Zarautz is a really nice surf town with a relaxed and friendly vibe. The surf is quite consistent and often provides high performance waves. You will find lots of bars and restaurants directly at the beach and in the nearby town center. There are a couple of surf schools and good boards can be bought in the Pukas store.
Where To Stay
Sleeping in your van for free is unfortunately not that easy. At daytime, parking is metered all around town. At night, most of the parking spots are not metered and it seems to be tolerated to stay in some of the spots when being discrete. I have not personally tried that though.
Instead, you could stay at one of the campsites on the eastern end of Zarautz. At both campsites lots of young surfers from all around Europe stay for a couple nights. Both campsites are, in high season, also home to surf camps. During the day there is almost always someone playing music and everyone is having a good time. Both campsites are quite cheap, about 20€ - 23€ per person and night.
One of those campsites is Gran Camping Zarautz. It is up on the mountain with about a ten minute walk down to beach. The walk up and down can get demanding after a couple of days, but will provide great views over Zarautz.
The other campsite is Camping Talai Mendi, with a shorter walk to the beach without elevation. This campsite is only open during peak summer though.