Guethary is a real surfing territory in the Basque Country, with its rocky coves, reefs, large waves and spectacular landscapes wherever you look. In the heart of the French Basque Country, between Biarritz and Saint-Jean-de-Luz, Guéthary is an old fishing port that will charm you.
It is also a paradise for advanced surfers with big wave spots, such as the world famous Parlementia, the left of the Alycons and the Avalanche wave offshore holding the very big winter swells. On big surf days, these beaches are a place of sensations and a guaranteed spectacle for both practitioners and spectators.
All year round, we come to pick you up and take you to the best spot to teach you how to surf and help you progress at the pace of the conditions.
For beginners, we will mainly go to the beaches of Bidart because as good professionals we are zero-risk enthusiasts and will go to sandy beaches because the waves of Guéthary are formed mainly on the rocks and the ideal conditions are more difficult to obtain.
In addition to safety, these sandy beaches offer significant comfort for learning to surf when we go there on the 3-hour window before and after low tide:
Probably more than anywhere else on the French Atlantic coast, the best time of year to surf in Guéthary is winter. From December to March, the big waves follow one another, so there are more opportunities to surf there than at any other time of the year.
Parlementia is considered as one of the first spots of big waves in France. You will find the wave a few hundred meters from the coast, just north of the village of Guéthary. Expect to get your longest board because it is a long 10 to 15 minute paddle to reach this powerful right. The take off is actually quite soft, the wave does not generate a chop as in Belharra, so you need a lot of rowing speed and a good command to descend your face. This is why it is so popular among longboarders and increasingly among SUPs. The wave then stiffens with a beautiful hollow and fast section that then throws you to the end of the shoulder.
It’s a big wave that only suits experienced surfers. And up close, it’s usually much bigger than it looks from the beach. The size of the wave combined with the rocky bottom and the long paddle to reach the peak means that you must be fully engaged before entering the water.
Parlementia is a large wave spot known all over the world. On the right days, Parlementia can produce huge waves of up to 5 metres. It is a popular spot for surfers of large local waves, especially in winter when the swell is larger and more regular. The ridge offers a long right, then a reform closer to the shore, and a shorter, faster, hollow left. This wave therefore requires a minimum of knowledge and skills. Parlementia is not a spot for beginners but can be surfed by intermediaries under certain conditions.
This mythical place requires a minimum of commitment and above all respect for its wave but also for its practitioners
Unlike Parlementia, this reef break is quite close to the coast. It takes a good northwest swell to make it work, but when it works, it’s a very nice wave. There is only one peak that works on the left, so the crowd at the line up quickly becomes quite competitive. The Alcyons surf better at high tide and become dangerous at low tide due to strong currents and rocky bottom.
Les Alcyons is the wave that lies just in front of the pier of the same name, about 200 m south of Parlementia. It is a reef breach that begins to operate when the swell exceeds 1.5 meters and the spot can contain a wave up to 3 or 4 meters. The wave is a fast and hollow left with a good drop on the big days. At low tide, you can feel the water sliding over the shallow rocky bottom, so you need to be in shape and know what you are doing to be here. This is not a place for beginners. The peak is well defined and the wait between sets is notoriously long, so it’s not funny when there are too many surfers.
It is immediately 20 minutes of exhausting rowing to reach this legendary spot of big waves behind the Alcyons jetty. You don’t just need to be in shape to row – when Avalanche walks, it can give you up to 7 metres of waves, so you need to be at the top of your commitment in every respect. The spot works best at low tide in a south-south-west swell and a light earth wind. The wave is growing rapidly and the fall can be quite intense, but once you are in the bottom turn, you have time to pull yourself together before the wave deepens properly. Reserved for experienced surfers, you will have to earn your place in the line up.
Avalanche is both mysterious and terrifying. It is a favourite terrain for surfers of large waves in the Basque Country who like to surf with their guns in huge winter swells. Located a few hundred metres beyond the Alcyons, the wave begins to walk in a swell of more than 2.5 metres and can contain a wave in a swell of more than 5 metres. The day Avalanche operates, it is simply massive and it is at the same level as Belharra, just down the coast. If you don’t want to surf, and there’s no shame in that, it’s still worth coming to Guethy to enjoy the show.
Located at the southern end of Guéthary and just south of Avalanche, Cenitz is a serene surf spot and the only real option in Guéthary for beginners and intermediate riders. The attractive bay and relaxed atmosphere make it a pleasant place to spend the day. Some different peaks serve the left and right. Cenitz is a fun little wave spot for everyone, but if you’re just starting to surf at an intermediate level and you’re not afraid of rocks you’ll be in your element. However, there are a few rocks to know!
There are two waves: a left at the southern end of the bay and a right at the northern end. The left one is perfect for longboarders because it is quite smooth and the route is good and long. The right is a little faster and more hollow and will be more suitable for shortboarders. As everywhere in Guéthary, you still have to be careful with the rocks when entering and leaving the water.