The Ultimate Guide to Gijon Surf

by Nuno D'Angelo

Check out the Gijon surf scene, which has some urban beach breaks but also the famous spots of greater Asturias.

Gijon surfing at a glance

The good

  • This is a fun city
  • Urban beaches that work occasionally
  • A gateway to the rest of Asturias

The bad

  • Small swell window because it’s sheltered to the west
  • Need a car to get to the best breaks
  • Some pollution in the water

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 Spain

What’s in this guide to Gijon surf?

An introduction to Gijon surf

Gijon surf

The thing about Gijon is that it almost faces east into the Bay of Biscay. That’s not a good recipe for reliable waves, most of which cruise W and NW through this corner of Europe on the same channels that fire up places like Biarritz and San Sebastian. But the locals make the most of the hand they’ve been dealt. They know the precise conditions that can get San Lorenzo Beach in the town itself working (clue: It’s hardly ever in summertime). And they’re not averse to cruising either west to catch the more exposed surf of Asturias, or east into the famous land of the Basque Country.

We’d say this: Gijon is a lovely town, full of grit and character. However, it’s not the place to base yourself on a full-on Spanish surf trip. There are waves to be had but they don’t come as easy as other regions in the north. On the flip side, travelers looking to dine on pintxos tapas and explore an travelling Asturian coastal town with just a touch of surfing on the side can’t go wrong.

Those comments aside, Gijon is perfect for getting out to the more fabled points and the beach breaks of the north shore. If you’ve got your own car and are willing to hit the highways (the earlier the better), you can score some sick sets; hollow, clean and challenging on their day.

Where is Gijon?

Gijon – also called Xixón – is the biggest city in the Asturias province of Spain. You’ll find it right on the north coast of the country, hiding behind a big headland that juts out into the Bay of Biscay. It’s about 14 miles (28km) to the north of the provincial capital of Oviedo and roughly 98 miles from the next town along to the east: Santander, in Cantabria.

A guide to the Gijon surf spots

Gijon is placed in the middle of Asturias. That means it’s within reach of some of the very best surfing in Spain as a whole. However, the town suffers from a little inconsistency on the swell front due to its orientation, although some standout options are within 30 minutes driving…

Playa de la Ñora

Playa de la Ñora is a narrow beach flanked by high, classically-Asturian headlands to the east of the city. It’s a north-facing bay that can get some decent wrap-in sets when it’s high in winter. Rocks are the major hazard but waves can be steep A-frame peaks with lefts and rights up for grabs.

Peñarrubia

A few bays over to the east of Gijon (you’re talking something like 10-15 minutes in the car), Peñarrubia offers a fairy good left hander over reef. It need those winter swells to get working, so forget summer trips. Wave can be cruisy and pretty long, and there’s also a shorter right to go with it. Watch out for rocks and reef underfoot, along with bad water quality after storms.

San Lorenzo

San Lorenzo is the spot that puts the Gijon surf on the map. We’re not going to go and say it’s the best in the area. It’s actually nowhere near. The real pull is that it’s smack dab in the heart of the city and has a loyal local following (translate that to localism when it’s on).

The wave works best on a NW winter swell, because there’s pretty hefty shelter to the west by Gijon city an the harbors. When that gets going and a S wind joins the party, you can score some wobbly wedges that can give fun rides on a shortboard. At other times this one’s small and crumbly enough to accommodate the local Gijon surf schools. Generally: Better peaks towards the west of the bay.

Xivares

The first break you’ll encounter if you leave Gijon going north is Xivares. It’s a nice right point that mimics a beach break with its relatively mellow sets on anything that’s under 6 foot. When it goes higher it’s a close out. Lower and you won’t find a trace of surf.

Xago

Xago is one of the premier spots of the whole of Asturias. Gijon surfers know it well, because it’s a mere 30 minutes’ drive to the west of town. What that trip does is effectively broaden the swell window and add exposure on the west swell channel. The result? There’s consistency here that beaches like San Lorenzo can only dream of!

The wave at Xago is a sandbar peak and there are a few of them. Very sensitive to any swell, so will work even in the summer on 2-4 foot if you have to get in the water. The rights are the best and can be big at 6foot with riding off the lip with a good offshore. Pretty fun for all levels.

Essential gear for surf trips to Spain

Wetsuits (men):

  • [SUMMER – April to September] C-Skins Session 3/2 | Again, we’ve focused on the flex when it comes to choosing the right summer suit for Spain. That’s mainly because thermo features can take a back seat when the mercury cranks up here. You’ll need arm coverage to counter the winds, but then you can afford to add features like the Freedom Zip and Xtend 2 neoprene that C-Skins do so well. All very eco-friendly too, which is nice.
  • [WINTER – October to March] Rip Curl E-Bomb E7 4/3mm | The Rip Curl E-Bomb benefits from uber-stretchy E7 neoprene. Boys in the office won’t stop going on about how it’s like surfing in a rash vest. That’s a nice touch on the waves of Basque and Cantabria, which often need a lot of repositioning. The 4/3 should carry you right through the Spanish winter months. A cracking wetsuit.

Wetsuits (women):

  • [SUMMER – April to September] Billabong 302 Synergy 3/2mm Chest Zip Wetsuit (2021) – Blue Seas | The latest Synergy from Billabong has really impressed the European team at The Surf Atlas. The interior has a fleece lining that keeps super toasty but the neoprene is lighter than usual to give you more freedom on those longer sessions. It’s a solid go-to suit for all levels heading to Spain if you ask us. How bout’ that colour too!?
  • [WINTER – October to March] C-Skins 4/3mm Surflite Wetsuit | A 4/3 should see you through all but the coldest days on the Spanish coast. We love this C-Skins model because there’s been a big focus to cut down seams, while the Xtend neoprene offers an extra touch of flex, which is important on the Basque and Asturian breaks where paddling and positioning is key.

SUNSCREEN: Suntribe All Natural Zinc Sunscreen | Do not even think about surfing in Spain without sunscreen. This is one of Europe’s most UV-rich corners. Great for the tan, but surfers shouldn’t risk it. Our block of choice is now the Suntribe because it’s got that all-importnat zinc infusion but is 100% natural and ocean safe.

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 Spain with this combo pack of tropical (for the base) and cool-water wax (for the top coat). It covers everywhere in Spain.

Where to stay when surfing in Gijon

Gijon has some great hotels for surfers. Our pick below showcases the ones that are specifically aimed at those heading to the waves and another choice that puts you in boutique lodgings in the middle of the immersive city.

Gijon Surf Hostel

Surf-hotel-top-pick

Gijon Surf Hostel has a fantastic location for surf travelers – it’s near the breaks on the east side of the town, which get a bit more swell than the urban beaches. It’s also darn fun, with a big garden, a swimming pool, and a vibe that means you’ll have new lineup buddies in no time at all. WE LOVE THIS ONE!!

North SurfHouse

Best for: Getting fit

The North SurfHouse is a fitness retreat near the eastern outskirts of Gijon. It’s a good pick if you’re looking to get back in shape – morning yoga sessions are the norm. There’s also an on-site fitness center.

SUITE 1907 GIJON

Best for: Boutique living

SUITE 1907 GIJON is a stunning aparthotel that’s sat real close to the waves of San Lorenzo Beach. We like it as a base to really immerse yourself in the history and culture of Gijon while doing a little surfing on the side. The whole place is very rich in heritage, with exposed stone walls running throughout.

When to surf in Gijon

Gijon might not have the most reliable surf season in Spain. However, knowing the way the swell works, can help you plan your trip for when it’s at it’s very best…

Gijon surf spots

Summer (June-August)

Flat days are the bane of the summertime surf season in Gijon. Yes, there are days when there’s something ridable, and the good local surf schools will know when and where to squeeze the most out of em’. However, prepare yourself for long droughts. Or, get a car and be ready to drive the Asturian coast in search of spots that are working.

Wear: 2mm

Winter (December-March)

Winter is the time when the NW and W swell channels start rumbling in the Bay of Biscay. Out in the Basque Country and Galicia, that means some real hefty sets. In this part of Asturias, it can tame the swells a little. It’s still the best time for Gijon surf, no questions. The good news is that beginners and intermediates will have more chance of finding something to their liking, although the dominance of reefs and points here counteract that argument a little.

Wear: 4/3, boots and hood for windy days

Autumn (Sept-Nov)

Autumn can either be mild or wild in Asturias. One day the god of the ocean will throw out nice 6-foot+ sets and that will crank up the volume in the sheltered bays around eastern Gijon. Other times it will be flatter than a Spanish flatbread. A surf trip at this time is a risk for those reasons, but we’d recommend bagging a rental car and cruising west to Xago to make the most of it.

Wear: 4/3 and booties

Spring (April-May)

There’s still some punch in the NW storms come April, but things have usually tempered considerably by mid May. That marks the spring as a real transition period for the Gijon surf, with mixed weeks of 5-foot swells and absolute nada. We’ve been here around this time and were actually pretty lucky. Water’s still cold though.

Wear: 4/3 or 3/2 into May. Boots if you’re hitting the reefs

Be sure to check out our gear guides:

Surf shops in Gijon

Forgotten the wax? Not brought the board along? Don’t worry, Gijon has a few great surf shops up its sleeve.

Tables Surf Shop

Tables Surf Shop has been going since 1979. That makes it one of the original Gijon surf shops and one of the first surf shops in the whole of Asturias. They have a cracking range of longboards and shortboards and egg-nose rides, along with surf fashion, sunglasses, flip flops – you name it. Great guys and a must visit. Look for them right on the beachfront.

VITA surfboards

VITA surfboards are definitely one to watch. They’re a young and creative team of Spanish surfers who are channeling the latest tech and using it revolutionize the way we shape boards. They’ve come up with some pretty cool things and would be our go-to choice if you’re getting a custom done in Asturias.

Eating and drinking in Gijon

Gijon – na, the whole of northern Spain – is a true joy for foodies. You’ll be able to fill up on Iberian mezze and cold cerveza when you’re finished with a day of surfing the point breaks. Here are some spots we wouldn’t miss!

Eating

  • Primero Café – Pulling into Primero Café on our way to the beach was one of the highlights of a morning surf trip to San Lorenzo. Speciality brews and lovely beans. A top cuppa’!
  • Taquería Las Calacas – We’re not sure if we’re mad, but we’re in no doubt that Mexican food is just so damn tasty after a day in the salt water. This awesome establishment in old Gijon fed us many a day. Authentic cooking in place you might not expect it!
  • Karan – Karan is all about social eating and some of the best artisan burgers around. Fun and filling.

Drinking

  • The Balance – A super-cool tapas and cocktail bar with a boho vibe, the Balance specialised in slick highballs and crafted drinks. Great place to start when you can still taste what’s in it!
  • Cervecería bar La Mina – Down-to-earth Cervecería bar La Mina is a rollicking nightlife spot for a post-surf beer. They play rock and roll and have cheap beers. What more could you want?

If you’re in-the-know when it comes to Gijon surf and think we’ve missed something in this ultimate guide, be sure to get in touch and let us know. We’re always adding to and updating this guide to make it the very best out there!

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 Spain

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