Biarritz became France’s first surf town in 1957. In fact, two Americans, Dick Zanuck and Peter Viertel – who had come to the area to shoot a film inspired by Hemingway’s " The sun also rises" – noticed how similar the waves of “Grande Plage” were to the California swell, and they imported France’s first surfboard…
Just six months later, a few Biarritz surf fans began making surfboards and the town’s newspaper published its first surf-related article on September 11th, 1957.
However, Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s surf spots are not exclusively on the Basque Coast. The beaches of Ile d'Oléron, Médoc (Soulac, Carcans Océan, Lacanau) and the Landes area (Biscarrosse, Moliets and Mimizan) are also popular among surfers of all levels. The « French Surf Federation » was founded in Biarritz in 1964, and moved to Hossegor in 1984. There are clubs and schools in all of the Silver Coast’s resorts.
National and international championships take place in Lacanau in Gironde (Lacanau Pro), Hossegor in the Landes (Rip Curl Pro Women puis Men) and Anglet in Pyrénées Atlantiques (O'Neill Surf Challenge).
These board sport competitions prove that surfing has become a true traditional Neo-Aquitaine sport, with its very own clothing brands (Oxbow was born in Gironde in 1985), its folklore and celebrations…
In May of 2017, the ISA World Surfing Games took place in Biarritz, Anglet and Bidart.
Look out Australia, Hawaï and California, here comes New Aquitaine !