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Best Surf Breaks in the UK for Experienced Surfers

The UK has a number of great surf spots for beginners but the shorelines are not restricted to mellow waves. Below you will find some of the most challenging breaks around the UK ideal for intermediate to pro surfers!

Croyde Bay, Devon

Croyde Bay is a surf mecca, however it is also both a popular surf spot and holiday destination. At mid-tide learners or less advanced surfers will find the opportunity to surf some mellow waves. However,at low tide the waves come in fast making it better suited to surfers with more experience. Croyde is a picturesque village to discover when you’re not in the water. Visitors can browse through the selection of surf shops, stroll up to Baggy Point and admire the view or unwind at The Thatch with a pint of local cider. In addition to being one of the best breaks in the UK it also happens to be very accessible from London.

Fistral, Cornwall

Fistral has consistent waves for all abilities and plenty of facilities making it a popular summer surf destination. For the more advanced surfers, wait until low tide and head on down to the area just outside the front of the international surf centre where big barrel waves are common. If you are fortunate enough to visit in August be sure to join the party at the Boardmasters Festival, or lay back and watch the surf competitions on the beach.

When you finally pull yourself away from the thrill of the sea, Newquay town is also worth visiting. With plenty of independent surf shops and lots of bars and cafes, it’s not to be missed.

Porthleven, south Cornwall 

This demanding reef break outside the harbour at Porthleven is among the best waves in England, but be warned, it is not for the inexperienced. When there is a good swell you will find some of the best surfers in the country paddling out here to get barrelled in the hollow green waves for which “Leven” is well-known. However, for the wave to really work you need a big swell, therefore it is more consistent in winter. The wave breaks on the west side of Porthleven Harbour delivering a great viewpoint for surf watchers. The wave is a fast, hollow right.

Sennen, Cornwall

Sennen Cove holds an EU award for water quality. It is a surfer’s paradise with clear blue seas and white sand to match! The cove features consistent good size waves that can produce great barrels at mid-tide. It is ideal for surfers at an intermediate level who want to get some practice in. Sennen Cove is also home to Bilbo, the UK’s only canine lifeguard –make sure you say hello! The neighbouring village is small but has plenty of cafes and pubs to keep you entertained! On top of Caribbean blue waters, Sennen also boasts one of the most consistent surf spots in England.

Thurso East, Caithness 

Experienced surfers only please! Thurso is recognized as one of the best waves in the UK, or even Europe for that matter. It is not easy to get there, but it is well worth it! Be very aware of the rocky reef which is often dangerously close for comfort and you will be sure to have an awesome time. Thurso has quite a reputation for big swells, which often means it can get busy, so be courteous to the locals and wait your turn. Waves at Thurso regularly break at double overhead or more and offer fast, barrelling right-handers that are the equal of anything that better-known warm water locations have to offer.

Thurso holds the world record for being the coldest place ever to hold the ASP world qualifying series. Make sure to bring your winter wetsuit, thick fluffy towels and giant mugs to fill with hot tea when you eventually get out of the water.

Top tips

  • It is advised to plan your surf trip in autumn or winter when you will find fewer crowds so more space for you and the swells tend to be bigger at this time!
  • Increase your karma levels by being aware of Surfer Against Sewage. See if they are running any beach clean ups near you!
  • Make sure you have a good wetsuit and head on over to Urban Surfer to get any last minute accessories!

Stephanie Contomichalos

Stephanie Contomichalos is a sports enthusiast. She is an avid crossfitter, wakeboarder and has recently qualified as a Level 1 CrossFit coach. She is also an advocate for women’s sport and for using sport as a tool for development. She is currently living in Athens, Greece.

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