Seen as the European Hawaii, Hossegor has world-renowned waves. Monuments of water that have turned the city into the European capital of surf. Located on the Landes coast, Hossegor owes its success to the swell hitting with full force thanks to the Gouf de Capbreton, an underwater canyon similar to the famous Nazaré wave, in Portugal. This specific geology gives the La Nord and La Gravière beaches, the two closest spots, a very powerful and utterly unique beach break: a sand wave with no coral or pebbles.
Hossegor’s fame as a unique surfing spot was born in the ’80s. Surfers from Australia and the United States came looking for the perfect wave: from that point on, the floodgates were open. It’s no surprise then that every year, since 1994, the most talented surfers from all over the world gather in Hossegor, in October, to compete in the Quiksilver Pro France, one of the World Surf League events. Last year, for the first time, a French surfer, Jérémy Flores, won the competition. In the women’s competition, the Roxy Pro France, the Hawaiian surfer Carissa Moore was crowned once again.
Waves for everyone:
La Nord: This massive offshore wave is mainly for experts. It requires a fair amount of paddling to get there. It is surfed at low tide, when the sand bank is thickenough and has the right slope.
La Sud: The fallback spot. When things get too heated at La Nord, everyone comes here. Located opposite the Gouf, this spot is sheltered from big waves and produces smaller waves. Perfect for beginners.
La Gravière: A beach-break near the shore – surfable depending on the sand banks – it’s Hossegor’s most powerful wave, famous for its clear and massive tubes. Not recommended for surfers in the making!
Les Culs-Nus: Located just opposite a nudist beach (hence its name, “barebottoms”), this wave isn’t as powerful as the others, but it’s still very pleasant to surf as long as the sand bank is OK.
But not everyone is able to surf where Kauli Vaast – the two-time reigning junior European champion – surfs. Breaking news: you don’t become a surfer overnight.Especially in Hossegor, where the waves are so powerful they attract top surfers from all over the planet. That’s why it is highly recommended to attend one of the many surf schools of the city. You can start surfing or improve your skills with individual or group lessons. There, you can also rent or buy a surfboard… And a wetsuit, an essential equipment for off-season sessions; It would be a shame to freeze to death.
In fact, between La Nord and Les Estagnots, at the nudist beach on the Boulevard de la Dune, you can start or perfect your surfing at Damien and Julie’s Chipiron Surfschool from April to the end of October. Their motto is: “Helping you discover surfing in a spirit of conviviality and fun, with maximum security.” This family business also has its own shop, “Chipiron Surfboards”, where you can find a line of clothing, accessories and, of course, boards. These hand-crafted, original and fully authentic boards are shaped by Damien. And this is how he works: “I listen to people, their wishes, to be able to shape the board they want.”
Note to parents: The club also teaches kids, starting with the mini Chipiron, for children under 8 years old.
North of the central beach, at the famous La Gravière spot, from May to October, you can also learn or improve your surfing with Arnaud Darrigade. This surf addict holds a 2nd degree state certification. He lives for hollow waves and tubes, and runs the Darrigood Surf School, where he has been teaching and sharing his passion for surf since he was 10. You can also go to the SurfTrip SurfSchool, another renowned school certified by the French surf Federation.
On La Sud beach, close to JO&JOE’s, you’ll find SurfTrip, a well known school that’s been giving surf lessons for the past 20 years. Open from April to October, it’s probably the best place to start learning or to perfect your surfing skills in a very secure environment, and with all the suitable equipment. Are you visiting Hossegor with your family? SurfTrip welcomes kids at the Club Pitchounes to teach them the very basics of surfing on a foam board and prepare them for the dangers of the ocean. Us adults will more or less get to learn the same things!