The Ultimate Guide to Seignosse Surf

by Tom Lacmundy

The Seignosse surf is all about dem’ beach barrels. Yep, this is quintessential south-west France stuff, with heavy, hollow breaks that capture the full punch of the Bay of Biscay swell.

Seignosse surf

Seignosse surf at a glance

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The good

  • Seriously, seriously awesome beach breaks
  • Barrels everywhere in the winter months
  • Close to some of Europe’s best surfing destinations – there’s always something nearby

The bad

  • Shifting sand bars can change the quality of surf
  • Onshore is from the west – and common!
  • Limited to intermediates and pros

This is just a part of our full guide to the surf in France. Check it out right now!

What’s in this guide to surfing in Seignosse?

An introduction to Seignosse surf

Hossegor surf might take the headlines, but the pros will often slink away to the Seignosse breaks when they’re working. Why? Well, this small beach town is home to some of the gnarliest, most fantastic beach breaks the world can offer. Move over Supertubos, the peaks here are wedgy, hollow, fast and consistent.

They form on sandbanks that line the shore just out at sea. That means they are prone to some changes, particularly after storm season, although things stay pretty steady from season to season on at the main spots. In addition to that, Seignosse surf spreads northeast along Landes’ coast, meaning this one really gets the full whack from those winter NW swells. It’s often big. Real big.

Summer does offer more for beginners. However, Seignosse surf is probably better left to those who know what thier doing. It can be rippy and is at its best when running well overhead. Besides, there’s better stuff on offer for beginners in nearby Hossegor, Lacanau, and down in Basque’s Hendaye.

Where is Seignosse?

Seignosse is north of Hossegor and south of Moliets. AKA: It’s right in the beating heart of French surf country. More than 4.5 miles of beachfront fringes the town on its western side, which means plenty of places to pick up the Atlantic swell. To the east, the Landes pine forests give way to inland France and the winelands of Bordeaux. They, in turn, give way to the nearest city of Bordeaux itself, some 110 miles to the northwest.

A guide to the Seignosse surf spots

The Seignosse surf runs along some of the most wave-blessed of the Landes coastline, all the way from Moliets to the legendary Hossegor surf. Check out everything it has to offer below…

Seignosse surfer

Moliets

Below the pine woods of the Landes coast, Moliets offers beach break after beach break. Fewer barrels a la Graviere occur here and there are more campsites and cabin resorts than you can poke your baguette at. The result? It’s a great option for family surf hols in south-west France when the mellow summer swells swing around. By winter, it’s easily blown out but can give some nice rides in total seclusion for more experienced riders.

Read our ultimate guide to the Moliets waves right now

Plage des Casernes

Plage des Casernes is the northernmost beach of Seignosse. It’s also the least busy spot in the town, thanks largely to how far it is from the carpark and the Hossegor surf. It’s reliable south-west French stuff – a punchy beach break with rippy quality. There are lefts and rights on offer, depending on the swell direction. Works on all tides and prefers a NW swell with easterly offshores.

Le Penon

Although it’s busy with the family crowd in the summer months, the beach at Le Penon is a cracking surf. That’s mainly down to the consistency, with reliable sandbank waves poking up here along a spread out bit of the shore. You can usually find a peak for yourself, and there’s nice variety – a cruisy right here for loggers looking to sit in the pocket; a crumbly A-frame there for short boarders on the drop in. On bigger days the rips can be a big hazard. Parking is a nightmare to find June-August.

Plage des Bourdaines

A super-consistent sandbank spot that’s up there with the best known in Seignosse, Les Bourdaines loves a direct W swell. It gets hollow on anything above 7-8 foot and holds up fantastically in wedgy A-frames that are rippable. Use the rip channels to paddle out but beware of big tows at high tide running across the shore. During the summer and when there’s not a competition on, there’s usually something good here for beginners and intermediates.

Les Estagnots

For many tow-out surfers and big wavers, Les Estagnots is the most perfect beach break in the world. It excels on those heavy autumn and winter swells, which can see it holing a whopping 3 metres at its highest. Those huge days are few and far between. However, at 10 foot or so, the spot still offers uber-hollow barrels that are a sweet ride on an easterly offshore. Localism is probably the main issue.

Hossegor

Now this one you must have heard of! The Hossegor surf is arguably the most famous in all of France. Close to Seignosse, the town offers up the consistent hollow barrel of La Grav – it’s a major competition spot and one of the WSL favourites. Go south from that and there are way more beach breaks with a classic French feel courtesy of the Biscay westerly swells. All cracking quality.

We have a complete guide to the surfing in Hossegor

Where to stay when surfing in Seignosse

Seignosse is a chilled place to stay. Compared to the Hossegor surf hostels a little down the coast, the places here offer oodles of relaxed days with pine forests on the doorstep. Our favs include:

Naturéo ($$)

We simply ADORE the eco-styled cabins at Naturéo. Nestled in the scented pine forests just a little back from the waves of the Seignosse shore, they’re all about immersion in nature. Cosy and compact indoors, they spill onto shaded decks where you can sit, get lost in a book, and contemplate your next barrel to the sound of the swaying trees.

Cap Océan ($$)

It’s a mere 400 metres’ walk to the awesome beach breaks of Estagnots if you choose to stay at the Cap Océan holiday park. And that’s not the only bonus. This place is at once brill for families and great for couples. It’s got those communal facilities (pool, especially) but also plenty of style inside the cottage rental units.

Jack’s Lodge ($$)

Jack’s Lodge isn’t actually that close to the beach, so you’ll need a car to ferry back and forth to the waves. It is, however, in the town of Seignosse itself, so there’s a little more culture and gastronomy on the menu here. What’s more, it’s fantastically rated, with a series of small but lovely studios that overlook a lush garden and communal pool.

When to surf in Seignosse

The surf seasons of Seignosse follow the same pattern as the rest of the Landes coast. Basically, summers suit the novices and surf schools; winters are better for pros. However, there is a little more to it than that…

Seignosse beaches

Summer (June-August)

By far the most popular time of year in Seignosse is marked by huge holiday crowds. Only a fraction of them will come for the surf, but line ups do swell considerably. The downside is that swells are smaller throughout the warmer months as the Atlantic streams are chilled. On days when a groundswell does run through, hollow spots like Estagnots are gorgeously glassy and nice to ride. It’s all-round better for families and complete beginners though.

  • Wear: 2mm or rash vest with board shorts

Winter (November-March)

The heaviest, wettest and windiest part of the year on the south-west French coast. That means big surf. November onwards can throw up tow-out times on the XL breaks of Les Estagnots, for example, while the rest of Seignosse and Hossegor are pumping with overheads and barrels. Seize the opportunity to ride whenever conditions are nice and there’s an easterly offshore. Crowds are at their lowest. Better for experienced surfers.

  • Wear: 4/3 and bring boots, gloves and hood

Autumn (September-October)

We’d say this is the best of the year when it comes to surfing in Seignosse. Temperatures in the water remain high but crowds fall away considerably. It’s the season where you’re most likely to find a spot for yourself on the Le Penon surf beneath the pine woods. What’s more, the autumn Atlantic swells have some good consistency and there’s rarely enough storm weather to churn up the sandbanks of Plage des Bourdaines to create inconsistency. Good for all levels!

  • Wear: 2mm/2/3

Spring (April-May)

The tail end of the Atlantic storm season can still add a little roughness to the waves around Plage des Bourdaines and Les Estagnots. However, with the added Hossegor surf to the south, there’s usually something working that isn’t blown out even when it’s bad. Generally speaking, it’s NOT bad, though. Good groundswell conditions bring regular glassy waves and nice barrels, but also some beginner days, particularly towards the end of May.

  • Wear: 4/3 or 3/2

Surf shops in Seignosse

Seignosse has lots of surf shops. And if you run out, there’s always the major chain outlets and brand names down in the nearby Hossegor. Here are just a few that you might want to drop on the map before you arrive…

Boardingmania

Just as the name implies, it’s all things boarding at this Seignosse surf shop. They don’t stock much as the place is primarily a school and rental outlet, however there are some interesting bits and bobs, not to mention a nice crowd of staff.

Le Wharf Surf & Coffee Shop

Grab a cup of joe and a block of wax at the same time by moseying down to Le Wharf Surf & Coffee Shop. It’s literally steps off the Le Penon surf and has a cool little location filled with foam boards, fish tails, fins and surf fashion. The brews are great too!

Best places to eat in Seignosse

Because Seignosse is such a big family summer destination, you can expect all sorts of dining options. Short of the fine-dining haute kitchens, we’ve included a few more casual cafes and surfer bistros below…

Kafe Zen Seignosse ($$)

On the way through the main town of Siegnosse as you head to the beaches, Kafe Zen Seignosse offers a menu of healthy and creative casual eats. Expect crispy bagels loaded with salads and cheese, along with poke bowls that burst with bulgur wheat and quinoa. Good for the soul en route to the surf.

Method Kitchen & Bar ($$)

Part cafe, part edgy gastropub, the Method Kitchen & Bar is a top-quality option for those looking for a bite to eat between the barrels of Plage des Bourdaines and Estagnots (two of Seignosse’s best surf spots). The menu includes the likes of salmon bruschetta and vegan falafel wraps, but there are also great cakes and fantastic coffee.

Le Surfing ($$)

Le Surfing is a well-named joint for some après after the water. The food is also simply divine. It’s a French-style tapas place with lovely small plates. They include the likes of nachos and Italian gnocchi with rich gateaux cakes to finish.

Things to do when you’re not surfing in Seignosse

Check out other nearby surf towns or hike the pine forests – these are the joys of Seignosse when the waves aren’t working…

Hossegor

Hossegor surf spots

A daytrip to the Hossegor surf is a must. It’s not only got loads of waves but spectacular beaches. Check if there’s a WSL surf comp on and don’t forget to stick around for the wild nightlife – it gets off the hook in the summer months.

Réserve naturelle nationale de l’Étang Noir

Landes coast

Boardwalks through reed-filled marshes and endless dashes of sandy pine forest await at this gorgeous reserve. Pull on the boots and get exploring to see a lovely corner of the Landes coast.

How to get to Seignosse

  • Fly: The closest airport is the Biarritz Airport. It’s not got an overload of flight arrivals, but does enjoy some low-cost easyJet routes in from Paris CDG and major cities across the UK. Alternatively, look for flights to nearby Bordeaux. That’s less than two hour’s drive from the surf breaks in Seignosse.
  • Drive: Seignosse sits on the main A63 highway as it travels the Landes coast in western France. It’s a good road and links with other national motorways to connect with Paris in just under seven hours total.
  • Bus: Local buses can bring you to the Seignosse surf beaches from Hossegor. Other RDTL buses link in to Le Penon from Bayonne.

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 is just one part of our major guide to surfing in France, where we have in-depth looks at oodles more surf destinations in this wave-kissed part of Europe.

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