With its many surfing opportunities, the city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz, south of Guethary, attracts surfers from all walks of life, especially when the waves are too big on the beaches further north. If you surf regularly and dream of a long right hand to do long carves and other manoeuvres, then you must go to Lafitenia. This famous reef (rock spot) can offer long surfs with nice sections that allow good curves, for vertical tricks!
In the bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz itself, there are two exceptional surf spots: Sainte Barbe in the north and La Bougie near Socoa. These two spots operate in large swells and can be a good option in winter when the surrounding beaches are saturated. These are fall-back spots!
You should also make the most of the place when you are out of the water. Saint-Jean-de-Luz is a dream seaside town and the most Basque of the seaside resorts in the region. Stroll along the Bay and the Nivelle, and round the port of St Jean de Luz with its traditional fishing boats painted in traditional green and red. Take a homemade ice cream in one of the Lopez Ice Cream vans scattered around town, or stop for a seafood lunch at the market or directly from a fresh fish at the Port’s auction.
July and August is the festival season in Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Expect Basque style sporting events, Fuego Bulls, Festivals (Tuna and Sardine) and lots of traditional music.
We pick you up and take you to the best spot to learn how to surf and improve. In summer, you will enjoy the Bidart spots for your surf lessons.
The waves of Saint Jean de Luz are mainly formed on the rocks, so we take intermediate surfers there.
For beginners, we will mainly go to the beaches of Bidart because as a good professional 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:
The surf spots in the Bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz only work when a large northwest swell hits the harbour wall. This occurs most often between September and April. The beaches north of the Bay of Saint-Jean-de-Luz operate all year round. Again, a northwest swell is preferable. Add to that a moderate southeast wind and you have an exceptional surfing session.
The beaches of Saint-Jean-de-Luz can become quite complicated in winter. If you are learning to surf, you should try to be here between May and September – the waves are softer for beginners and the water is warm and pleasant.
Our favourite time of year is September because most summer vacationers have returned home and there are fewer people in the water. The water is still good and warm and you tend to have a little more swell than in July and August.
In summer we take the surfing apprentices to Bidart, the rest of the time we move between Bidart, Saint Jean de Luz and Hendaye.
South of Guéthary and north of Lafiténia is the picturesque Mayarco beach. The spot operates in a west/northwest swell, but the wave is not terrible – it tends to close quickly and lacks power. However, there is a surfable peak at both ends of the bay and the lineup is much less crowded than the surrounding spots, which makes it a good option if you are just starting. To get there, follow the direction of Acotz and follow the Route des Plages until you reach the Tamaris Plages campsite, which overlooks the beach.
Mayarco is a cool place for beginners, ideal for a relaxed surf in a beautiful environment. There is a short walk to the beach, but when you first set your eyes on the spot, you will be amazed by the beauty of the place. For surfing, it is unlikely that you will find the best waves of your trip, but the setting itself is worth it. If you are looking for a place to spend a sunny afternoon on the beach with friends and a little surfing, Mayarco is perfect for that. There is a parking lot along the Beach Road behind the beach. The Bar Restaurant Bibam with a view of the beach makes excellent hamburgers and cocktails.
Lafitenia is a straight line in point break that works best in a west or north swell with a south wind. When the conditions are good, you can string long straight lines one after the other. The only disadvantage of the place is that it is often crowded, especially at lunchtime when surfers from Quiksilver‘s neighboring offices rush en masse to the spot. To get there, park in the parking lot of the Route des Plages and follow the Chemin de Lafitenia until you reach the beach.
Lafitenia is the most famous right wing in the Basque Country. This beautiful wave is renowned worldwide for the length of the ride, which can reach hundreds of meters in a good day. The take off can be quite radical, but once in the wave, there is a nice wall to play with to link a few turns and perform many manoeuvres.
Immediately south of Lafitenia, Erromardie beach is popular with tourists and surfers who flock to nearby campsites. The bottom is a mixture of sand and rocks and with a southwest swell, the spot reveals a long left that begins at the southern end of the bay and leads into a beautiful wall to the central section of the beach. Off the promontory at the northern end of the bay, there is a break point that can give huge straight lines when conditions are favourable, but beware of the rocks, some have left their willingness to ride the heavy… You will find many car parks along the Chemin d’Erromardie which runs along the beach.
Erromardie is a superb beach that is quite quiet out of season. You can surf here, but it is not very regular and the rocks make it very dangerous, especially at low tide. When it works, there is an easy left that lacks a little punch and is the only option for beginners. For the right at the other end of the bay it is only good at high tide and you can put big tubes on it on sunny days…. But, because of the rocks and the premises, it is reserved for expert surfers.
Sainte Barbe is an ideal place if the nearby beaches are saturated. It needs a westerly swell to work well, but when it does, it’s a nice long right. The first section of the wave is intense, but then you are in a nice wall where you can do a few good manoeuvres. This spot is popular with longboarders and SUPs who can take it earlier for long wrinkles and more and more by Foils.