The Ultimate Guide to Surfing Anglet

by Tom Lacmundy

Plan a holiday Surfing Anglet and you’ll be wowed by the sheer wealth of breaks available. Big barrels and mushy sandbank breaks all await in this northern corner of the Basque Coast.

surfing Anglet

Surfing Anglet at a glance

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The good

  • Consistency
  • Wide array of different breaks
  • Something for all levels

The bad

  • Unpredictable conditions
  • Gets busy in the summer
  • Shifting sandbanks sometimes change wave quality overnight

This guide is just a part of our full guide to surfing in France

What’s in this guide to surfing in Anglet?

An introduction to Anglet surf

To the locals of the Basque and the Landes coasts down in south-west France, Anglet is just as much a legend as the likes of Hossegor and Biarritz. To seasoned riders the world over, it might even be better known. The truth is that when a lot of surfers say their heading to surf Biarritz, what they really mean is that they’re going to Anglet. The reason? 11 individual beachfronts with a tapas menu’s worth of fantastic waves, set over a mere three miles or so of shoreline. Everything’s consistent. Everything’s easy to reach.

The basic wave of Anglet is a sandbank wedge. They are sometimes pretty drab. But they are usually pretty awesome. Fast, left-and-right barrels, hollow sections, rippable A-frames – it’s all here. With so many spots on the menu and some beaches with westerly orientation, others with northerly, you should always be able to find something.

On top of all that Anglet gets you within striking distance of cool Biarritz. You can head there to hit the Biarrtiz surf spots or just chillax with the jet setters in the grand spa hotels and elegant cocktail joints. Capbreton sits to the north, offering more classic Landes-style beach breaks a la Hossegor. There’s just so much surfing to get through.

Anglet VVF surf spot

Where is Anglet?

Anglet is the next town up from Biarritz. It’s actually joined at the hip to that famous coastal getaway. A part of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques department, it’s one of the last towns on the Basque Coast before you hop into Landes (another famous surf region). The nearest major city is actually San Sebastian in Spain. Bordeaux is also close – it’s under two hours’ drive to the north-west.

A guide to the Anglet surf spots

One reason that surfing Anglet has become so darn popular is the sheer variety of breaks on offer in the town. Upwards of 11 named spots exist, across just a short section of the Basque coast north of Biarritz. Let’s take a look at all the ones you need to know about…

Capbreton

The rugged area around Capbreton is the northernmost surf sector in Anglet. It’s not, strictly speaking, part of the town’s 11 breaks, so you’re looking at making a journey here in the car. Intermediates and pros might want to do that to chase the big overheads that come in the winter, not to mention the fast, hollow tube rides that are common off the breakwaters. Paddling is hard, so it’s no beginner haven.

Check out our full guide to the surf in Capbreton right now

La Barre

La Barre was once one of the most iconic surf spots on the Bay of Biscay – something of a rite of passage for would-be pros to cut their teeth on. But that was long ago. The construction of a series of groins in the water has really tamed the wave of the 1960s. It’s still a goer, but is generally considered more of a backup spot for when the swells are ultra-big elsewhere. Look to surf it at low tide or on the turn with swells of up to 3m.

Les Cavaliers

What a difference a jetty makes, eh? Literally just over the wave breaks from La Barre sits Les Cavaliers. It’s arguably the most famous break in the line up of Anglet surf spots. Not always working, but a corker when it does, it can offer up some pretty hardcore double and triple overheads that tube up beautifully. Conditions needed: NW swells and mid-tide. Sandbanks govern the spot so lefts, rights and closeouts come depending on where the storms have left the bay underneath.

Dunes & Océan

This duo of spots spreads down the north-west facing coastline in front of the Chiberta golf course. They are just a tad little less accessible – and known – as their neighbours, which can keep the line up count down. Sandbank peaks are the order of the day. Lefts, rights, and the occasional A-frame when it’s a head-on NW swell with big periods and SE offshores. Mainly best for escaping the crowds.

Madrague

Madrague is another sandbank break that shifts around loads thanks to the jetties and their constant currents. You really never know what you’re going to get. Still, the NW orientation means it’s quite reliable. Low to mid tide is best, because it can roll flat at high. On medium swells, you can find some glassy peaks that are rippable, usually from left to right. Some barrels.

La Corsaires

La Corsaires is a really peaky beach break that’s dominated by several jetties. They wedge up the water as it comes into the bay for fast and sometimes hollow drop ins going right and left. Prone to closeouts and with lots of rips, it’s a foamer’s favourite. Good days see some nice tubes.

Marinella

Marinella has become something of the beginner spot extraordinaire on the Anglet surf scene. Don’t be surprised if you end up on the whitewash here on your surf camp or first surf lesson. The ease of access, closeness to the town’s youth hostel, and relatively protected breaks (thanks, jetties) make it a good option. When swells kick in in winter, the Marinella groins can organise the sandbanks to give fast right-hand tubes. But it’s fickle here, so make sure you check it from the carpark first.

Sables D’Or

Sables D’Or is the anchor of the town, and the first place you’re likely to survey when you hop out of the surf van at the carpark. It’s a classic Basque wave to boot. Jetties shape up the seafront, sandwiching any NW swells into a neat wedge that goes left and right. The lefts are faster and can be pits when working. The rights are mellower, fatter and rippable, lovely for getting on the frontside. Always busy in peak season (summer). Some strong rips.

Club

Club – or Le Club as some of the locals say – is all about the barrelling left-hander breaks that can wall up on westerlies. Fantastic when it’s going, they are fast and unforgiving rides powered by the sandbanks. Doesn’t hold up so well as the northern breaks, which means 1.5-2m is really ideal and the top end here. Localism can be an issue, because these are Anglet’s most sought-after waves.

VVF

Some people say that VVF is actually the northernmost of the Biarritz surf spots. We’ve included it here, because it’s on the north side of the lighthouse. Whatever you think, it’s a neat little break that offers good consistency. Well sheltered by the headland, it has protection from dead-on westerly swells, which hit the point and make nice, long lefts when they’re between 1-2 metres.

Biarritz

Biarritz surf spots are some of the most famous surf spots in France. They start just to the south of Anglet and offer something for all levels. It’s not hard to move from one town to the other, so we’d recommend having these on your radar. The best-known options include the Grande Plage, which has wedges right in front of the town’s iconic grand hotels, and La Cote des Basques, an all-level spot that only works on low to mid tide.

Check out our full guide to surfing in Biarritz

Where to stay when surfing Anglet

Get nice and close to the waves on your holiday surfing in Anglet this year, all with these hotel recommendations near the breaks…

Spotsleeping ($)

Ah, we love the look of Spotsleeping. Just 500 metres from the reliable waves of VVF, it’s a budget surfer’s dream. Bunk beds and dorms meet a cool communal area that has outdoor seating and table football. It’s the classic meet-and-mingle sort of Euro hostel. Loads of fun. Great for meeting surf buddies.

Mac Croskey Apartment ($$)

Officially in Biarritz but closer to surfing Anglet than to the Basque’s chic hotspot, the Mac Croskey Apartment is a doozy of an option for groups who like self-catering and a little extra space. A gorgeous, breezy lounge opens to sweeping views of the Atlantic Ocean, while VVF’s reliable waves are just down the headland.

Atlanthal ($$$)

This stylish resort is nestled close to the river mouth and the golf courses around the less-busy northern breaks of Anglet. That means you’ll be secluded, just you and the Atlantic, in luxury suites surrounded by manicured fairways. Great for surfing in Capbreton and La Barre, Atlanthal also has it’s own stunning outdoor pool. Nice.

When to surf in Anglet

Anglet isn’t hailed as a French surf mecca for nothing. It’s got some of the most consistent conditions on the Bay of Biscay, helped along by a NW orientation and big beaches with jetties. Swell magnet alert! Despite the fact you should encounter surfable days most months of the year, the seasons can really change how things look.

Beach and waves in Anglet

Summer (June-August)

Summer sees the Anglet surf get packed out with beginners and French domestic travelers and all sorts of holidaymakers. This isn’t the time to come if you’re after empty lineups and waves to yourself. It’s also not the time to come if you want hardcore Basque barrels. The reason? The Angelt surf forecast goes quiet in the warmer months. Atlantic storms dip away and conditions can sometimes simply be too flat to surf. When thy do kick off, it’s usually chest- or head-high and perfect for starters or practicing intermediates.

  • Wear: 2mm wetsuit, shortie, boardshorts & rashvest

Winter (November-March)

We’re not gonna’ lie – the winter’s on the Basque Coast can be brutal. Big winter weather systems unleash on the west coast here to bring quite gnarly conditions. It’s hardly a wonder that these months are a favourite among the region’s most serious surfers, with La Barre and Club firing on all cylinders with those direct westerlies. However, winter can have some clear, crisp, windless days (although they are rare). The bonus of chasing those is that you’ll have powerful groundswell surf and hardly any crowds.

  • Wear: 4/3 + booties, gloves and hood

Autumn (September-October)

Lots of locals in Anglet thing the autumn is the best season of all to get in the water. We’re tempted to agree. There’s something about the cross-Atlantic swells in October that make them more fun than their spring counterparts. On top of that, you get a mix of mega overheads and tamer waves, meaning you might just be able to ride all the breaks of Anglet throughout your stay. Crowds are also down, which means emptier breaks all over.

  • Wear: 2mm or 3/2 wetty

Spring (April-May)

Spring is like winter-lite in French Bay of Biscay surf country. The tail end of Gulf Stream systems still buffets some hefty swells into the region, particularly in March. However, they are tempered by increasing water temperatures, dropping winds, and – most importantly – the settling of the sandbanks. Waves become much less fickle and unpredictable all throughout Anglet and Biarrtiz. It’s a good time to surf for improving intermediates looking for lots of variety.

  • Wear: 3/2, but bring boots, gloves and hood just in case
French coast waves

Surf shops in Anglet

There are plenty of surf shops in Anglet. Aside from big branded outlets for names like Rip Curl, you’ll find some lovely locally owned spots like…

WAIMEA Surf Shop

Boards burst from this welcoming surf emporium right by the break at Sables D’Or. Seriouisly, there aren’t many better places to pick your new toy for a sesh in Aglet. The stock includes all sorts of shaped and pop-out brand boards – Pyzel, Lost, Channel Islands etc. The folk can offer great advice to boot.

Rainbow Surf Shop

The Rainbow Surf Shop might be a little further back from the beachfront, but its range of goodies makes up for the drive. Look for the bright orange building flanked by lanky palm trees. Inside is an abundance of boards and wetsuits, surf hardware and leashes – you name it!

Best places to eat in Anglet

The best eateries in Anglet tend to occupy fantastic locations right by the Atlantic. So, get ready to dine to the sound of the waves…

CAO ($$$)

Fine Basque Country cuisine with a twist of creativity courtesy of the Middle East – that’s the name of the game over in CAO. It’s a highly rated restaurant that might cost some extra euro but promises to deliver on quality.

Le Café Bleu ($$)

Enjoy a coffee and croissant at Le Café Bleu and you’ll be able to check the surf on the breaks of Sables D’Or and Club while you drink. Hearty Atlantic-inspired dishes are there for lunch, including fresh-caught grilled fish and charcuterie platters.

Le Sunset ($)

Eat with your feet in the sand – that’s the joy of Le Sunset. Located just by where the waves roll in from Marinella, it’s got a menu of Mediterranean surf and turf, French moules and frites, and cheese-packed salads for the veggies. Seriously awesome views!

Things to do when you’re not surfing in Anglet

Surfing Anglet can get tiring, but that’s okay. There are lots of other things to get up to when the waves dip or the hamstrings don’t fancy another dawnie.

Biarritz

Biarritz

No trip to this part of France could possibly be complete without a visit to Biarritz. It’s the region’s chicest destination, with beautiful beaches and stylish hotels that have welcomed A-listers in the past. It’s also a surf mecca in it’s own right, so you might want to take the board along for the ride.

Bayonne

Bayonne

A mere 15 minutes in the car is enough to trade Anglet’s waves for this handsome river-straddling town. Make straight for the neighbourhood of Grand Bayonne, which has a maze of medieval streets and beautiful centuries-old architecture. It’s your chance to taste some Basque culture between hitting the barrels.


Check out our complete guide to surfing in France

We’d love to hear any additions you may have to this guide to surfing Anglet – spot tips, eateries, places to stay! Just drop your ideas in the comments below to share with other readers.

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