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5 of the best beaches to surf in North Devon for beginners

Written by Fiona

October 04 2019

Surfboard and boots on beach

Surfing is an fantastic sports for improving strength and balance – and enjoying time outdoors. If you are a beginner, a lesson is recommended to understand the necessary water safety, including where you should choose to surf and how to keep an eye on rips and rocks. Once you are armed with this knowledge, as well as a wetsuit, board and a change robe, the water is all yours.

It is recommended that you surf with a friend because it’s better for safety and more fun.

One of the UK’s best places to surf is North Devon, which is scattered with some of the most beautiful beaches on the English coast. The following beaches have been selected for their great locations and because they offer access to surf schools, too, if you fancy a lesson.

Man in surf at Woolacombe beach in sunset

Woolacombe Bay

Woolacombe Bay is a stunning stretch of golden sand, roughly three miles long. Not only is it one of the safest places to begin surfing, but the most breath-taking scenery also surrounds it.

With dunes as far as the beach reaches and beautiful rolling countryside around the valley, this coastal village provides stunning views in and out of the water.

With numerous surf schools in the area, getting a lesson here is easy. Once you have the basic idea, Woolacombe Bay is a great spot to get in the water regularly.

A lifeguard patrols the beach from Easter until September so make sure you surf between the black and white flags. The best part about this surf spot is that you can go in the sea at most tides.

Of course, wind may affect it, but in general, you don’t have to choose between a high or low tide to enter the water.

baggy point
Baggy Point.

Putsborough Sands

Situated just at the end of Woolacombe Bay is the gorgeous beach called Putsborough Sands. Sheltered by the beautiful headland, Baggy Point, this beach is generally the place to go when the wind is strong in Woolacombe and the surf is blown out.

Lifeguards do not patrol this beach, so it is good to take note of the surroundings. With Baggy Point on the right (when you are facing the beach), make sure to keep an eye on the rocks and paddle away from them at high tide.

Putsborough Sands. Credit: Tony Atkin

After your surf, head to the little café for something warm to drink and treat yourself to a lovely walk over the headland. The end is stunning and has a lookout post. As you climb, you can absorb the awe-inspiring views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Another option is a small bay on the other side of Baggy Point, in the village of Croyde. This beach should be surfed with caution though. High tide is ideal and will provide some fun, beginners’ waves. The low tide, however, should be left to the more experienced as waves tend to dump.

Croyde is home to many good surf schools that can help you feel more confident in the water. This little bay is also lifeguard patrolled during the tourist months.

Saunton Sands. Credit DAVID M GOODWIN

Saunton Sands

If you keep heading down the coast, you will come across another great beach, Saunton Sands. Situated between Croyde and the town of Braunton, Saunton, is a great place to try out surfing.

It is not uncommon to drive past and see lines of neat looking waves. Again, when the other beaches are windy, Saunton tends to provide some shelter.

This beach is lifeguard patrolled in the summer season and is host to a lovely surf school, so it is also ideal for newbies to the sport.

Westward Ho! Credit: Andrew Bennett

Westward Ho!

Westward Ho is regarded as a safe place to surf. The beach is around two miles in length,and dangerous rips are uncommon. It is also a surf spot that can work at most tide times. It is also lifeguarded during the tourist season and is also well established for surf schools.

Hopefully, this list of impressive beaches has inspired you to head down to beautiful Devon and try your hand at surfing.  

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