The Ultimate Guide to Moliets Surf

by Tom Lacmundy

Moliets surf is Landes in a nutshell. Come here to ride big beach breaks (beginner-friendly in the summer) and enjoy pine-backed sands on the Atlantic.

Moliets surf at a glance

The good

  • Lots of space to find a peak to yourself
  • Great surf schools
  • Awesome surf camps and campsites by the coast

The bad

  • Can get busy in the summer
  • Not the same infrastructure as Hossegor

We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This guide is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in France

What’s in this guide to Moliets surf?

An introduction to Moliets surf

Moliets surf

Moliets et Maa, or just Moliets for short, could easily be the poster boy for the Landes region. Long, uninterrupted stretches of golden sand edge straight into the Atlantic Ocean here. They run for miles and miles beneath lovely dashes of pine forests that are all carved up by dirt tracks and hiking trails. The region is not as built-up as Hossegor and Biarritz, but it’s got the same reliable NW swell window that keeps it working virtually all year round.

The peaks are France in a nutshell. They jostle up and down the beach and move all the time. It’s largely sandbanks that are determined by the winter storms and then hold their shape for much of the summer and autumn before being washed away to bring in whole other sets for the next season. But there are also some river mouth waves around the estuary of the Huchet to add some spice.

Moliets surf can get pretty gnarly in the height of the winter months. However, spring and summer will usher in a time that’s great for beginners (there’s never a shortage of whitewash) and improvers. We’d also make a nod to the overload of seasoned surf schools and instructors in these parts, along with the family friendly campsites close to the coast. It’s a solid option for any French surf jaunt.

Where is Moliets?

Moliets-Plage, or Moliets et Maa is one of the main resort towns on the Landes coast. That put sit right on the Atlantic Ocean on the far south-west side of France. The A63 coast road is just behind and the city of Bordeaux is about 2 hours’ driving to the north-east. Popular surf towns like Hossegor and Biarritz can be found just to the south.

A guide to Moliets surf spots

We range from the far northern beaches of Landes to the famous beach breaks of Hossegor to bring you the cream of the Moliets surf spots…

Mimizan/Mimizan Plage

Cute little Mimizan Plage has over 6 miles of beachfront to its western side, which hosts some seriously fantastic surf spots. You’re a considerable way outside of Moliets now, so it’s worth thinking about basing your stay here instead. That will mean getting a taste of the north Landes breaks – less shapely, more wild, but uber-consistent. La Garluche and Centrale are the main two, both classic, fat, Landes waves with the potential to get hollow on large winter days. We often recommend Mimizan Plage as the perfect family surf destination for its range of chilled accommodations.

We’ve got a complete guide to the surf in Mimizan Plage

Arna Plage

Arna for short, but Arnaoutchot Beach in all, this one’s a run of Landes beach that hides behind a huge dune to the north of Moliets. It’s famed for having one of te largest naturist campsites in the area, so perfect if you hang free, AMIRIGHT. The surf is still sandbanks that shift and move season to season, but there’s never the same line up here. Usually crumbly but also holds shape on bigger NW swells.

La Lette

Heading north from the main beach takes you to the more hidden Moliets surf spots. This is a land where the western French pine forests tumble into the Atlantic. It’s tricky to get to – only a couple of sandy dirt tracks weave through the forests to the access points. But the reward is a largely empty stretch of sand that’s got some nice peeling left-right waves during the summer months. Bigger and often blown out in winter, but still worth the check if Moliets is bursting.

La Centrale/Centrale Plage

Centrale Plage is called simple La Centrale in Moliets. It’s the main surf spot and showcases exactly what you’d expect of the Landes region. That means a long run of uninterrupted sandbank breakage. Good lefts but better rights, all forming off wedgy beach waves that can gather some serious power in shoulder season months like September and May. Summer sees the plage burst with holidaymakers and there’s better surf for beginners then. Hazards include strong rips on bigger days and cross-shore currents.

Seignosse

With the likes of Les Estagnots and Le Penon up its sleeve, the town of Seignosse always manages to draw a crowd. We’d say it’s slightly better aligned to pro and advanced surfers. That’s especially true when the NW swell channels in the Bay of Biscay are pumping in fall and spring. Expect lots of that Landes trademark: Barreling beach breaks with steep, wedgy drop ins.

We’ve got a complete guide to Seignosse surf – check it out now

Hossegor

Hossegor is known all over the globe for its barreling beach breaks. They are heavy stuff and competitions come in their wake, usually in the early summer months. Challenging, yes, but also downright fun, there are breaks in this town for all levels. It’s basically the capital of Atlantic surf in France. However, expect crowds and crowded line ups to match.

Check out our full guide to Hossegor surf right now

Essential gear for surf trips to France

Wetsuits (men):

  • [SUMMER – April to September] C-Skins Session 3/2 | Big up to the extra flex that C-Skins have packed into these latest models. For Hossegor or the Basque Country, that should help you stay out longer and feel freer on the heavier barrels. Glideskin Collar also cuts neck rashing, a problem we often get in France cos’ of the duck dive demmands.
  • [WINTER – October to March] Rip Curl E-Bomb E7 4/3mm | In our opinion the E7 neoprene is maybe second to only Vissla’s stuff in stretchiness, but there’s some good thermo in there to keep it all toasty in the French midwinter. Generally speaking, this is an all-round cracking suit that deserves its rep as one of the go-to suits for pros.

Wetsuits (women):

  • [SUMMER – April to September] Billabong 302 Synergy 3/2mm Chest Zip Wetsuit (2021) – Blue Seas | The stunning, understated colour aside, Billabong have worked wonders by reducing the weight on their Synergy suits, all while keeping that important fleece interior. They are still our weapon of choice on the Hossegor summer swell.
  • [WINTER – October to March] C-Skins 4/3mm Surflite Wetsuit | C-Skin’s eco-friendly surflite has the toastiness of a much heavier suit, but with oodles more felx. And that’s important if you’re going to be navigating the pounding barrels of the Landes west coast.

SUNSCREEN: Suntribe All Natural Zinc Sunscreen | We use Suntribe sunscreen in France because it’s 100% natural and contains zinc oxide – the bee’s knee’s of face protection.

WATER BOTTLE: 18 Oz Hydro Flask | Now our water flask of choice, the Hydro range does better at keeping our aqua warm than any other brand we’ve tried. Also, all the other surfers are using em!

WAX: Quick Humps Mr Zogs Sex Wax Basecoat and Cool Water Topcoat Surfboard Wax | Re-wax before you get to France. You’re covered in this double pack for undercoat and top.

Where to stay when surfing in Moliets

There are lots of top places to stay in Moliets for surfing – this is one darn popular holidaying location on the French west coast, after all! We’ve plucked out a few we’ve tried before (and loved) along with others that offer good proximity to Centrale Plage.

WolfCamp Surf Moliets ($-$$)

Surf-hotel-top-pick

WolfCamp Surf Moliets is a super-fun spot to stay in the midst of the swaying French coast woods. You’ll be able to hear the waves to the west and will sleep under canvas with the scents of pine trees all around. It’s a sorta’ glamping spot that shouldn’t break the bank. There’s a small communal gazebo for chilling with other guests too. We’ll be back!

Progress Outdoor Surf Hostel ($)

Progress Outdoor Surf Hostel is all about getting active and having fun on the French coast. It sits near Lette Blanche Beach north of Moliets, so the surf that’s on offer is pretty quiet compared to the main town. The crowd tends to be young, and you get tent accommodation with ping-pong tables and shared bathrooms.

Résidence Odalys Bleu Ocean ($$)

Résidence Odalys Bleu Ocean is for those who prefer not to camp. It’s close to the main beach, so accessing those sandbank waves is a breeze. But it’s more your usual family French camp, with an on-site swimming pool and stylish, new apartment blocks with 2-4 bedrooms up for grabs.

When to surf in Moliets

Moliets surf follows exactly the same pattern as the rest of this ever-popular Landes coast. Generally, that means big swells in winter and beginner stuff in summer. It’s very rare for the surf to close off completely, but there can be pancake flat stretches in summer if you’re unlucky. For us, the overall top time down here is fall, when offshores combine with balmy evening days and good NW currents in the Bay of Biscay.

Centrale Plage Moliets

Summer (June-August)

The waves are quieter in Moliets in the mid summer but the crowds are booming. This is probably the best time for family surfers (and Moliets is a really great family surf option) because the local schools will all be open, and the weather’s usually good. Conditions are fairly reliable but more advanced surfers might be waiting for those famous French barrels to come through until fall. Lots of crumbly mush for learning, though.

Autumn/Fall (Sept-Nov)

Our favorite season of all on the Moliets surf, autumn brings strong NW currents and regular groundswells. The sandbanks all up and down the Landes coast are firmly set after a quiet summer, so you know what waves are working best by this point. Winds are often low in the morning and then onshore in the afternoon, so early sessions are key.

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Winter (December-March)

Landes gets buffeted by the full hit of the Atlantic storm system in winter. It’s not necessarily a bad thing for the surf in Moliets, because those strong weather patterns can power up the breaks of Hossegor and Seignosse to barrel level regularly. Rips are dangerous at this time, and the bigger days are best left to surfers who know what they’re doing.

Spring (April & May)

There’s some lovely surf in Moliets around the April/May time, as the main swell moves to come in from a NW position and the sandbanks settle after the winter storms. The period can be unpredictable, especially with changeable N and E winds. Still, smaller crowds make it a good option for intermediate surfers in France.

Surf shops in Moliets

Moliets surf shops usually double as surf schools throughout the winter. You can drop in for the wax and the leash but also book a few lessons or quiz the locals on the top breaks, if they’re willing to tell, that is.

Maa Surf Shop

Part school, part shop, the Maa Surf Shop is one of the best-known wave craft names in the town. It’s got a great line up of local teachers throughout the whole season, with surf internship weekends starting from €69. What’s more, they are official Rip Curl stockists and have a stack of foamies for sale to boot.

Soonline

Another highly-rated school cum surf shop, Soonline covers the trifecta of surf rental, surf tuition and skate tuition for when the waves aren’t working. They’ve got a great website where you can pre-book packages. Alternatively, look for them right by the main Plage de Moliets near the campsite.

Best places to eat in Moliets

Moliets isn’t a big town like, say, Biarritz or Hossegor, but it still has its fair share of enticing eateries. Check out the following three spots for that post-surf re-fuel. They are the ones we will go back to time and time again…

Zoo Bar Tapas

Zoo Bar Tapas can get pretty buzzy on a summer’s evening after a surf session. The line up sort of shifts to the big outdoor area to glug cold beer and munch on tasty French-Spanish tapas dishes. We love this spot and it’s not just great for food – it’s also great for getting to know other folk on a surf trip to M-e-M.

Zaz’Pizza

Zaz is, hands down, the best pizza in Moliets. Just don’t come expecting an Italian artisan thingy. This one’s a French twist on the dish – lots of cheese, lots of flavor. There’s a nice vibe and it’s close to the Airbnb and hotel rentals on the south side of the town.


We might use affiliate links in this post. Basically, you click em’ and we get a little something from your booking or purchase. They help us keep offering more and more in-depth surf guides to awesome places all around the globe. So, thanks for that!

This article is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in France

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