Chasing the surf on the west coast of Spain

For a long time I’ve always dreamed to live free, surfing everyday, not giving a shit and enjoying the simple things in life. It sat in the back of my mind for a long time. I’m sitting here on a hill overlooking a Spanish beach in a place I can’t pronounce, listening to the waves crashing in front of me, thinking back on the hard times to get here. The hustle and bustle of big city life, day in day out, slugging away to live for the weekends. Well now I can say I worked my ass off to get here and dam it feels good. 

We’ve driven our new home Cassy all the way from London, miles and miles of highway, coastal roads and small towns to finally stop off in Hossegor for 2 nights, where I bought a surfboard and we got settled into the van life. Next, we hit the road ready for some sun and surf along the western coast of Spain. (Heading back to Hossegor for the Quicksilver Pro so blog post to come then.) Here’s some of the surf spots we hit along the way, chuck these on the bucket list and you wont be dissapointed. 

San Sebastián – This being our first stop we headed for a nice looking campground and set up camp. A beautiful city which quite obviously thrives off the many people who flock there for the warmer months. I managed to get a few solid surfs there, once in the morning and once in the evening.  As the swell for the whole coast was looking a bit bleak, I wasn’t expecting too much. For every surfer with a new board, getting in the water no matter what is a must. So up early we headed for the beach. The weather not looking too flash, Leah relaxed in the van while I chucked on my wettie and got out there. Pretty standard beach break, I surfed mostly to the “northern end” by the car park. Breaking left and right, a bit of variety was nice. Being September the water was a little bit chilly so I was rocking the 3/2 wettie. I surfed this same spot in the afternoon about 3 hours before sunset. As it’s the west coast you get light pretty much until the sun is beyond the horizon. Great vibes here although the locals get a bit vocal even if they drop in on YOU. Don’t let it put you off, just yell “OLY OLY OLY” and they’ll soon see you. San Sebastián blog for the tourist side of things coming soon. Note: if your taking your board on the bus, you need a board cover, we found this out the hard way.

Zarautz – About 30 mins out of San Sebastián you find this beach. Regretfully, we didn’t stop here (too many miles to cover) but as we drove past it looked like it was on. Down the southern end of the beach, the waves were peeling from the coast road back into the town, it looked epic! and if your Mrs loves to take photos like mine does, plonk them on the wall by the coast road and get snapping. Some good waves to be had and a great spot for that perfect photo. Stop in on your way if you can, its a pretty sweet town. We’ve been told this beach can get real crowed just a heads up.

Zumaia – 15 mins along the coast road from Zarautz is Zumaia. Again we didn’t stop for a surf as we had ground to cover but it also looked like a good place to stop off for a wave. A few more what looked like locals out here (not many though), the beachy had a few spots to surf it. Plenty of room to chill on the beach, have a feed and enjoy the sun, this place would be a good stop in the road.

Mundaka – After hearing about this place from a few different people and seeing it written as one of the best spots in Europe, we decided we’d camp up for the night. We spotted a campground on the way in called Camping Portuondo. It had good facilities and the 10 minute walk into town where the break is which wasn’t so bad after the packet of biscuits we’d scoffed down on the drive there. 

Being the middle of September the town was  not as pumping as we probably expected. We walked into town, board under the arm at about 4:30pm. Theres a reserve kind of thing to the right of the marina where people watch the surfers. It’s very similar to Manu bay in Raglan where you can literally sit there and watch the left hand point peel away from you. I paddled out from the marina, hugging the rocks and soon enough was out in the lineup. 15 or so people out there with me, it was looking good. 3-4 ft on the sets (depending on how you judge a wave size, to me 3-4ft is a solid size) and the point was working. Ride the wave in then paddle up the left hand side hugging the rocks back into the lineup. I somehow missed the memo and paddled towards the rocks to get out, luckily only a few cuts on my feet, I managed to save my board from getting banged up. This place is a must if you’re looking for some solid consistent waves and the photo below just doesn’t do it justice. The locals were friendly enough although my Spanish is minimal at the moment. 

Los Locos – Picking a random spot which we’d heard had surf, we decided to chill here for the night. We parked up above Los Locos beach and set up camp. A mint spot for free camping, reasonably quiet and close to the beach. This beach reminded me of my younger days learning to surf. It’s almost the same as Maori bay on the west coast in Auckland. You can watch the surf from above on the hill and halfway down there’s a mint Grassy noll to chill on. Once again plonk the Mrs on the grass and get the fuck in the water. The wave here is pretty gnarly, it sucks up nicely over the banks and barrels are on. Not too many people out for such a nice spot so we were happy. There’s even a walk out to the point in the hill which looks out into the vast Atlantic Ocean, you can see the swell pulsing in from far in the distance. Check it out if you’re heading that way. 

Praia de Catedrais – Although there wasn’t any real surf spot here, we decided to check it out as we’d seen good things on Instagram. It’s basically a beach with rock formations, which brings tourists from all over to literally hit the beach and grab some amazing snaps of earths natural architecture. It was very similar to cathedral cove on the Coromandel of NZ. Be sure to book your place in the line as it gets busy and they only let a certain amount of people through per day. Don’t worry, the free admission is worth it and if you be patient like we we’re, you’ll get some quality photos without any other people photo bombing you. Definitely on the to do list.

Praia de Longada – After a few hours of being tourists, we got back in the old girl “Cassy” and headed down the coast towards a place called Foz. Along this part of the coast you really start to feel like your out of the populated area and now can begin to truly relax. Plenty of places to park up on the beach, literally right on the edge looking out into the ocean. When the swell comes in here it’s a great spot to surf all along the coast. It’s a Saturday morning right now and there’s 10 people out on the beach were at. Not bad in my opinion. It’s a perfect spot for van lifers like us, there’s a small comunity of people all here for the same reasons. If your heading along this coastline, keep your eyes peeled, your sure to find a spot which suits you even if it’s only for a quick stop.

It almost feels surreal sitting here writing about these amazing places. The coastline is definitely different to what we expected, a lot of huge cliff faces and rock formations but all the more reason to check it out. As the sun starts to rise we’ve decided that’s enough of Spain for now, we’re headed for Portugal, where there’s plenty more surf and sun to come. Keeps your eyes peeled (pun intended) for the Portugal surf blog to come. After an epic week down the coast, we say Adios Volveremos, goodbye, we will be back.

Shaka
Bryn | free & addicted

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