Surfing in the UK

If you are complete beginner, learning the basics at a surfing school is definitely the best way to go. Surfing schools can be found in coastal areas where surfing is popular. The best place to learn is probably Fistral Beach in Newquay, which is one of the UK’s best surfing spots. The Quicksilver Surf School is based here.

Entering Competitions

When you become more confident you might want to consider entering local or national competitions. Some small local competitions are likely to be organised throughout the year in popular surfing locations. If you are interested in casual competitions, the best place to ask is at surfing schools or clubs, who are bound to have up-to-date local news. You could also contact your country’s national governing body (in the UK this is the BSA) to ask for advice.

Third Party Insurance

Personal injury law-suits are now more popular than they have ever been. It is a fact that those who have been injured by the perceived incompetence of another often decide to pursue financial compensation. In recent years, this trend has spread to the surf. For this reason, it is definitely worth considering taking out third party insurance to cover you in the event that you inadvertently injure someone whilst surfing. A slip-up whilst surfing, particularly when the ocean is crowded, could easily lead to an injury. Even if this injury is trivial, someone eager to take advantage could decide to sue you for compensation.

Some surfing schools include third party insurance in their price. It is worth asking if this is included when you begin, particularly as you are probably more likely to injure someone whilst you are learning than at any other time.

Surfing in the UK

While you may not automatically link the UK with surfing, there is in fact a substantial surfing community in this country. Surf clubs are not limited to the coasts of Devon and Cornwall, although both areas are popular amongst surfers. Most places in the UK are not more than a couple of hours drive away from the coast. For this reason, surf clubs can be found across the country, in unlikely locations like Nottingham and Durham.

Newcomers to surfing in Britain will find the Surfing GB website a very useful resource. The website offers information about surfing schools and locations, coaching information, and general surfing news. If you prefer, you can also contact Surfing GB on +44 (0)1637 876 474.

Welsh surfers will also be interested in the Welsh Surfing Federation website. Those surfing in Ireland can refer to the Irish Surfing Associationwebsite. English and Scottish surfers should find that their requirements are met by the BSA.

An essential resource for British surfers is the BBC’s daily surf report, which can be found both online and on Ceefax. The Coldswell website also provides up-to-date reports, in addition to links to reviews of surfing locations in the UK and Ireland, which provides information about the wave direction, beach type, hazards and water temperatures. The difficulty level provided for each location helps British surfers decide on the location best suited to them.

Those who have an interest in big wave surfing but lack the financial means to trek across the globe to California, Hawaii and the South Pacific will be heartened to learn that big wave surfing is possible in Europe. The aforementioned location of Cribbar on Fistral Beach in Newquay has been known to receive swells which can drive waves up to around 30-feet high. Needless to say, the waves of Newquay are not nearly as warm as the waters of Teahupo’o, and a wet-suit is a necessity and not a luxury!

British surfers could also visit Belharra in France. For a few days each year, storm swells produce huge waves with excellent barrels at this world-renowned surfing location in the French Basque Country. The Canary Islands are also a popular European surfing location.