Hendaye is probably the best place to learn to surf along the southwest coast of France. If you are looking for rapid progress in safe conditions, the huge beach and mellow wave are perfect. And in town there are lots of decent surf shops and surf schools.
Hendaye is sheltered from the wind and large swells, and the waves are on average half the size they are further north in more exposed spots. And the beach is huge, so there's plenty of room to learn without the local pro wiping out.
Hendaye is the perfect playground for beginner surfers, the waves are rarely too big and the shallow beach takes the grunt out of the swell that allows you to surf under a wide variety of conditions. In fact, when the swell is too small, like less than a meter, the only time you can't surf in Hendaye is. There are lots of surf schools in Hendaye, including some operating throughout the year, with board hire and professional instruction to take you all the way to cut-back perfection from your first sketchy pop-ups.
Hendaye also has a lot to offer to advanced surfers. Its sheltered location in the Bay of Biscay armpit means you're going to get clean waves here when it's too big or blown out anywhere else along the coast. There is a spot called Les Deux Jumeaux at the northern end of the beach (named after the 2 big rock stacks just off the beach) that will love longboarders and SUP riders.
Expert surfers will want to check out a reef break from the headland just north of Hendaye known as Vanthrax. It's a huge barrel left over a rocky bottom hundreds of meters from the shore that works only in a particularly large swell.
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