The 9 Best Surf Spots in the South West

Bird’s-eye view of surfers in the sea

With so many incredible surf spots throughout the South West, whittling them down into one blog is a challenging task!

We explore surrounding areas close to us here in beautiful Bournemouth and make our way along the coast from Devon to Cornwall. Our diverse list offers a range of surf spots, from those appropriate for just starting out to more advanced locations.

Spots for Everyone

Below are our top spots for all levels of surfing abilities to enjoy. Whether you are a beginner, an intermediate or an advanced surfer, you will no doubt enjoy most of these spots.

A surfer walking with board into sea

Bournemouth Beach

A key attraction here is the fantastic selection of surf schools, meaning beginners can dive straight in and get practising. The area heaves with budding surfers in the summer months, so make sure to keep an eye out for others in this much-loved surf spot.

Woolacombe

Moving over to North Devon, Woolacombe offers three miles of beautiful golden sands, meaning that there is a peak available for everyone! With many surf schools in the area, it is also a good location for beginners.

Woolacombe offers a wide range of conditions and can be known for both its bigger, aggressive swell as well as gentle, crumbling waves.

Putsborough

With Putsborough beach situated on the opposite side of the bay, you can always travel down the beach for a more sheltered location. Don't be fooled though, as Putsborough is also well known for its size when the conditions are right.

A surfer at Croyde Bay

Croyde

A surfer's paradise, Croyde Bay is also great for beginners on high tides and has an abundance of surf schools available in the area. When there is decent swell, low tide offers more powerful waves which are better suited to more confident surfers.

For a more gentle, longboarding wave, pop over to the next beach at Saunton Sands and enjoy the steady surf that the location is renowned for.

Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay is favoured for its accessibility for new surfers, so grab your beginner's surfboard and head straight in! Similar to Woolacombe, it provides many different peaks on its long shoreline and tends to work regardless of tides.

Polzeath

Polzeath is ideal for the abilities of new surfers to about intermediate level, depending on the swell.

An exposed beach and pointbreak, the waves at Polzeath are often described as soft and gentle, making the spot an approachable and friendly environment for newbies.

Its popularity mainly comes down to its consistency of surf in all tides and through all seasons.

Fistral

Another reasonably regular beach break, Fistral is another popular spot in Cornwall for all abilities. It provides consistent surf throughout the year and is excellent for those who love left-handers. The ideal time to hit the water is low tide, but make sure to stay aware of rips.

If the crowds at Fistral are too much, head over to Lusty Gaze next door which may be slightly quieter; it is suitable for both left and right-handers and works at all tides.

Advanced Spots

Here are our top selection of advanced surf breaks in the South West area, ideal for the more confident and experienced surfers.

Lynmouth

Lynmouth

This is an unusual location but one with stunning views, especially during late autumn/early winter when beautiful, auburn-coloured trees line the cliffs.

The paddle out can be slightly dodgy as you either have to make the jump into the river mouth or clamber down many unstable rocks to get to the shore. Be aware of any stones and other protruding objects that often stick out in the water at this spot.

It is a break that rarely works, but when it does, it fires! Most likely to work in the winter, the ideal conditions are offshore winds from the south and west-northwest groundswell.

Porthleven

Down in Cornwall, you can find another favoured reef break. Praised by surfers such as Laura Crane, this spot is for those who want an exhilarating ride full of punch; it has been known to fire at 12ft.

With so much on offer on the South West coast, choosing all the best spots is impossible! Where are you looking forward to surfing next to the South West? We would love to know your favourite places, so why not let us know on our social media channels?

Other surf related articles which may interest you:

Packing Checklist for Surfing

Guide: Surfers in the UK