North Devon is renowned throughout the UK for its surf. With a plethora of beautiful beaches across our expanse of coastline, it’s no surprise that we play host to some of the best and most famous waves in the country - as well as plenty of hidden gems just waiting to be explored.
So here are a couple of our favourites. With varying levels of difficulty or experience required, there’s absolutely something for everyone wanting to get involved in the surfing community.
Credit: Robert Newall
One of North Devon’s most famous stretches of coastline, Croyde Bay Beach is indisputably a country-wide favourite for surfers.
Best at low tide for experienced shortboard surfers, Croyde offers fast, world class waves. It’s incredibly popular, so can get very busy, particularly in the summer months. While conditions at low tide are often best for the more skilled surfers, namely due to rocks and known rips, high tide offers plenty of opportunities that are more suitable for beginners.
In addition, the buzzing surfing community that dominates Croyde means that the village is equipped with plenty of surf schools that offer lessons to novices or those who have never had the opportunity to surf before.
Woolacombe is one of the UK’s best beaches. No, really - it’s even won a couple of awards. Beside the miles of sand and lively surrounding village, it’s also a pretty famous surfing spot.
It’s got a reef break, meaning there’s plenty of swell to produce some fantastic waves, perfect for both beginners as well as more advanced surfers. Woolacombe is a huge beach, so even on its most popular days there’s plenty of space to accommodate everyone, and an array of surfing schools are in the area, learning is always encouraged. In general, it’s a great beach for progression.
Credit: Tony Twyman
On the right day with the right conditions, Westward Ho! can provide a fantastic, yet slightly more mellow and relaxed surf. This also means that it’s often a much better choice for beginners or even intermediate surfers - it’s a great place to learn or to hone your skills, with particular stretches of the beach more suited to catching some great waves.
With local surf schools, as well as readily available equipment hire, it’s a welcoming place for anyone ready to get to grips with the basics. Plus, it completes the whole package for a North Devon day on the beach, with arcades, go-karts and mini golf.
Credit: Rimvydas Binikis
Backed by rolling sand dunes, Saunton Sands is a perfect beach for those who are slightly newer to surfing or are looking to hone their skills a little. That said, there is a known rip current along the side of the cliffs, so be careful at high tide.
A long stretch of water means that there’s plenty of space, and the rolling waves make it a perfect spot for longboarder at low tide. Plus, the miles of sandy beach make for a great place to settle down and relax after a few hours of surf.
Credit: Andy Savin
Lesser known for its surfing performance is Lynmouth - but it’s certainly not one to be missed when the conditions are right, particularly as it’s the only point break in the area.
It’s not really one to recommend for beginners or surfers who aren’t quite confident yet, due to how challenging the waves can become; in addition, it’s a rocky beach with well known rips and currents. More advanced surfers can expect some phenomenal waves that you won’t find anywhere else on the North Devon coast.
In addition, it’s one of the most beautiful areas you could possibly go - surrounded by cliffs and miles upon miles of stunning natural beauty. It has become quite busy in recent years, and as a relatively small beach you’ll notice the popularity when the weather is right, so prepare your patience and keep an eye out for other surfers.
Credit: @alexpickettt on Instagram
Taking in rolling waves of the Atlantic, Putsborough is another beach that’s perfect for surfing. Miles of sand along the same stretch as Woolacombe ensures there’s plenty of room for everyone, this beach is generally a lot quieter than some of the more popular North Devon beaches.
That doesn’t make the surf any less impressive though, with varying swells making it perfect for both beginners or advanced surfers, depending on the conditions of the day - it’s also worth being wary of the rip current on the south end of the beach, particularly for newbies.
Credit: Andy Savin
A hidden gem a mile south of Hartland Quay, Spekes Mill, will provide some spectacular views as well as satisfying surf provided by the reef break. Getting here makes for an adventure in itself, with a fantastic chance to explore North Devon’s natural charm and beauty - as well as incredible views available when you do finally reach the beach.
A quieter spot on the coast, Spekes Mill is suitable for advanced surfers, looking to break away from the crowds of Croyde or Woolacombe. The waves are challenging and there’s no lifeguard service if you do get into trouble, so only attempt it once you’ve got the skills and experience.
There’s a round up of a few of our favourites. Next up, we want to hear yours! Get in touch with us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tell us all about your surfing recommendations, stories, or when you’re next hitting the waves down here in North Devon.