Surf history in Hossegor
The beautiful beaches of the Landes coast are very coveted by surfers, because they are home to the mythical spots of Hossegor: from the south beach to the beach of the naked bottoms, the beauty of the landscapes is breathtaking! The Hossegor spot was first surfed in the 1950s. Jack Rott, pioneer of French surfing, surfed the waves of Hossegor in 1957. He was also the first French surfer. At the time, he surfed a surfboard called “the planky”, this one is curved and small to surf the waves only lying down, inspired by bodysurfing. In 1951, he discovered a film report on the attack on Pearl-Harbor in Hawaii where he saw American soldiers surfing regular waves. In 1955, two Californians Peter Viertel and Dick Zanuck shot a film in Biarritz and were in Hossegor. Viertel, who broke his surfboard in Biarritz, entrusts it to be repaired by Georges Hennebutte, a local craftsman, inventor of the surf leash a few years later. Nowadays, the leash is essential for surfing, it allows you to keep your surfboard in the event of a fall and to avoid an impact with someone around. It is an essential technical element of safety for oneself and for others. He authorizes Rott to come and observe and measure the surfboard. Rott is a cabinetmaker by trade, he will use his craftsmanship to make these two boards. In the spring of 1957, Rott tried surfboarding at the northern spur of Hossegor on the Landes coast. On the first try, he managed to get up and ride his first wave to the edge. Birth of the expression “surf the wave”. The beginning of French surfing is set up thanks to Jacky Rott and his friends Georges Hennebutte, Joël de Rosnay and Michel Barland then found the 1st surf club in France (the Waikiki surf club) in 1959. In relation to the development of the structure of surf clubs in France, the first surfers appeared on the Gravière beach in Hossegor and on the Basco-Landes coast in the mid-1960s. Hossegor became a mythical surfing spot in the 60s and 70s. In the 1970s, a massive influx of surfers from all over France, Europe and around the world came to enjoy the “magical mythical waves” of the Southwest. This is far from being appreciated by the inhabitants of Hossegor! The beach-breaks (sand spot) of Hossegor has become the best spot in the world. The start of French surfing competitions: In 1980, the French surfing federation obtained the organization of the World Amateur Surfing Championships in Hossegor, French surfing then became an Olympic sport. In 1984, the French Surfing Federation left Biarritz and moved to Hossegor. The spots in Hossegor hosted the World Surfing Championships from 1994 to 2019, this discipline is one of the most recognized Olympic sports at national and world level. Hossegor is located on the Landes coast surrounded by its vast nature in the heart of the Southwest. During the late 80s, the “Surfing Hossegor” fashion literally exploded in the South-West of France nicknamed “the California of Europe” attracting surfers and surfing lovers to Biarritz and Hossegor. Its two municipalities share the title of European surfing capital with their label “La ville de surf”. Surfing has become a very important local economic asset in this region of the South-West, it has created many jobs, shops, manufacture of surfing equipment, surf schools, training related to the development of surfing… In 2001, birth of the world championships in Hossegor with the Quicksilver Pro France. Hossegor was publicized in 2001 with the professional surfing world championships. In 2010, the French Surfing Federation moved to the south beach in Hossegor for the second time. The former premises are now occupied by the Hossegor surf club. From now on, for most of the inhabitants of Hossegor, the culture of surfing has become a real way of life “Surfing Hossegor”. In 2014, the French Surfing Federation organized the French championships in Hossegor to celebrate its 50th anniversary. In 2015 the French Surfing Federation created a new label: “Ville de Surf”. Subsequently, the city of Hossegor is labeled. Hossegor, today, has become an important platform and showcase for the surfing economy throughout the South West of France, and even on a global level. The biggest brands in the world of surfing such as Rip Curl, Billabong, Volcom, Quicksilver… They have settled in the town of Soorts-Hossegor accompanied by Australian and American families. New sports disciplines have developed from surfing such as Longboard, bodyboard, kneeboard, skimboard, bodysurf, tandem surfing and Stand up Paddle. All these sliding sports remain less known than surfing, but are increasingly practiced. Around surfing gravitates a tourist and economic asset. This boom in surfing culture is creating many jobs. The brands are investing in surfing competitions which are multiplying (French and world championships in Hossegor). The creation of EUROSIMA, a firm that brings together companies in the sector of the three local municipalities Seignosse-Hossegor-Capbreton. Did you know ? Initially, surfboards had a huge size and could weigh up to 50 kilos. The reason ? They were made with heavy materials, such as wood or tree bark. It was not until the 1930s that surfboards became lighter… After the war, the fins were finally installed under the surfboard, in order to be able to make turns on a wave. In the 1950s, the use of new materials enabled the rapid development of surfing: new, lighter and more manageable surfboards helped make the sport popular. Over the past three decades, technology has only evolved and surfboards have become lighter, stronger and reasonably priced.