Surfing Bantham Beach

Bantham Beach is a beautiful, long sandy beach located on the south coast of Devon. It’s consistently voted one of the best beaches in the UK and provides stunning views of Burgh Island and the surrounding coastline.

Can you surf here, what are the waves like and when is the best time to go? Here’s everything you need to know if you want to surf at Bantham.

Where is Bantham Beach?

Bantham Beach is located between Plymouth and Torquay making it fairly accessible for surfers and beachgoers alike. With Bigbury-on-sea to the right and Thurlestone to the left, there’s no shortage of beaches in the close vicinity which makes it popular most of the year round.

Traffic can be an issue when getting to Bantham so try to travel early and late to avoid the worst of the crowds.

Can you surf at Bantham?

Yes, you can absolutely surf at Bantham. It’s a popular surfing spot for beginners all the way through to pro surfers offering a variety of waves across different stages of the tide.

If you’re learning to surf you can choose between Bantham Surfing Academy and Discovery Surf School over on the Bigbury side of the estuary.

What’s the surf like at Bantham?

Bantham can provide quality beach break waves all year round. The estuary to the right of the beach grooms the sand here into defined banks that can provide quality rides in the right conditions.

The right of the bay offers a predominant right that breaks from the estuary towards the beach from low through to mid tide. On a good day, you can find a variety of sections to perform manoeuvres and the occasional barrel section as the wave rumbles down the shallow sand bottom.

The left-hand side of the bay offers a great A-frame peak at low tide with a right running into the rocks and a longer but less defined left-hander running into the bay. Both waves are fast and snappy with any swell over 3ft so best left to advanced surfers in larger swells.

What’s the best tide for surfing Bantham?

The best waves for advanced surfers are typically found at low tide. The lineup spreads out between the river mouth break and the left-hand A-frame reducing crowds and offering more waves to go around.

As the tide rises up to mid the wave quality at Bantham tends to reduce considerably without powerful ground swell. That being said if you are a beginner or amateur surfer high tide Bantham can provide some really fun long peeling waves with few others out. You’ll often see paddle boarders and beginners on foamies taking advantage of the friendly waves.

Always be aware of your proximity to the estuary mouth. In larger swells and after heavy rain it can produce very strong currents that can take you out to sea very quickly. If you ever find yourself in this situation never paddle against the current but in a diagonal direction towards safety.

Other things to do at Bantham

  • Swim – Bantham is a perfect location for swimming with or without a wetsuit (we advise the summer without), when the swell drops water clarity improves drastically making for some stunning blue waters.
  • Snorkel – Take advantage of the lack of swell with a mask and snorkel. We recommend taking an exploration around Burgh Island, and if you’re lucky you might even see a seal.
  • Sunbathe – Soak up some sun in between waves at this idyllic seaside spot.
  • Walk along the beach and take photos – There are some beautiful spots to take photos of the cliffs and rock pools.
  • Bird-watching – There are a number of bird hides along this stretch of coast so it’s worth bringing your binoculars if you want to try spotting some birds.

Other surf spots close to Bantham Beach

If you’re looking for other waves in the area, try surfing Torquay when the waves are too big or Bigbury-on-sea (a less crowded beach just across the estuary perfect for beginners).