waves are quite similar too.