Types of Surfers You'll Meet in Biarritz, France's Surfing Capital

Millie Woodcock / © Culture Trip
Millie Woodcock / © Culture Trip
Photo of Jennifer Migan
14 December 2017

Biarritz is not just a nice place to surf; it is the place to surf in Europe. Surfers from all over the world come to have the luxury to ride in the Bay of Biscay. And with a such a large crowd comes a large array of people. Meet the different types of surfers you’ll run into if you hang out in the Basque region.

The local

You will immediately recognize him/her by his/her knowledge of the cool spots in the area and by the suspicious look he/she will give you when you dare to step on his/her turf. Make sure to respect the surf etiquette (especially the “one surfer, one wave” golden rule ), or you will he/she will make you understand that you are no longer welcome at his/her beach.

Millie Woodcock / | © Culture Trip

The surf teacher

If most of them have another job during the year, summer is definitely the prime time for surf teachers. Used to deal with the wannabes and mediocre surfers who are not realistic about their aptitudes year after year, they can fake enthusiasm better than anyone.They are often very tempted to speak their mind, but they also remember that teaching surf is a very competitive market and that another teacher would be happy to replace him/her and celebrate your errands in the water.

The wannabe

Wannabe surfers are often people who have watched surf classic movies such as The Endless Summer or Point Break, and who suddenly develop a passion for surfing. They buy all the equipment and often spend loads of money of boards they are not good enough to ride and are very eager to show that they are familiar with the jargon (which actually makes them look amateurish). After a few lessons, they often think that it’s time to test their skills in spots reserved for experienced surfers. Most of the time, they come to their senses and end up watching the ones who know what they are doing or if they are stubborn, run into “the locals,” who are not so happy with that.

Millie Woodcock / | © Culture Trip

The pros

The pros are very interesting to watch. If you are a beginner, you might learn a thing or two by watching how it should be done, which can be a great source of motivation…or discouragement (it’s all about the mindset right?). The pros are dedicated to their sport; when you come to the beach in the wee hours of the day after a night out, they will already be fully engaged in a session. If you run into them in one of the cool surfers’ hangouts in town, they might look like they hate getting too much attention, but don’t be fooled, they love it.

The super gifted kids

If you are a struggling surfer battling with self-esteem issues, seeing very talented kids effortlessly acing all the figures you have been trying (and failing miserably) to do for days might not help your confidence. It seems that those kids were born in the ocean as they look to be always in control and stress-free when they paddle to the break or jump in the ocean. The fact that some of these children are still in primary school might crush your ego even more. It is okay if you hate them.

Millie Woodcock / | © Culture Trip

The purists

Like any discipline, you always run into these people who take commitment to another level. The “purists” are surfers who don’t consider surfing as a sport or a hobby (don’t you ever dare pronounce that word in front of a purist) but as a way of life. They are living in a Volkswagen van (because being attached to materialistic things such as a home is wrong) and they won’t miss an opportunity to be condescending to those who “don’t get it.” When you dig a little, you realize that they hide behind their obnoxious behavior to mask a real insecurity.

The model

Probably the most annoying person you would come across, the model is that guy/gal who looks like he/she is coming straight out from a photoshoot. The model makes sure that there are enough people at the beach before making an entrance because he/she wants to be sure that you will stare at his/her perfect tan, flawless face, and perfect genes with great envy. And many times, the model is not just good looking, he/she can surf too.

Millie Woodcock / | © Culture Trip

The old gun

A mix between the model and the pro, the old gun doesn’t want to come to terms with the fact that his/her prime has passed. Although he/she is still in fairly good shape, he/she now needs to tuck his stomach in so his/her small belly doesn’t show. He/she will try to impress younger girls by showing up at the cool spots and bragging about the fact he/she is friends with the owner (another middle-aged man) and that he/she knows all the best and unknown spots in the region. You probably would too if you had been around for many years.

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