Art HouseB & B in Ericeira
“The southern part of Landes benefits from the deep submarine canyon that cuts through the continental shelf of the Bay of Biscay, pointing directly at the town of Hossegor. Known as the “Fosse de Capbreton” this swell-focusing trench (or ‘gouf’) is the reason that Hossegor has forged a reputation for being one of the best beach breaks on the planet. Up to 3m, Hossegor’s beaches deliver exceptionally powerful, perfect peaks, often very close to shore and invariably hollow. When conditions conspire, spitting barrels can be spied far into the distance in either direction, spreading groups of surfers away from the main access points. On the downside, currents and longshore drift can be brutal, sandbars are constantly shifting, paddling-out channels are scarce, tidal ranges are large and wind protection is almost non-existent. However, none of these factors have deterred the ever-growing crowds of riders and surf companies that call Hossegor home, helped by the fact that this corner of Europe’s Atlantic coast has the warmest water temps, allowing up to 4 months of rubberless surfing. Southern Landes is close to being a year-round destination, although big, cold beach breaks at La Nord are not everyone’s idea of fun. Summer and autumn are the picks as the W-NW winds are at their lightest and the weather and water at their warmest” STORMRIDER
“I came to stay at the bodysurf house and its location is unreal. It’s big and spacious, clean and with all of the amenities that you’d want. Beds are comfortable and the showers are good. I’ll definitely stay here next time the surf is good. Thanks!”
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The 230km (145mi) of coastline called the Côte d’Argent is the longest uninterrupted stretch of sandy beach in Europe. Here, swells are focused on to the coast by the deep-water canyon (called the “Gouf”), which juts in towards the coast off Hossegor and are shaped by well-defined sand formations into top-quality beach breaks. Aside from the many small rivers and streams, which flow into the Bay of Biscay and shape the sand bars, there are some unusual formations called ‘baines’ – circular ‘lagoons’ of sand in the line-up, created by currents refracting and eddying off the Gouf. These bathymetric features combine to yield perfect, super-hollow beach break surf when conditions (swell, tide, and wind) are right. On the down side, there are few channels through the surf along the Côte d’Argent, so swells over 6-8ft tend to close out. Also, decent sandbars are likely to be washed away by major storms, so continual surf-checks are necessary to see which banks are working best. Add to this the fact that these breaks are heavily influenced by tide, and you have a situation where every day is a new day along the Cote d’Argent!
When to Go
Since the Côte d’Argent faces west, it receives very consistent high-latitude W-NW swells, which can reach up to 15ft. However, the angle of the coastline is not so good for the area’s dominant NW winds. As a cold front approaches, winds usually clock around from the SW to WNW, and storms, even in summer, are common. As storm cells pass over, the surf can remain blown out for several days with wet and windy conditions making the whole place a little depressing. On the other hand, when a high pressure system sits over the land, you will enjoy light offshore winds in the morning (about a third of the time), followed by a moderate NW seabreeze that blows from noon until dusk. Tide ranges can reach 14ft/4.5m on spring tides, and any sandbar can go from ugly mush to perfect peak in the space of an hour. Tide charts are essential on this stretch of coast, where the tide factor rules!