Biscarrosse surf is a big welcome to Landes – arguably France’s most hallowed surf country. It’s got classic beach break waves for all levels and a fantastic nightlife vibe in the summer months.
An introduction to Biscarrosse surf
In a land that excels in punchy beach breaks, the Biscarrosse surf stands out from the crowd. It’s one of the first surf destinations in the region of Landes, which seasoned riders will know as the home of Hossegor and Seignosse. A little of those legendary waves is carried over to this northern part of the Bay of Biscay coast, in the form of peaky wedges and nigh-on crazy consistency. However, Biscarrosse tempers the barrels of Hossegor with a few of its own less gnarly spots that can be downright perfect for families and learners in the more chilled summer months.
Like all of the Landes breaks south of it, the surf here is dependant on the sandbanks. They can actually shift considerably in the aftermath of the winter storm season. However, they typically settle to offer a range of different wave styles on low and high tides. In fact, you’ll be able to see that variety in action in a single day down on Biscarrosse Plage. There are lots of peaks, with plenty of rights and a few short lefts; some tubey out back others fast and right onshore.
As a town, you really can’t go wrong with Biscarrosse. Okay, so it’s not got the charm of an alpine village. It does have plenty of great accommodation options for families, good bars that get real lively between May and August, and a whole string of successful surf schools.
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Biscarrosse surf at a glance
- Brill surf schools for families and groms
- Good vibes in the summertime
- Some Landes barrels when the tide is low
- Potential pollution on spots to the north, although Biscarrosse itself should be fine
- Very seasonal resort town, so busy in summer
- Just one beach and main surf spot, but does have variation there
What’s in this guide to Biscarrosse surf?
Where is Biscarrosse?
Biscarrosse is immediately south of Arcachon Bay and just a smidgen over the Landes-Gironde border. That puts it right at the northern end of the Landes region, with the Bay of Biscay and its reliable surf rolling straight into its west-facing beaches. Summers get busy mainly thanks to the proximity of Bordeaux. That culture-filled city and major airport hub is a mere 1h10 in the car to the north west.
A guide to the Biscarrosse surf spots
Biscarrosse is a fine introduction to the sort of surf you get in the Landes region. Like Hossegor and Moliets beyond, it’s covered in beach breaks that change with the sandbanks and the tide. Let’s see what’s on offer…
La Salie is a remote break to the north of Biscarrose. It’s got a loyal following because it’s a really powerful A-frame that channels a little of the pizzazz you find on the barrely beach breaks of south Landes. It’s a challenging surf with lovely rights and more close-out lefts. A word of warning about the water quality – not even the locals like it!
Biscarrosse Plage is where pretty much all the surf happens in this town. We could go right ahead and try to break it down into individual peaks for you. But we’d be here for hours, and, by the time we’d finished, the sandbanks will surely have shifted and we’d need to begin again.
Basically, this is a 3-mile run of powdery sand that gets head-on W swells from the Bay of Biscay 365 days of the year. It’s fantastically consistent, and offers mellow rides and plenty of whitewash in the summer months, which is why it’s so beloved of starters.
The main thing to note about the beachfront Biscarrosse surf is the tide. It can change the style of waves completely. As a general rule, mid-tide is the good medium point, with fatter, more rippable swells. High tide is our least favourite becuase it’s very dumpy. Low tide on larger swells offers hollower waves a la Hossegor, on sucky, tubey walls of Atlantic water – leave them to those who know what they’re doing.
One town south of Biscarrosse is Mimizan, where the surf is actually pretty similar. So are the vibes – it’s a lovely little family summer resort with excellent hotels and a few cracking surf schools. Come for the 10km of beachfront, where there’s almost always a peak to call your own for the day.
Check out our full guide to Mimizan surfing
Moliets is a very versatile surf town to the south of Biscarrosse. It’s got a central beach (Plage Centrale) with oodles of punchy peaks up its length and loads of surf rental shacks to boot. A bit rippy when its big and can offer more wally breaks in the winter with some hollow moments. We’d say choose between Biscarrose and here to base yourself and do a day trip to the other, although that might not be needed because the breaks are of pretty similar Landes quality.
Check out our full guide to Moliets surf
Where to stay when surfing in Biscarrosse
Biscarrosse certainly has no shortage of surf hotels and lodges. It’s one of the most popular getaways in Landes for wave hunters in the summer because of its proximity to Bordeaux and Bordeaux Airport. A few of the accommodations we think you’ll love are…
Hoya Surf Camp ($-$$)
Our top pick
Hoya Surf Camp is just so damn cool! It’s hidden in the pine woods that roll around the Biscarrosse surf breaks. You’ll have your own little wooden cabana decked out with comfy single beds and a table. Surf classes are run by the camp, with excellent facilities for families and learners.
The Glamping Spot ($-$$)
Best for: Being at one with nature
Bed down in a Mongolian yurt under the scented pine woods behind the main beach of Biscarrosse at The Glamping Spot. It’s a fun place to stay in nature, with a communal gathering space and al fresco lounge. The waves are just a short hop through the trees.
Hotel Cote et Lac ($$-$$$)
Best for: A swimming pool near the surf breaks
If you prefer a solid roof and walls around you for that Biscarrosse surf trip, choose the Hotel Cote et Lac. It’s a charming stay with low-key vibes on the lakeside a little back from the beaches. Rooms are simple and stylish and there’s a pool in the garden.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Biscarrosse surf trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Biscarrosse surf…Lately, we like Omio for searching flights. It’s a nice interface and has lots of airline options. We also use Skyscanner because that sometimes offers deals that even beat going direct to the carrier!
Step two: Book your surf camp Book Surf Camps is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages on the internet right now. Then there’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf break.
Step three: Get insuranceThis is kinda’ important. Not just for surf trips but for any trips. SafetyWing is great for nomad travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.
Step four (optional): Rent a car If you’re surf camping then you might not need wheels. If you’re not then we’ll just say this: We’ve never been on a surf trip that wasn’t improved by having our own car. Use RentalCars – they’re the best.
Step five: Enjoy!
When to surf in Biscarrosse
We’d say it’s actually really important to time your surf trip to Biscarrosse right. Different seasons mean very different things here…
Biscarrosse booms in popularity in the summer months. Thousands of visitors come to hit the waves and sun themselves on the sand. That’s why we’d recommend dawnies, or walks up the beach to find those remoter breaks. Swell wise, summer is way smaller than winter. MOst days see just a couple of feet and there’s less moxie in the cross-Atlantic westerlies, not to mention some offshore winds to add shape. Small-wave surfers eat your hearts out.
- Wear: 2mm rash v with just boardies on the bottom!
Expert surfers and advanced intermediates are always willing to pull on the 4/3 suits and brave the Bay of Biscay stuff in December. The Landes coast throws out some spectacular barrels at this time of year, but it’s sometimes a waiting game to dodge the strong onshore westerly winds and catch the sandbanks when they’re working their magic. This is not the time to go surfing Biscarrosse Plage if you’re a beginner!
- Wear: 4/3, booties, gloves and hood
The locals really like surfing Biscarrosse Plage in the autumn months. It’s sorta’ the best balance of summer’s mellow swells with a bit of added winter punch coming through on the NW direction. Couple that with basically zero crowds and you’ve got one darn fine surf destination. If in doubt, surf these months! We love it.
Wear: 3/2 or 2mm
Spring (April & May)
The funny thing about the Landes coastline where Biscarrosse Plage makes its home is that spring can be a time of real uncertainty on the surf front. That’s mainly because the sandbanks are still resetting after those churning winter storms. It’s unpredictable stuff if you like that sort of thing – crumbly one day, glassy the next. Towards the end of the spring is better for learners, as the crowds are still small but rates in the Biscarrosse surf lodges stay nice and low.
- Wear: 3/2 and bring those boots and gloves too, just in case
Surf shops in Biscarrosse
Get down to these Biscarrosse surf stores if you need hardware, surf threads, or a new skateboard to get around…
Blue Hawaii Surf Shop
Look for Blue Hawaii Surf Shop a few blocks back from Biscarrosse Plage. It’s a medium-sized establishment that stays open throughout the spring, summer and autumn, with stock of surf and skate gear. We particularly like the off-beat fashion brands in store. Nice owners too.
NATURAL SURF SHOP
With sustainability becoming more and more important to surfers all over, we think NATURAL SURF SHOP has hit the right note. It’s got eco-friendly sun sticks and eco-conscious gear makers in stock, along with some nice sunnies, sports watches and some lovely boardshorts.
Best places to eat in Biscarrosse
Biscarrosse does dining real well. Just bear in mind that a lot of the eateries are only open for the summer season from May to September. Many will shut up shop for the winter hibernation after that.
BISCA SURF CAFÉ ($)
If it weren’t for the melted Camembert cheese wheels, we’d believe that the BISCA SURF CAFÉ was sat in the bustling surf towns of Bali. It’s got those super-chilled and easy-going vibes, with a great outdoor space. Oh yea, and did we mention the melted Camembert wheels? A little inland from the beaches but still a great stop worth knowing about.
Named after the legendary surf break of Honolulu far away in Hawaii, this charming cafe-bar-restaurant is a fine option for food and a drink near the entrance to Biscarrosse Plage. Food is Med with style – meat, fish and moules!
Le Bar à Huîtres ($$-$$$)
The region straight to the north of Biscarrosse is home to wide Arcachon Bay bay. That’s famed all around the globe for its super tasty shellfish. Cue Le Bar à Huîtres, which serves up oodles of regional seafood, dry Bordeaux white wines and craft beer.
Things to do when you’re not surfing in Biscarrosse
Biscarrosse is a fine spot on the south-west coast of France. It’s not just lovely for surfing, but also exploring the Landes region and more…
Explore the forest
Biscarrosse is hemmed in by some of the largest coastal forestry in Europe. It’s a mass of seemingly endless pine trees that smell super, duper nice. The whole area behind the main Biscarrosse Plage is covered with woods and comes struck through with cycling paths. It’s the perfect adventure when you tire of the waves.
Bordeaux for the day
Bordeaux is a mere hour’s drive away. It’s the perfect spot for injecting a little culture and cuisine into your French surf trip. Majestic palaces fringe its plazas, while tempting wine bars dot its old center. What’s more, the Place de la Bourse and Bordeaux cathedral are simply stunning!