For many UK surfers, the pilgrimage to South-West France and the Basque Country to find waves, cheap wine and chicks is an important one. For me, the drive south from Scotland is as perennial as the wind and offers a brief bit of respite from the colder Scottish waters. I’ve been visiting regularly ever since I lived there and it remains one of my favourite places in the world – to surf, live and explore in a van.
So why should you visit the Basque country on a surf trip? For me, it is hard to find anywhere else where you can combine great culture, great people, great food, wine and fantastic waves so easily. Surf goes flat? Why not go wine tasting in the paradise of French wine near Bordeaux or go abstract in the epic Guggenheim museum in Bilbao. Perhaps this is also what makes a surf trip to South West France and Northern Spain so appealing for any surfer travelling with a non-surfing partner in tow – as I did for the first time this Easter.
What follows is going to be some of my favourite notes taken from my little black book of surf over the last couple of weeks. This isn’t going to be a competition with your Stormrider Guide. Nope, rather than go spot by spot and wave by wave I’m going to try and give a flavour of some of my personal favourite things along the route which can help you surf and not surf, covering some of my favourite regions (no secret spots I promise!) and what to do away from the beach. Hopefully it will give some texture to life on the road in the area and inspire you to hit the autoroute and take off to the Basque Country on a surf trip.
I hope you enjoy it…
To follow the full journey: