Waves, endless beaches, culture, good food, good wine, epic parties, not a 12 hour flight away, did I mention the wine? … it’s no wonder Hossegor is so popular.
But it’s not typically the place you’d head for in search of mellow waves. The Stormrider guide sums it up nicely…
Hossegor has stunned visitors and locals with the punishing power of it’s legendary peaks, in the process gaining a reputation as one of the most hollow, consistent beach breaks on the globe
So why on earth are we suggesting you head there?
Well, despite it’s reputation for big scary barrels, Hossegor is a pretty special place. It draws people in with an eclectic mix of surf, skate, boutiques, bars, live music and all night parties, all delivered with a typically French sense of cool.
Some of Mellow Waves’s favourite people love Hossegor and we know they’re not all riding toothpicks and pulling into barrels, so there must be more to Hossegor than meets the eye and we set out to find out more.
It quickly became clear that in Hossegor, more than anywhere, local knowledge is key. And in true Mellow Waves fashion, we’ve found out how to tap into it… Enter Patrick at Boardingmania.
There are two things that set Patrick and Boardingmania apart from many surf camps. Firstly, his dedication to really improving your surfing. And I mean really improve! He’ll take the time to get to know you and find out what you want to work on to make sure you score a lot of waves. People rave about how much they improve and what a great trip they’ve had. Seriously happy customers.
Secondly, and this is really exciting – it’s not just surfing, Patrick can take you snowboarding and skating as well! All in the same week! Of course that depends on the season but three different board sports in one holiday sounds like a great idea to me.
So Patrick kindly took time out from surfing, skating, coaching and running his surf holidays to tell Mellow Waves all about Hossegor and how to hunt down some of its less scary waves…
Ok so Hossegor is notorious for big waves, breaking shallow and snapping boards. So although you might think we’ve lost our marbles suggesting you go there in search of mellow waves, there’s method in our madness. Let me explain…
With eight different breaks in Hossegor and loads more further up and down the coast you can pretty much always find a wave that works for you. Summer means warmer water and smaller waves, and with the more experienced surfers holding out for the big winter waves, it’s the ideal time to visit. And even if you are there in peak swell season, it’s rarely too big for too long.
In bigger waves, the breaks in Hossegor also get a lot of reforms. Smaller and packing less of a punch, these offer a less scary option for mellow wavers and Patrick is an expert at helping you spot them. Going with a surf school like Boardingmania means you can quickly tap into that invaluable local knowledge, head for the right spot and make the difference between a great surf and a terrible surf.
And because the beach there is so long, even in August, when the town is rammed, you can often find empty-ish waves without having to look too far. That said, Patrick points out that if you want empty beaches you just need to set the alarm for 8am because the French don’t usually roll down to the beach til after lunch!
If you want to know more about the different breaks, INHossegor has a great page here.
Surf camps in France are highly regulated. You need a heap of qualifications and insurance to be able to operate. All the beaches in Hossegor are lifeguarded with road access to the beaches and every surf school checks in with them every day so they know where you are and can keep an eye out for you. So even though the waves are scarier, it’s probably one of the safer places to surf in the world.
Boardingmania has a selection of more than 40 boards ranging from 6’2 to 9’4. They also have wetsuits and these come included as part of your surf camp package, Patrick will even find out your wetsuit size and what board you want to surf and get it all ready in the apartment for you before you even arrive.
There are loads of places to rent boards all along the coast, with most shops and more choice in Hossegor and Capbreton. Costs range from €10-15 for half a day to €65-100 for a week depending on the type of board. Most places will also want a hefty deposit into the hundred of Euros, which of course you’ll get back provided the board comes back in one piece.
You’ll definitely want to surf something you’re comfortable on here.
Boardingmania has seven different apartments and houses for you to choose from right on the beach or in the middle of town, so there’s something to suit everyone, whether you want to be right on the beach or right in the middle of town. Extra touches like a welcome basket and a trip to the supermarket mean you can get settled quickly. Check out their accommodation options on their website here.
When most people talk about Hossegor, they actually mean a collection of towns and villages along a six mile stretch of sand, with Soorts-Hossegor at the centre, Capbreton to the south and Seignosse to the north. Because of this, Hossegor can be confusing to a newcomer… We searched and searched for Le Surfing the first time we went, but hadn’t realised it was actually in Seignosse, not Hossegor!
It’s the heart of French surfing culture, a great place to people watch and they have some insane parties. Places to check out include Le Surfing in Seignosse (cafe/bar with awesome parties), the Milk coffee van (great coffee from a vintage Citroen H van, usually at the Billabong outlet) and no trip to Hossegor is complete without a night out at Dick’s Sand Bar in Place de Landais, also home to loads of other bars, cafes and clubs. Visit INHossegor for listings of shops, bars and restaurants, places to stay as well as events listings.
Biarritz is the nearest airport, but Bordeaux and Bilbao are also only a few hours away. Find flights with our handy Skyscanner widget on the left. Patrick will come and pick you up from the airport so you don’t need to worry about transfers if you stay with Boardingmania.
From the UK, you can take your car on the ferry to either northern France of north of Spain. It’s the perfect coast for a roadtrip, being so close to Biarritz and Northern Spain. Read more about our road trip there last year here.
Don’t worry if there’s no surf, or if the surf is terrifyingly big, one of the best things about Hossegor is the range of things to do if you don’t want to or can’t surf.
Patrick is an awesome skateboarder. He’s sponsored by Sector 9, and as well as his 40 strong collection of surf boards, he also has all the gear to take you skating and will throw in a free skate taster session as part of any trip.
Boardingmania also has an apartment in St Lary in the Pyrenees, just two and a half hours drive from Hossegor, so in the winter you can ski or snowboard in the morning and still make it back for a sunset surf – Not many other places in the world you can do that!
Back in town, everyone cycles to get around, so the free bikes at Boardingmania are definitely a bonus. There’s also sailing, fishing and golf close by.
Of course, one of France’s biggest draws is the food. And the cheese. And the wine. Hoosegor is the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by, spending the afternoons eating, drinking and people watching. Patisseries are everywhere, meaning it’s perfectly acceptable to eat several croissants for breakfast, and no trip is complete without trying Gateaux Basque – kind of like a better version of a frangipane tart and also perfectly acceptable for breakfast.
And just in case you get tired of everything Hossegor has on offer, it’s also the perfect place for exploring the Basque region, only 30 miles to Biarritz and Bayonne and an hour and a half to San Sebastian in Spain – all awesome towns in their own right.
Sold? You can book your trip with Boardingmania here, and don’t forget to tell them you came from Mellow Waves.
Got any other local tips for Hossegor? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them in!