Brittany as a surfing destination is easy to miss. Sandwiched between the world-renowned cold water reefs of Ireland and the sweltering beach break barrels of South Western France, surfers often look past this area. Yet, this 1500km long coastline has a swell window that is open to all the Atlantic has available, its surf potential seems to offer a little of something from both its nearby neighbours.
The complexity of the coast offers shelter from the many storms that traverse the Atlantic
The north coast is often shrouded in mist and is dotted with reefs, not unlike its Celtic cousin to the north. Granted the reefs can be fickle and difficult to find among the rough coastline of high cliffs and deep bays, but they are often uncrowded. The complexity of the coast offers shelter from the many storms that traverse the Atlantic, and many good quality protected beach breaks sit deep in these recesses.
South Finistère is where the mist gives way to sunshine and is home to the most consistent beach breaks in Brittany. The nature of the coast softens, giving way to longer beaches and lower lying land with sand dunes. This area actually catches more swell than Southwest France, but also has just as committed local surf community.
The most famous spots in this area are La Torche and La Palue, which are often crowded under good conditions, as they are consistently good and easily accessible. Beyond here it is easy to find your own spot on the long beaches or hidden points and reefs of this also twisting coastline, and somewhere will always be offshore. Much of the coastlines of Brittany are protected nature reserves, so you can easily find yourself alone among nature when searching for waves.
This area actually catches more swell than Southwest France, but also has just as committed local surf community
Heading further south into Morbihan the swell consistency drops and the right swell direction becomes key to scoring waves among the river mouths, reefs and beaches. The variety of the surf ranges from slow longboard like waves to heaving barrels. The most famous spot is the localised Cote Sauvage where the beach break barrels can rival anywhere else in France.
Surfing in Brittany is much like the quality Bretagne Beer, Britt. It has a unique quality, is flavoursome, diverse and is an experience not to be found anywhere else.
Intro by Mark Sankey and Photography by Alexa Poppe