Surfing in Hossegor || A Surf Travel Guide 

In France’s far southwest lies one of the best surf towns on Earth. Hossegor. With ribbons of golden sand and an endless supply of North Atlantic swell, this slice of coast is hard to beat. Throw in the culture, the food, and the weather and you have the recipe for an excellent surf trip. Here’s what you need to know for surfing in Hossegor. 

Overview

Table of Contents

Best Time of Year 

Because a deep underwater canyon in the Bay of Biscay funnels any bump of swell into Hossegor, there are waves all year. While winter storms can render much of the coast too big, and summer has its lacklustre spells, the best time of year to surf in Hossegor is between September and October. This is when Autumn swells roll into the coast and are typically met with warm weather and good winds. 

La Lord (Surfing in Hossegor) Photo by Jarno Colijn

Best Surf Spots 

Essentially, Hossegor is one long stretch of beach, broken up by a handful of rock groynes and the Passe du Boucarot. The sandbanks and tides change rapidly, so finding good waves is less about knowing the “spots”, and more about hunting a good sandbank. *Preferably before word gets out. 

La Graviere 

La Graviere is the creme-de-la-creme of surfing in Hossegor. Named after the hard gravel-esque sand underneath, Graviere is a super hollow, super heavy shore break type wave, similar to Puerto Escondido in Mexico. When the banks align, this is the best wave in Hossegor and one of the best beach breaks in the world. For advanced surfers only. 

La Nord

Breaking on an outer sand bank between La Graviere and the neighbouring La Sud, La Nord is an outer bank wave, that only works on the biggest swells. On the best days, you’ll see old guys paddle out here on big boards for a Sunset Beach-style session. 

La Sud 

Just to the south of La Graviere is La Sud, which is the same stretch of sand but receives a tad less swell. I’m not an expert, but I think the swell here is diluted by the La Nord sand bank, meaning if La Grav and La Nord are too hectic, surfing down toward the groyne offers a little more protection. 

Estagnots 

On smaller days, Estagnots is the go-to surf check spot. There is usually a sandbank in this area and is a good port of call for the morning surf check. Estagnots is usually crowded due to the large car park near the beach and the famous Le Surfing Cafe there perched on the sand. Great hangout spot.

VVF

Down by the famous WW2 bunkers, VVF is another one of Hossegor’s powerful patches of beach break. While the sand, like everywhere in the area changes, VVF usually serves powerful hollow tubes or fun rip bowls. 

Surfing in Hossegor (Photo by Florian Cario)

Getting There 

By Plane 

The easiest way to get to Hossegor is by plane. Fly to Biarritz, from many major cities across Europe and this will put you within 50 minute drive from Hossegor. Alternatively, fly to Bordeaux, a larger city with frequent flights from further afield, which is 2 hours from Hossegor. 

By Car 

You can rent a car from Bordeaux or Biarritz and drive to Hossegor. Check out Discover Cars for the best rates. You can find car rentals for between $30-50 per day. 

By Public Transport 

You can get to Hossegor via public transport. You can take the bus and/or train from Bordeaux into town. Check out Rome2Rio for the exact routes. 

Getting Around 

By Car 

Wheels are ideal in Hossegor. Having a car gives you the maximum freedom for checking the banks and surfing the right zone on the right day. (And nipping to the bakery between sessions). You can rent cars from the airport in Biarritz or Bordeaux. 

On Foot

If you’re on a budget, don’t stress. Hossegor is one of the few world-class surf destinations, where you can walk to the waves. For instance, if you stay in La Central/La Sud, or even up by Estagnots, you can walk up and down the beach or just surf out front. Better still, grab a bicycle and then you’ll be killing it! 

La Graviere || Photo by Marie Dehayes
La Graviere || Photo by Marie Dehayes

Tips for Surfing in Hossegor

Crowds 

As you’d expect for one of Europe’s top surfing destinations, it’s very crowded all the time. Particularly in summer when the beaches are awash with beginners, and beachgoers from all over the continent. When the waves turn on, come Autumn, it attracts the advanced crowd as well. There are usually enough banks to spread things out though. 

Petty Crime

While not a dangerous surf destination, petty crime is rampant in Hossegor, and it is not uncommon for wetsuits, boards and bags to be stolen from cars or off the beach. Just be vigilant and take the typical safety precautions. 

Banks 

As mentioned, the sand banks change drastically in Hossegor, so you’ll need to be into it where the best waves are breaking depending on the swell size and tide. There is no magic formula for this, just do your checking! 

Water Temperatures

In summer, you’ll need a 3-2mm, and even get away with a few boardies sessions, whereas in winter, you’ll want a 4-3mm, boots and a hood. 

Where to Stay? 

Camping is an excellent way to experience Hossegor. There are various campsites around the area, but if you’ve got a van kitted out with all the bells and whistles you’ll be able to pitch up in some of the car parks and camp there.

France Information

Flight Times: 

LAX – BDX: 13h 25m 

LHR – BDX: 1h 40m 

Visas: 

3-month visa on arrival. See the official government website for more visa information for your country. 

Currency: 

Euro. 

Language:

French (A bit of French will go a long way here) 

Health & Safety: 

No vaccinations are required. 

Final Words 

Hossegor is the capital of surfing in Europe, rivalled only by Peniche in Portugal. A gem of a place and reading here in September and October is going to put you in one of the best spots on Earth to be a surfer. Expect consistent waves, changing sand banks, crowds, excellent food, excellent wine and an excellent place to check out. For more information on surfing in Hossegor, send me a message below. 

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