I’ve travelled the world as a surfer looking for new breaks to surf and new places to explore in the process – and it’s an amazing adventure being a backpacking surfer.
My quest for board short sessions has seen me take on the reefs of Indonesia, deal with localism in Peru, wander along beaches filled with wild camels in Morocco and enjoy the backpacker trail in Australia.
Yet I didn’t learn to surf in warm waters and tropical climates – my passion for surfing started back in the UK.
Yup, the cold, rainy climates of the UK actually play home to some amazing surf – and if you’re willing to suit up in a heap of rubber, try to undress with numb fingers and the occasional dash of snow you can be rewarded with some epic sessions.
So where in the UK is best to get your toes wet?
Well here are 5 of my favourite surf spots at the moment
I’ve totally cheated and grouped these 3 spots together despite them being very different – but they’re 3 of my favourites spots in the whole of South West England!
But I’m totally bias towards them as it’s where you’ll usually find me paddling out when I’m at home and it’s on these beaches that I learnt to surf.
Saunton offers up some long, mellow rides perfect for longboarders. Puts sometimes offers up a cheeky left (and is my personal favourite surf spot in the UK) whereas Croyde offers up some world class waves and is heavy and barelling on a low tide.
It’s the perfect place to stay too – with Croyde being the main base, this little beach town has a few pubs and restaurants to keep you fed and watered after a hard day in the water. There’s plenty of campsites and caravans to offer up a bed for the night and with all this surf there’s more than enough surf shops which a greta selection of boards and equipment for hire and rent.
Newquay has it all as a surf destination – world class surf and world class partying! After all surfers work hard and play harder!
Around the town are a variety of spots which have everyone covered – from the more sheltered and mellow town beaches, the infamous Fistral (which draws HUGE crowds in the summer season) and even the Cribbar, a tow in spot which only breaks over 20 foot!
The towns a good size too and is a magnet for staycations – which basically means there’s heaps of accomodation, pubs, clubs and places to eat. There’s some solid hostels there too if you’re on a tighter budget but don’t fancy slumming it in a tent!
The Gower – in all it’s Welsh glory – is a great place to hit the waves and escape the crowds of Devon and Cornwall, yet it gets pretty much the same swells as it’s English cousins.
The result is a vast coastline of coves, beach and points which produce some great surf.
Spots like Caswell Bay and Llangennith serve up some greta waves for learners but for the more experienced The Reefs provide a great network of more challenging rides.
Their proximity to Swansea make it a great base with plenty to do on flat days too and places to stay ranges from campsites right through to cottages and self catering accommodation if you have a bit more cash to splash!
Up in the baltic conditions of Scotland lies Thurso, a heavy reef put on the map by the Oneill Coldwater Classic.
If you don’t want danger alongside the cold then you can always check out the many beach breaks and river mouths which provide a whole heap of surf in this area – with Caithness being the preferred spot for beginners.
A short surf holiday here will find you slap in the middle of Scottish castles, local seafood and great company – so make sure you pack your camera alongside your thermals!
Back down to Cornwall again for the final spot on my list. Being one of the most exposed and southern spots in the UK it is a total swell magnet and is the perfect place to try and find a wave if other places aren’t producing the goods.
Sennen cove offers up a good range of waves – from the beach to the point and can hold a solid swell, just beware of the rips when it starts to pick up.
Being in the thick of the Cornish countryside means that camping is the best way to go here, but there are some holilday rentals in the local town. It’s a bit more of a rural affair than Newquay but a great excuse to check out the many country pubs in this part of the world!