History of surfing in San Sebastián

San Sebastian is the capital of Gipuzkoa and fourth most populated city in Euskal Herria with 186,122 inhabitants in the 2011 census.


Located at the eastern end of the Bay of Biscay, San Sebastian stretches from west to east between Mounts Igeldo and Ulia and from south to north along the River Urumea right up to where it meets the sea, close to the city's old town, in the shelter of Mount Urgull.


The Urumea River and Mount Urgull are very useful reference points to get your bearings in San Sebastian. To the west there is the famous bay of La Concha sheltered by Santa Clara Island with La Concha and Ondarreta beaches.


"To the east, there is the city's surfing epicentre, La Zurriola beach with Sagües as its backdrop, at the foot of Mount Ulia"


Building a breakwater at the eastern end of River Urumea's mouth in 1994 widened La Zurriola beach, encouraging more beachgoers whilst also creating an irreversible effect on the nature of the waves. 


The history of its waves is an integral part of San Sebastian's history. This beach continues to provide the setting forlocals to relive epic dowsings in wild waves. By passing on their experiences, they have generated their own culture based around the waves. 


This history of this beach is directly related to its main stars, going back to the 1950s with the Arteche brothers who really promoted surfing in San Sebastian. A few years later, all eyes were on the Spanish Champion, Marta Huércanos. The generation of '67, '68 and '69 provided a legacy of great surfers with outstanding names such as Pablo Postigo and the famous "Gros Tiger" Iñigo Iraola. 


A few years later it was the brilliant Oscar García or "Buttons" who forged a name for himself as one of the best surfers this beach has ever produced. Oscar was one of the first surfers to make a name for himself internationally from the Junior category onwards. He starred in epic sessions and pipes during important championships such as the Capbreton Pro Junior or the Zarauz Pro that people still talk about today. At barely 20, he came up against world-class surfers and knocked more than one of them out of the competition. 


In the mid 70s, Haritz Mendiluze and Asier Ibañez put in strong performances in events such as the Ballantines Spanish Championship or the EHSF circuits.


"A generational lapse during the 80s made way for a youth squad that, little by little, are finding their feet including surfers such as Norman Landa, Borja Agote, Ethan and Julen Egiguren, Pablo Azpiroz and luckily a long line of up-and-coming youth surfers"



 San Sebastian provides the stage for incomparable surfing experiences. When conditions are right, La Zurriola can provide incredibly high quality waves. If the sea is too strong for La Zurriola, La Concha and Ondarreta often work. In cases of extremely strong seas, it is possible to surf between the bridges on the River Urumea at high tide. It's the best way to work up an appetite before diving into the world of pinchos and local cuisine anywhere in the city: right in Sagues itself, in the Gros neighbourhood or the old town of course.

The complementary offer alongside surfing in San Sebastian includes a series of products and services that are constantly being adapted to visitors and citizens' needs. The Surf City Donostia cluster, helped by agents joining the group, aims to generate an innovating and balanced context, assuring a positive experience for everyone.



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