Welcome to the world of surfing, where the thrill of riding the waves and a passion for the ocean come together to form a lifelong passion.
The UK isn’t the first place you think of when it comes to surfing but it’s certainly captured the hearts of a select group of individuals who’ve made their mark on the surfing world.
This article will delve into UK surfing and meet some of our little isles’ most prominent surf personalities.
Famous UK Surfers That Made Their Mark On The Sport
The UK isn’t your stereotypical surfer’s paradise but with a thriving surf industry and the popularity of the sport on the rise it’s no wonder a lucky few have decided to devote their lives to the art of surfing.
Alan Stokes is a professional surfer from the UK’s surfing capital Newquay.
Alan was born in Basingstoke of all places before relocating to Newqauy and jumping on a surfboard at the tender age of six.
Little did he know it at the time but that first surfing experience would shape his career and life to come.
Stokes had a successful junior career consistently dominating local comps and quickly making a name for himself in the competition circuit.
UK surf brands quickly took note with sponsorships from Animal, C-Skins and Quiver Surfboards to name a few.
It wasn’t until 2009 that Alan got his big break and managed to win the UK Pro Surf Tour Championships, firmly positioning himself as one of the best surfers in the UK.
Stokes has now turned his hand to shaping over at Form Surfboards, consistently pumping out high-quality fibreglass for surfers all over Newquay.
British women’s surfing has been blowing up of late and Lucy Campbell is one of a few leading the charge.
Lucy has a whopping 7x National Titles making her one of the most successful female surfers the UK has ever seen.
Campbell took to the waves at the age of 10 which marked her lifelong relationship and love for the ocean.
Lucy rides local shaper Beach Beat Surfboards and acts as an Ambassador for a range of brands including Nivea, Dryrobe and ION.
Hailing from Bude In North Cornwall, Reubyn Ash is probably the UK’s best aerial surfer, consistently launching himself above the lip of any wave and pushing progression on a shortboard.
He hails from a family of surfers with his dad Pete and brother Joss both accomplished surfers in their own right.
Ash is the youngest of six and spent most of his childhood at the beach surfing with the older kids which only sped up his progression on the face of a wave.
Ash saw early success with competition starting at 7 years old and a coveted sponsorship with Billabong arriving when he was just 16.
He secured two European titles and a myriad of UK wins throughout his career surfing but has taken a step back from competitive surfing for the time being.
Now Reubyn runs his own surf school where he provides everything from first lessons to advanced video training sessions as an ISA Surf Coach.
Emily is one of the country’s best female surfers and unlike others she’s just as confident on a longboard as she is on a high-performance shortboard.
In fact, at the time of writing, she sits as both the female Boardmasters champ and the English National champ
Emily was born in Bude and grew up surfing her local break of Crooklets. It was clear from a young age she had a talent for the sport and she quickly entered the competitive surfing circuit in the UK.
She now spends her time travelling the world to enter various competitions with several final finishes and a promising pro career ahead.
Luke’s the UK’s number one rated surfer on the WSL qualifying series and the country’s brightest hope for qualification to the big league.
He hails from Newquay which is already a hotbed of surfing talent and he quickly honed his skills on the peaks of Fistral and the town beaches.
He’s got some great backing from sponsors like Dakine, FCS and Fourth Surfboards and narrowly missed out on a spot in the Tokyo Olympics.
We can’t wait to see what Luke does next and hopefully, there’s an event win in the very near future.
Martin ‘Pottz’ Potter moved to South Africa at just two years old but his birth town of Blyth in Northumberland means he’s officially a UK surfer.
At 57 years old Pottz has had an illustrious surfing career, he was at the pinnacle of surfing progression through the 80s championing reverses and aerials which he took on to use in competition to great effect.
He won the world title in 1989 and went on to work on the WSL’s commentary team along with others like Peter Mel, Rosie Hodge and Joe Turpel.
Russel Winter is an ASP tour veteran qualifying in 1999 before continuing to battle it out with the world’s best for 3 years.
He famously beat the GOAT Kelly Slater out at Sunset Beach in Hawaii and went on to win the O’Neill Highland Open at Scotland’s Thurso East.
Russ is one of the UK’s surfing heroes and a real charger through and through.
Another Newquay local, Spencer was dominating the national competitive surf scene through the 90s with national and European titles.
He was known for his powerful rail surfing and fearless approach in larger surf and you can still find him charging when a good well hits the southwest of England.
Laura Crane is a professional surfer hailing from the United Kingdom who has quickly established a prominent reputation in the world of surfing.
Just like many of the others on this list, she grew up in the wave-rich region of Cornwall, England where Laura began to surf at the young age of nine.
With impressive accolades in both national and international surfing contests, she represented Great Britain in the ISA World Surfing Games of 2018.
Beyond her achievements in competition, Laura is also a notable influencer in social media, a Love Island contestant and has been recognized for her efforts in promoting body positivity and women’s empowerment.
Andrew Cotton is a world-famous big wave surfer who spends much of his time travelling the globe in the hunt of gigantic walls of water.
It’s not often that a surfer from Croyde Bay makes it into surf media to tackle some of the world’s most dangerous waves.
But Andrew Cotton hailing from North Devon is a regular out at Nazare, Portugal’s premier big wave surf spot.
This is by no means an exhaustive list of the most popular British surfers and our little isle is full of amazing people that choose to make surfing the focus of their everyday lives.
Don’t miss our other reads below packed with fascinating insights into this amazing sport.