Surfing in Chandeleur Islands, Gulf Coast, Louisiana USA

Best Wind / swell direction:
N, W, NW, S, SE, SW, NE
Type of beach:
Public, empty
Best tide / position:
All / rising and falling
Sharks, urchins, rips/ undertow
Chandeleur Islands are a barrier of islands situated about an hour southeast from Venice, Louisiana, USA. They are a chain of uninhabited islands of about 50 mi/80 km long in the Gulf of Mexico. The islands are a part of the Breton National Wildlife Refuge and the easternmost point of the Louisiana state. Chandeleur Islands are known as being an important migrating spot for a lot of birds, traveling south, a forest wildlife area and also a prime marsh.

Besides these, Chandeleur Islands are well known for the awesome surfing waves that burst along the shoreline. The spot is familiar to surfers, who want to keep it for themselves, making Chandeleur Islands one of the most secretive spots in the entire Gulf of Mexico area.

The beaches are white and beautiful and the blue water, famous for its clarity, regularly moves into the area. The spot, due to its location, is one of the most secluded surfing areas, so it is highly recommended to check the weather forecast and the swell conditions, before you start your long journey.

Chandeleurs are nothing like the ordinary surfing beaches and the waves can get sometimes very large, so bear in mind that if you get injured, you are miles away from the nearest hospital. The islands are reachable only by boat or float plane, which flies via New Orleans. The nearest pier is in Venice and the next best marina is Hopedale. Keep in mind that all the other marinas were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

At the 50 mi/80 km long island chain, you will come across sand bars and numerous surf breaks along the entire chain. All surfers are welcome to this world class waves, but in special swell conditions, it is preferable that you have some experience. The waves are very consistent approximately 150 days a year.

The sandy bottom gets disturbed by the beach-break waves that come from both directions, right and left, offering hollow, powerful, fast and ledgey conditions, alternating in days with powerless, ordinary but fun waves. On normal days the waves range between 150 to 300 m/492 to 984 ft long, while on good days they transform into enormous waves of 300 to 500 m/492 to 1940 ft long.

In many chain areas, the water goes from 20 to 30 ft/6 to 9 m straight onto a 2–3 ft/0.6–0.9 m sandbar that makes amazing waves, especially when the swells are pumping the Gulf. The swell and wind direction is another asset, making the spot so popular, as the best directions are almost all directions! North, west, northwest, south, southwest, east, southeast and northeast directions are here to ease your surfing experience.

The swell starts working at 1 m/3 ft and holds up to 4+ m/12 ft. All tides are good and the best movements are rising and falling tides. The spot is, as expected, empty all days. It is highly recommended to pay extra attention to dangers, as sharks, especially Bull Sharks, urchins and rips/undertow.

Chandeleur Islands are one of the top US places, when the waves are on. The beauty of the scenery, the consistency and size of the waves, the water quality and the lack of people make this spot a one of a kind surfing destination!!!