Hossegor: a French surfing paradise

June 28, 2019 | Surfing
Hossegor: 1.7 miles of perfect beach break waves | Photo: Poullenot/WSL

Hossegor provides 1.7 miles (2.8 kilometers) of beach breaks and A-frame waves all-year round.

It is one of the most iconic stretches of sand in the Old Continent, especially for the European surfing community.

There are five main surfing beaches in Hossegor.

From south to north, you'll find Plage Notre Dame, Plage de la Sud, Plage Centrale, and Plage de la Gravière.

Over the past four decades, the French coastal region saw a growing number of wave riders settling in the commune of Soorts-Hossegor.

As they slowly discovered the area, foreign surfers fell in love with Hossegor at first sight and stayed for longer periods.

Hossegor: a popular stretch of surfing beaches | Poullenot/WSL

"I spent a few years traveling, and it was just another trip. I never really intended to stay. One thing led to another, and nearly 30 years later I'm still here," explains surfboard shaper, Rob Vaughan.

The Liets brothers, Jean Sarthou, François Lartigau, Christophe Reinhardt, Yann Benetrix, and Sebastien Saint-Jean were some of the first local riders to stand out in the Hossegor surfing scene.

And when names like Stephen Bell, Maurice Cole, Dave Malherbe, Tom Curren, Gary Elkerton, Robbie Page brought international attention to this quiet place, things changed forever.

Waves for Everyone

Today, the peaks of Hossegor are well known all over the world.

Whether it's small or big, the famous local sandbanks attract hundreds of recreational, amateur, and professional surfers from all corners of the globe.

"The breaks are playful, sometimes tricky, and you can't protect a specific place. It's not a peak; it's not Pipe. There's no sitting in a couple of square meters area," explains actor-surfer Arnaud Binard.

"We're fortunate to have this sort of triptych - the blue ocean, the endless sand dunes, and the green forest. It's a blessing."

Hossegor: a barreling machine | Photo: Poullenot/WSL

The sandbanks at Hossegor tend to be quite temperamental, so you've got to get used to them. It takes time to get in sync with the Hossegor waves.

"Even I sometimes struggle at La Gravière. Surfing here means paddling 30 minutes against the rip just to catch a left-hander," adds professional surfer Justin Becret, who grew up in the region.

"And you can also take a beating that will leave you with trouble breathing for a couple of days."

Benjamin Sanchis is a veteran of big wave surfing. He, too, knows Hossegor well and how unpredictable it can be.

"What's nice is that you never know what's coming. Each morning, there's a new element of surprise. And even in the morning, it can change in a matter of hours," explains Sanchis.

Hossegor is, indeed, a surfing paradise in the heart of Aquitaine. You'll meet small waves in summer and testing conditions in winter.

And whenever you're tired, or the surf isn't good, there's always delicious, world-class pastry ready to be popped into your mouth.

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