FoamieCrews spot guide for the Normandy west coast! In the North of France, Siouville and its surrounding Sciotot and Le Rozel, are great for surfing. These three surf spots are great because: They have a surf webcam, plenty of camping space and good surf in all seasons. The surf spots work with different surf conditions. Enjoy our surf spot guide on Siouville.
Normandy is quickly becoming one of our favorite surf destinations. The Cotentin Peninsula faces the Channel, in the North and East, and the Atlantic in the west. Because of its stretched position between the two seas, it get’s interesting weather. It is exposed to Atlantic swells, and it has a very high offshore days ratio, because of the trade winds that tend to blow between Belgium and the UK, in a south-west direction. This results in a very surfable region along the north-west coast of the Normandy land stretch.
Any good west groundswell will hit Siouville and surroundings. The Channel Islands, Guernsey and Jersey, block a bit of the swell. The waves tend to be smaller than on the west-facing beaches in its neighbor region Brittany. When the wave forecast says 2 ft, it will probably be flat. You need more than 3 ft. Anything from 3 ft up will hit the lovely beaches of Le Rozel, Siouville, Surtainville and Sciotot. On days with solid 4-6 feet Atlantic ground swells, the beaches here really come to life.
For most surfers from the low countries, Siouville is probably the surf spot with high quality waves closest to home. The Cotentin coast is quite hidden, on the North side of France, yet it is exposed to long period Atlantic swells. For FoamieCrew, this is an absolute favorite destination as it’s only an 8 hour drive from our home. Plus: it’s less hot, less crowded and less expensive than Aquitaine. Plus: less onshore winds in summer!
Tide plays a big role in determining the surf window here. The tidal changes in Normandy are among the largest in the world. Generally, low tide means no waves. Incoming, fading and high tide are when the party is here.
On the south end of a large bay is the little village of Siouville-Hague. Siouville has a long stretch of beach that catches quite some swell. The south-end of this bay has a little village (it’s not much more than some houses, a café and a surf club).
The waves break on several sand banks, and some stretches of reef. The tide window of this spot is a bit wider than Sciotot. Also, it seemed as if it was better protected from strong offshore winds. The surf here is mellow and starts to work at half and high tides. Just like the other spots, you need at least 3 ft of groundswell, or 2 ft with really high periods, to surf here. Siouville is the areas main surfing beach for beginners and surf lessons. In peak season the French coastguard will indicate some parts of the sea as a swimming area. Between the buoys you aren’t allowed to surf. (Somehow the swimmers area is always on the best sand bank!!)
In the small village there’s a paid overnight parking for campervans. Not bad, grass instead of concrete and some shade from trees. There’s a little bar and a public toilet. I’m not sure if they’re operated year around, but they certainly are in spring and summer. There’s a webcam on this spot. Google Siouville webcam.
Plage du Sciotot can produce super long walls if it’s on! With 4ft+ and a bit of north-east wind, this spot can get absolutely magical. On high tide a long right starts forming, right in front of the concrete beach access.
It tends to be best at incoming and high tide. It produces mellow waves, anything from 2 ft to 6 ft works. With a hint of north in the wind, Sciotot might be one of the best surf spots in this area. I surfed one of the longest rights, just in front of the main beach access. Sometimes close-outs even when conditions are perfect, but there are always some good peaks to be found – just venture along the coast. Between Sciotot and Le Rozel you can find multiple peaks. Waves here tend to be a bit fickle, steep and closing out. It’s probably worth it to go to the south end of the bay, where waves will stay more open.
Plage de Sciotot is a local beachgoers favorite. In the peak season it’s like a festival camping with french families having picknick dinners, children running around and surfers in campervans playing guitar. There’s several beautiful green fields, overlooking the beach, where plenty of surfers spend the night in their car (and even their tent!). There are a few cafés and in peak season there is a public bathroom and beach showers. There’s plenty of parking and wild camping possibility in the off-season. There’s a webcam on this spot. Google Sciotot webcam.
Right in front of the camping Le Ranch there’s a large reef. When the tide starts coming in, really well-formed A-frames start breaking on this reef. With swell over 3-4 ft, in the hours before and after high tide, Le Rozel is a really good break. Beautiful peaks start peeling consistently over the reef. Le Rozel can handle east and south wind. With wind coming from the north, you might want to check the northern part of the bay (Sciotot).
When Magicseaweed says 4 ft, Rozel actually tends to break at 2-3. You need at least 3 ft at 12 sec for Le Rozel to be surfable. At 5 ft it’s still pretty mellow and nice for intermediate surfers.
Whereas on other parts on the big stretch of beach, even with clean swell some waves will close out, the reef of Le Rozel always produces open walls. It starts working a few hours before high tide and lasts a few hours after. Just like the other spots in this area, there’s not much waves to be found at dead low tide.
There’s a dusty parking lot south of camping le Ranch. You officially can’t sleep in your van there, but off season there really is no problem. The campsite is also really nice (good pizza’s) but tends to be fully booked in the peak season.
Surtainville is an uncrowded beach south of the Rozel cliffs. We have never seen this surf spot ‘alive’. The locals told us that Surtainville has a powerfull slab wave. We will update this article when we have surfed Surtainville!
Surfing at Cotentin, Normandy
Siouville, Le Rozel and Sciotot are the most well known surfing spots. But, all along the coast there are surf spots to be found. Some areas are forbidden such as the cliffs around Flamanville Nuclear Factory (ok, I guess I will keep some distance.. ) Don’t go too far to the South: there’s not much swell below Barneville-Carteret. In the North there are plenty of spots to be discovered! On really large winter swells the waves should wrap around the head of Omonville and you should find some sheltered spots and maybe even point breaks. If you have the time, take the ferry to the Channel Islands Guernsey and Jersey to find surf there!