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SUMMARY
+ Top-quality beachbreaks
+ Hollow consistent waves
+ Empty beaches
+ Summer parties
+ Beautiful scenery
- No sheltered spots
- Frequent onshores
- Beachbreaks only
- Cold water in winter
Blue Tomato



Hossegor, France, EUROPE


La Graviere, Roger Sharp

Surf Spots

Casernes
Le Penon
Les Bourdaines
Les Estagnots
Les Cul Nuls
La Gravière
La Nord
La Sud
L'Estacade
Le Prévent
Le Santocha
La Piste/VVF
Capbreton Pointe

The Surf

The 230km coastline called the Côte d’Argent is the longest uninterrupted stretch of sandy beach in Europe. Swells are focused then refracted on to the coast near Hossegor by a deep-water canyon, which helps shape sandbars that hold world-class beachbreaks. These exceptionally powerful, hollow, perfect peaks have attracted the world’s best competitive surfers and the European surf industry to this corner of France. Big currents, large tidal ranges and extreme wind exposure do little to deter the ever-growing crowds of riders looking for some of the best beachbreaks on the planet.

The southern part of Landes benefits from the deep submarine canyon that cuts through the continental shelf of the Bay of Biscay, pointing directly at the town of Hossegor. Known as the “Fosse de Capbreton” this swell-focusing trench (or ‘gouf’) is the reason that Hossegor has forged a reputation for being one of the best beachbreaks on the planet. Up to 3m, Hossegor’s beaches deliver exceptionally powerful, perfect peaks, often very close to shore and invariably hollow. When conditions conspire, spitting barrels can be spied far into the distance in either direction, spreading groups of surfers away from the main access points. On the downside, currents and longshore drift can be brutal, sandbars are constantly shifting, paddling-out channels are scarce at size, tidal ranges are large and wind protection is almost non-existent. However none of these factors have deterred the ever-growing crowds of riders and surf companies that call Hossegor home, helped by the fact that this corner of Europe’s Atlantic coast has the warmest water temps, allowing up to 4 months of rubberless surfing. Southern Landes is close to being a year-round destination, although big, cold beachbreaks at La Nord are not everyone’s idea of fun. Summer and autumn are the pick as the W-NW winds are at their lightest and the weather and water at their warmest

When to Go

Consistent, high-latitude W-NW swells can reach up to 15ft, but the straight coastline has no protection from the dominant NW winds. As a cold front approaches, winds usually clock around from the SW to WNW, blowing-out the surf for several days with wet and windy conditions. When a high pressure system sits over the land, morning offshores are followed by a moderate NW sea breeze that blows from noon until dusk. The 4.5m tide factor is crucial and as the saying goes "If the waves look good, you've probably missed it".

SURF STATISTICS
J
F
M
A
M
J
J
A
S
O
N
D
dominant swell W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW
swell size (ft) 7-8 6-7 5 3 6 7
consistency (%) 50 60 80 70 90 60
dominant wind W -NW W -NW W -NW W -NW NE -E W -NW
average force F5 F5 F4 F3 F3 F5
consistency (%) 36 37 38 39 31 40
water temp (C) 12 13 17 21 18 15
wetsuit 4/3 4/3 3/2 springsuit 3/2 3/2
Population
8,000

Coastline
5,500km (3,500mi)

Timezone
GMT+ 1hr

Travel Information

Weather

The Pyrenees mountains greatly influence the southern Landes weather bringing regular annual rainfall. Winters can be damp and cool, until stable weather arrives from March to October. March-April can have occasional warm spells, but spring is usually windy with squalls, rain and choppy swells. May and June are good months despite the cooler water. Summers can get some hot days before the sea breeze cuts in. Autumn weather can be perfect with cool mornings, warm daytime temps and comfortable water temps. Take a 4/3 fullsuit for winter, a 3/2 for mid-season, and a shorty or boardies for the warmer days that can reach 24ºC (75ºF).

Nature

Golf, sailing, beach fishing, lake SUP, jet-skiing, water slides and skate parks plus crazy summer parties are some of the distractions. Rockfood is the most popular tourist bar right on the beach at Front de Mer, Hossegor. Winter is mellow as anything up to 75% of the region’s coastal zone housing stock are second homes and often remain empty until the warmer months.

Hazards

Getting to the right spot before the short window for optimum tide is crucial as spring and autumn equinox tides move fast. Beware of the extremely powerful rips; many visitors drown every year. In the winter, beaches get plenty of trash and driftwood from the ocean. Driving and parking are tricky from mid July to late August. Look out for thieves and vandals when parking in forest spots. Respect the large Hossegor surf community, who are amazingly tolerant, considering the huge increases in numbers every summer.

Hints

There is a thriving surf industry at the Z.A. Pédebert in Soorts Hossegor, where you can get boards repaired, find a shaper and shop in one of the many factory outlets for all the big surf brands. You need a gun only for serious La Gravière or La Nord. Surf schools are everywhere. Boardingmania offer single lesson and week long training camps. Try to learn some French; it will be appreciated.

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