Hossegor surf break guide

Hossegor is one of the most famous surf destinations in the world.  It’s got culture, community, and best of all, really good surf (and lots of it).  The surf in Hossegor can vary a lot from north to south especially given the crazy tide swings and swell range. Here is our complete guide to the surf breaks in Hossegor and the surrounding towns of Capbreton and Seignosse…

What makes Hossegor such an insanely good beach break is the large trench that lies deep underwater in the Bay of Biscay, much like the famous Blacks Beach in San Diego, California.  Because of it, Hossegor can hold 10+ foot waves despite the fact that it’s all sand bottom beach. With this however, comes gnarly currents, no sheltered coves, and an often brutal shorebreak.

Le Culs Nus, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Le Culs Nus, Hossegor on a MASSIVE swell

Swell Direction + Consistency

Due to the geography of the coastline, Hossegor picks up swell from almost every angle from southwest to north.  South swells tend to be a bit more sheltered but can still roll in with plenty of size.

Since all the breaks in Hossegor, Capbreton, and Seignosse are beach breaks, nowhere really favors rights or lefts, it just depends on the swell angle.

The formula for which breaks are good on what swells is too complicated to explain in detail in this blog. The thing with Hossegor is that it’s usually good somewhere.  That’s where consistency comes in.  You can check every break in Hossegor within 20 minutes and chances are you’ll find something good.

The rule of thumb is to always go for a surf check.  Some WNW swells are going to make Le Culs Nus go off in perfect tubing manner but just a few degrees different in swell angle and it’s walled up yet half a mile down the beach is firing.

Point being, always check the surf and if it isn’t good at one break, there’s almost some other break where it is good.  That is what’s so cool about Hossegor.  No matter what, there’s something pretty good to surf.

Surf Report

In addition, the surf forecast is not totally accurate around here (pretty usual for most places around the world).  I remember once staying home from surfing because the Surfline report was Poor with 20 Knott winds.  I was bored so I went and checked the surf anyway only to be greeted with perfect glass, streaming corners, and a more than Poor surf session.

Magic Seaweed is occasionally more accurate than Surfline here so I would use both forecasts to get a general prediction for surf. Most important thing to look at is the tides and general swell prediction.  More often than not, the wind is what they can’t predict so you’ll have to use your own eyes.

Best Time to Visit

Summer and autumn are the best times to visit for not ridiculously scary swells, warmish water, and ideal winds.  Winter months bring purely massive swell and strong onshore winds.  

Summer is better if you’re not trying to score an epic swell because the air and water temps will be great (spring suits ideal).  

End of September through mid November is the my favorite time to visit.  A lot of solid size swells roll through even this early in the winter but there are usually small days between swells. The water is cold but not too cold.  A 3.2-4.3 mm wetsuit is suitable for autumn.  

The WSL’s Quiksilver and Roxy Pro come to town around early-mid October which is a great time to visit however the event brings swarms of crowds from all over Europe.  If the crowds don’t bother you, the event is really cool to experience. If crowds aren’t your thing, wait until the tour is over in mid-October.  If you want an empty line up, wait until November.

Tides

The tide swings are HUGE in France. It’s usually a 10 foot or more difference in low and high tide.  In general, mid tide is best but extra large or small swells will favor higher or lower tides, respectively.  Keep in mind, you might surf check and it be completely flat and a half hour later when the tide drops a foot, there are perfectly peeling waves to be had.

Sandbars

As mentioned before, Hossegor is 100% beach break.  The amazing peaks are formed by sandbars. That being said, sandbars shift so on certain years, certain breaks are generally better than others.  For example one year, the sandbars at La Sud were super good and the break delivered great corners.  The following year, the sandbars were shifted and messed up and even on ideal swell tide combos, it was very walled up.

Parking, Facilities, and Restrooms

There is plenty of parking at all the breaks, however, during the Quiksilver/Roxy Pro you may have to park pretty far and walk ten minutes or more.  Parking lots do supposedly have overnight parking restrictions but I’ve still seen plenty of people spend the night in their vans at the break. There are restaurants and bars right along the boardwalk by La Nord and La Sud.  During the summer there is a restaurant on the beach at Culs Nus, Graviere, and Les Estagnots.  Also, there are restrooms at La Nord and Les Estagnots.  

 

Hossegor Breaks

La Sud

Overall: Best for beginners and intermediates.  Delivers fun lefts and rights and is usually much softer and less heavy than other Hossegor waves. Can get crowded with kooks on weekends.

La Sud (the south) break is the easiest break on the Hossegor coastline.  This break is great for beginners to intermediates. This is a soft, peaky beach break that rarely barrels and delivers fun corners.

La Sud, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

A fun right at La Sud

For beginners, this break is really the only option in Hossegor but know that there are times when even La Sud can get too big.  This break is also really fun for intermediates however be prepared for crowds and kooks. Intermediates will feel very comfortable on the easy takeoffs however pay close attention once standing up.  It can be very difficult to dodge people sitting on the inside as well as the foam boarders learning in the whitewash, since the surf schools swarm the inside .  While it can be very annoying having to avoid the kooks, try to be patient as there is nowhere else to learn in Hossegor.

La Sud, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

La Sud or La Nord?

La Sud is furthest south break on the Hossegor side of the beach.  On the other side of the jetty and river outlet directly south of La Sud, is Capbreton where more surf breaks lie.  La Sud has a small parking lot on the south side of the beachfront shops and condos, as well as plenty of nearby parking.

La Sud is the most sheltered surf break making it the best place to go when it’s too big further north.  However, there are exceptions like on a big south swell.  At those times La Sud can be equally as big.  Even though this is the easiest break in Hossegor, pay attention to the currents here.  Rips aren’t too bad here but north-to-south currents can get gnarly.  In addition, pay attention to the shore break. Depending on the tide a shore break will form either right on the shore or a little bit deeper. Sometimes the wave will reform and become a closeout unexpectedly.

La Nord

Overall: Doesn’t work often, but when it works, it works.  On the day-to-day swells, this spot is frequented by the SUPers and long boarders. A great alternative to Graviere when it’s too hollow there.

La Nord can be a really good in between of intermediate level La Sud and expert level Graviere.  It takes a lot to get La Nord to barrel and usually on big swells it stays as a really big A-frame wave.  This wave is popular among longboarders and SUPers because it can be quite the paddle to get into these fat waves.

La Nord, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

It’s not often, but there are times when La Nord, Hossegor absolutely fires

La Nord can be accessed from the parking lot of the beachfront shops as well as street parking between the beach plaza and Graviere.

La Nord, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

The colorful building the line the beach as seen from La Nord

 

Le Graviere

Overall: The best wave in Hossegor with barrels and open faces but must be experienced and ready for heavy water.

La Graviere is the most well known break in Hossegor famous for how gnarly and epic it can get. Graviere often times delivers amazing barrels combined with carvable faces.

La Graviere, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

There’s a reason it’s famous for barrels

La Graviere, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Most places in the world never get EPIC at 1pm but in Hossegor, it ain’t that rare

Graviere is the site for the WSL’s Roxy and Quik Pro France, a stop along the Championship Tour of surfing.  This wave is pro level and is not for beginners.

La Graviere, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

John John Florence with a huge carve at Graviere

For experienced surfers, this wave can become the stuff dreams are made of but with that comes heavy water consequences.  Surfing Graviere is humbling for anyone but the pros. As a beach break, Graviere gets extra heavy on extreme low and high tides.

La Graviere, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

A couple of random surfers getting ready for a gnarly hold down at Graviere

Graviere has signs marking the beach access.  There is street parking as well as a parking lot with a height limit. There is also another boardwalk further north of the Graviere parking lot that gives you access to a small restaurant and another break that’s still technically part of Graviere.  This break isn’t usually surfed because it has a really awkward backwash but occasionally it’s decent.  The break of Graviere is marked by a large bunker, a great spot to check out the surf.

La Graviere, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Playing on the bunker marking Graviere

 

Le Cul Nus

Overall: Great for intermediate to expert surfers depending on the day. Can get big, hollow, and gnarly or soft, fast, and shreddable.

Le Culs Nus AKA Bare Butt beach is, you guessed it, a nude beach.  Besides all the old naked people along the shore, surfing here is amazing.  Le Culs Nus is peaky A-frame wave that can get really good on small and big swells.

On small swells it great for intermediates with fast, fun lefts and rights.  However, on large swells, don’t even think about paddling out.

Le Culs Nus, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Le Culs Nus with some fun lefts on a small swell

When Graviere maxes out, Le Culs Nus usually can hold a little more swell.  Large swells can bring 12-15 foot waves that only the best of the best can got out in. When it gets really big, people even tow in here.

Le Culs Nus, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Le Culs Nus absolutely firing at the 2016 Quik Pro

From October through April there are a lot of swells in the 8 foot range which intermediates should still be weary of.  Remember that this is a beach break so even if the majority of sets are in your range, there could be a 12 foot set that rolls in. Around here, you should always watch for awhile before paddling out.

It doesn’t often barrel but it’s still heavy.  At times, currents get insane here to the point where you actually feel like you might be sucked out to sea.

Le Culs Nus, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Some fun surf and a beautiful sunset at Le Culs Nus

Le Culs Nus has 2 access points about 1km from each other.  The further north one is marked with signs for naturistes.  The other access point has no signs but there is a boardwalk and a large parking lot in the inland side of the street.  When it’s crowded, it’s usually better to come here for easier parking and at times this break is better than the north break.  There is also a restaurant on the beach that is open only during the peak season.

 

Les Estagnots

Overall:  Almost identical to Le Culs Nus. Can get huge or small and fun. The go-to spot when it’s flat everywhere else.

Usually, this is where you come if you’re looking for the biggest waves in the area. If it’s flat at La Sud or Graviere, Estagnots usually picks up something to surf.  Occasionally, on extreme south swells it’ll be bigger at La Nord than Estagnots but it’s rare.

Les Estagnots, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Some fun corners at Estagnots

Les Estagnots, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

When it’s flat down south, Estagnots usually picks up something

Estagnots is just like Le Culs Nus.  It can get big and hollow or soft and shreddable, it just depends on the tide swell combo.  Estagnots is one of my favorite beaches hang out at.  The beach here is very quiet and uncrowded, it has another little restaurant, and it seems to have more of a locals vibe.    

Les Estagnots, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Watching a sunset at Estagnots

Driving along the main street along the beach, Boulevard Front de Mer, you’ll reach Estagots by following the signs and making a few lefts and rights.  Estagnots is one of the quickest beaches to get to if you’re staying north or inland a bit.  Estagnots has a big parking lot that rarely fills up.  There are restrooms, a restaurant, and there’s a big to deck area where you can check the surf.  It’s a great beach to hang out at for the day.

Les Estagnots, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

The perfect little spot for a surf check

 

Capbreton Breaks – Further South

In general, the surf in Capbreton is not as good as Hossegor unless you like short and fast rides, steep drops, and closeout sections.  Capbreton can get equally as huge as Hossegor with even hollower barrels.  It takes a lot of angle for Capbreton to not be walled up making the paddle out very difficult on a big swell.

Capbreton’s breaks consist of 4 beaches: L’Estacade, Le Prevent, Le Santocha, and La Piste.  Le Santocha and La Piste are probably slightly better of the 4 breaks.  

Capbreton, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Capbreton coastline
Photo via BookSurfCamps.com

La Piste usually only gets good when it’s big and heavy and it delivers tubes.  There are times when La Piste gets fat and ramp-y if the tide is full enough for the swell.

Le Santocha offers the best corners in the area, though not great. L’Estacade and Le Prevent sit right along the main street of Capbreton and are frequented by surf schools.

The best feature of Capbreton, surf wise, is the campground along the beach of La Piste.  The campground is super cheap, has electricity, and is within walking distance of Main Street.

Capbreton is cool to visit and to be around the more local community.  Many families and non-tourists live in Cabpreton so the general energy is different than Hossegor, which definitely feels like a tourist town.

Capbreton, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

While the Lucas boulangerie chain in Hossegor is still amazing, the Maryjul and the Cicadas boulangerie is out of this world delicious.

 

Seignosse Breaks- Further North

Unlike Capbreton, Seignosse beaches are very similar to Hossegor beaches. Seignosse has A-frame peaks but like Hossegor, can get gnarly when the tide/swell combo is right. There are 3 official breaks in Seignosse but there are dozens more peaks: Les Bourdaines, Le Penon, and Casernes.  

Les Bourdaines is the most high quality and consistent break in Seignosse so it draws it bit more crowds than Le Penon and Casernes but still less than Hossegor.

Les Estagnots, Guide to Surfing Hossegor, France

Les Bourdaines beach Seginosse
Photo via surf-fm.fr

Le Penon and Casernes are basically No Man’s Land.  With dozens of shifty sandbars, there is always something to surf and likely without any crowds.  When it gets big here, don’t even try. The rips are worse here than even Hossegor.

Seignosse also has a cheap and easy campground.  Seignosse is best to go to if you really aren’t into the Hossegor/Capbreton surf vibe.  There usually aren’t many tourists in the lineup nor is it as lively as Hossegor.

 

Besides the surf, Hossegor is filled with so many rad things like good food, cool people, an awesome pro surf contest, and more.  Click here and check out 9 Reasons to Visit Hossegor France.

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If you have questions about the surf in Hossegor, feel free to let us know in the comments below!

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Hossegor surf break guide