Surf in San Sebastian: beaches and surf schools

Surf in San Sebastian: beaches and surf schools

San Sebastián is one of the best surfing destinations in the Basque region, a privileged place where you can ride the waves even in winter. Ondarreta, La Concha and La Zurriola are the three key points. Discover in this post all the secrets that San Sebastian offers to surf lovers.

History of surfing in San Sebastián and the Basque Coast

Surfing has a long history on the Basque coast, where boards riding the waves were first seen in the middle of the last century. The first references mention Ignacio Arana, a man from Vitoria who was the Spanish consul in Hawaii. When he returned in 1912, he brought two boards with him to continue practising this sport. Another of the most outstanding milestones came in 1954, after the filming of Fiesta, the film adaptation of Hemingway’s famous book. After filming the San Fermin Festival, the writer and screenwriter Peter Viertel travelled to Biarritz with his board, ready to enjoy the waves. He says he had noticed the surf and thought it would be an excellent place to practice his hobby, and he was not the only one. From that moment, many French people were also attracted by a cocktail that includes spectacular landscapes, big waves and a favourable climate.

San Sebastián Beaches for surfing

Three of Donostia’s beaches are outstanding for water sports. Ondarreta, La Concha and La Zurriola each have different attractions, depending on the plan and the level of surfing experience. The first two are in the bay, being warmer and suitable for beginners. In La Concha, we must highlight the environment, with a location at the foot of Mount Igueldo and the island of Santa Clara, which offers spectacular views. If it is your first foray, it is the perfect place. Pico del Loro and the opposite end are the two hot spots to catch better waves at high tide.

In the western part, next to La Concha, is Ondarreta, which was once very successful and still retains its charm. The break known as Ola del Muro or Wave of the Wall is its main attraction, a hollow and powerful left. The promenade wall makes the waves bounce, especially at high tide, and the show starts. So what are you waiting for to enjoy the beaches in San Sebastián?

Finally, La Zurriola is currently the most famous, since it is more open to the Cantabrian Sea and gives much more sport. In the sight of Mount Ulía and the Kursaal, surfing here is fantastic. The large influx of surfers from around the world testifies to the quality of its waves.

Surfers in San Sebastian

The best time to surf (according to your level of experience)

It is always a good time for expert surfers, but some seasons are more favourable than others, depending on your experience level. If you are taking your first steps in this sport, summer will be the best time. The waves are smaller at this time of year, and the water temperature is more pleasant, at around 20 degrees. If, on the other hand, you are a true expert and want to put your skills to the test, you will have a great time from October to May. The water can be around 11 degrees during the winter, but with the right equipment, this will not be a problem.

Surf Schools

If you have decided to try and discover why this sport gains more followers every year, you are in luck. There is a wide range of surf schools in San Sebastián, the ideal place to start learning this skill. Among the best known are:

  • Pukas
  • Surfing San Sebastián
  • Bera Bera
  • Groseko Surf Eskola
  • Zurriola Surf Eskola

Any of these schools will explain everything you need to know for taking your first steps in surfing in San Sebastián.

Other beaches for surfing in the province of San Sebastian

In addition to the beaches in San Sebastián, there are many others where you can really feel on the crest of the wave. Among the most famous is Zarautz, a true paradise. Other well-known beaches are Getaria, Zumaia and Deba. Each has its own unique charm, but all of them will leave you wanting to return.