Watersports in South Aquitaine

Who to contact and where to find out more information on sailing, diving and kayaking off the south western French coastline of the Aquitaine region...

The 250 Km of Atlantic coastline, nearly 500 Km of lake shoreline and numerous rivers make Aquitaine an ideal place for watersports. Sailing and surfing are the top two ocean-going sports on the Aquitaine coast.


  • Call: 1616

Ocean-going Sports

Stations Voiles (Sailing Centres) along the coast belong to the France Station Voile, Nautisme et Tourisme network. Here one can get advice, rent equipment and make reservations for the many water sports, including diving, sailing, surfing, windsurfing, kite surfing, canoeing and sea kayaking.

Sailing and surfing are the top two ocean-going sports on the Aquitaine coast.


The French Sailing Federation (Féderation Française de Voile) organises and promotes sailing at national, regional and local levels. It regulates sailing schools in France and offers information about licencing and insurance.

  • For the French Sailing Federation (Féderation Française de Voile) website: Click here


Surfing is believed to have been introduced to France in 1956 when two Californians brought a surfboard to Biarritz. Biarritz is still a popular surfing spot, as are beaches in Lacanau, Hossegor, Anglet, Soulac, Biscarrosse, Moliets and Mimizan.

The Aquitaine Regional Committee of Surfing (Le Comité Régional d’Aquitaine de Surf) promotes surfing in the region.

  • For the Le Comité Régional d’Aquitaine de Surf website: Click here

There are many surf schools located on the coast, some of which offer instruction in English.


Arcachon Bay (Bassin d'Arcachon) is popular with divers in the region and is accessible by boat and from the shore.

The Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) website lists diving schools in France. Schools may or may not offer instruction in English. Contact the school directly. PADI entry level qualification is known as Open Water Diver.

  • To search for diving schools in Aquitaine, see the PADI website: Click here


Though the coastal waters can have rather large waves, canoeing and kayaking are very popular ocean-going sports as well as fresh-water sports. Boats can be hired from a Station Voile or private vendor.

Related Information

  • For information on water quality at beaches throughout Aquitaine (and France) from the French government: Click here