The surf spots around Bude are a bit of a hidden gem; located at the top of North Cornwall, it’s got waves for surfers of all abilities.
I’ve spent years surfing Bude and the coastline around it, and I will share everything from what the waves are like, the best time to surf, and where the best surf spots are for any level of surfing.
Heading to Cornwall for a surf trip? Check out our comprehensive guide to Cornwall’s best surf spots for all the best surf breaks the Cornish coast offers.
Is Bude Good For Surfing?
Yes, Bude is a perfect spot for surfers of all abilities. Summerleaze offers a sheltered bay with small peeling waves perfect for beginners, while experienced surfers can challenge themselves at Widedmouth Bay or Crooklets.
The area around Bude is perfect for any surfer looking to improve their skills because you can generally find a wave to suit your needs.
I spent years as a kid at Summerleaze just getting reps on the tiny inside waves before venturing out to Crooklets’ more challenging peaks.
Swell direction: Westerly or southwest ground swells
Wave height: From 1ft up to 8ft (and bigger if you’re brave)
Wave direction: Lefts and rights
Wind direction: Offshore winds are from the east
Consistency: Very consistent for this stretch of coast and surfable all year round
Water temperatures: 8°C to 18°C
Sand or rock: Mainly sand with rocky patches and some reef breaks in the local area
Suitable for: Shortboards, longboards, paddle boards, bodyboards, kayaks
If you’re looking for a surf town, it doesn’t get much better than Bude in North Cornwall. Bude comprises three main beaches: Widemouth Bay, Crooklets and Summerleaze.
All three beaches are well-known for their quality waves; you can surf through all tide stages between them.
Surf Spots In Bude
Let’s look at the beach breaks you’ll visit surfing Bude.
While not technically surfing Bude, Widemouth Bay is located only a mile south of Bude and offers a long stretch of sandy beach with rocky fingers reaching out to sea.
This stereotypically north Cornish beach is a bit of a local gem that attracts local surfers from far and wide.
The beach has two main car parks that are both pay-to-park. You can either stay at the northern end of Widemouth or park down the south end of the beach, known as Black Rock due to the large rock that juts out of the sea about 150m offshore.
Waves break through the tide here, making it an excellent option for high tide when the waves at Crooklets and Summerleaze tend to back off a little.
Widemouth is notorious for its ever-changing sand banks; the bottom of the ocean here gets shifted around as different storms batter the Atlantic coast.
The waves are typically surfable all along the length of the beach, with the best waves in front of the car park at the beach’s northern end.
On smaller days, Widemouth is suitable for beginners, and the Free Wave Academy surf school is located just off the beach if you’re considering a surf lesson.
Black Rock, located south of the beach, offers a left-hand point break when conditions align.
Any ground swells from the west or southwest can break off the large rock that juts out of the water and form long surfable walls that can peel to the beach.
Watch out for the few stray rocks in the lineup that can pop up mid-wave and take you by surprise.
Cruise our in-depth Widemouth surf and beach guide to learn more about this epic surf spot.
The crown of surfing Bude, Crooklets is a blue flag beach at the north end of Bude town. There is paid car parking right next to the beach, and if you’re willing to walk, there’s free parking further into the town.
The beach here opens at low tide, meeting Summerleaze to the south. Lifeguarded through summer, this beach can get busy due to its easy access and relatively good waves.
A great right-hander breaks off the rocky outcrop at the right of the bay with steep sections for shortboarders and bodyboarders. I’ve had lots of surprise sessions here on small summer swells when this wave can offer that extra punch.
Best surfed from low to mid, the waves across the rest of the beach can be a bit of a mixed bag. You can find a few lefts that break off the rocks at the right of the beach, but watch out for exposed rocks as you surf down the line.
Summerleaze is located at the heart of Bude and meets up with Crooklets at low tide to form a large expanse of sand.
A large breakwater runs south of the beach to shelter the boats moored in the bay, and a sea pool sits to your right as you look out to sea.
Summerleaze is a fantastic beach for learning to surf. The breakwater and sea pool break up the swell, significantly decreasing the incoming waves’ size.
This creates perfect little peelers that are great for beginners and surf lessons.
Further out, right-handers break off the sea pool, and if you’re lucky, you can make it through to the inside with a bit of volume and extra float in your surfboard.
What’s The Best Time Of Year For Surfing In Bude?
The best time of year depends on what you’re looking for. With waves available all year round, it’s just a matter of knowing when to go for the best conditions.
Autumn is the best time for surfing in Bude when groomed swells arrive off the Atlantic Ocean alongside mild water temperatures.
You only need easterly winds, and you’ll have epic conditions and pumping waves. Just be ready to battle it with all the other surfers with the same idea.
Perfect for those willing to brave the cold and peel on a winter wetsuit. With offshore winds and good swell, you can have great windows to surf through winter.
Sadly, the sandbanks at the beach breaks don’t tend to be as good due to consistent storms, but you can still find some great waves in relative peace and the local reefs are well with a look on solid swells.
Spring normally arrives with onshore breezes, but you can still find windows of good surf if you’re lucky.
The good thing is the water is still chilly from the long winter, so you won’t be too strained to find quiet waves.
While it may not be as busy as other spots along the coastline, summer is the busiest time of year for surfing in Bude, with surfers, bodyboarders, and holidaymakers all battling for waves.
You can still get some great swells with warm weather when the conditions are on, but the UK can experience lengthy flat spells over summer.
My best advice would be to start searching further afield. There are many quieter beaches in the Bude area, and some are hiding perfect waves for those willing to look.
Surf-friendly accommodation in Bude
Bude is a surf town first and foremost, so there’s no shortage of surf-friendly stays, but it still gets busy when summertime arrives.
*Pro tip – Always check wetsuit washing locations and a suitable spot to store your surfboards before you book.
You can use our interactive map below to check dates and prices over at Booking.com.
Learning to surf in Bude
You can’t find many better places to learn to surf than here. Summerleaze, in particular, offers everything you need as a beginner surfing Bude.
The walk-out is relatively easy, and you can stay comfortably at waist depth while you wait for your next wave.
Give the guys at Bude Surfing Experience a call or a message for excellent surf lessons at affordable prices; they’ve got a great little team and awesome reviews.
If you are learning to surf without an instructor, staying away from Widemouth and Crooklets is probably best.
While both beaches are great on small clean days, submerged rocks are always risky.
Surf camps are a great way to get stuck into surfing with like-minded people.
They’re perfect for solo travellers or couples; you’ll never run out of activities.
We don’t know of any surf camps in the Bude area, but we’ve added some other local options below.
- 3 Day surfing intensive, including a theory lesson to fast-track your progress + camping (All abilities welcome)
- 3 Days of surfing, coasteering and adventure with a unique wild camping experience (All abilities welcome)
- 3 Days of yoga and surfing to leave you feeling fresh and invigorated (All abilities welcome)
Where can you surf near Bude?
Bude is surrounded by a fairly underdeveloped coastline that hides a myriad of reefs and beach breaks ready to be discovered and surfed.
We’ve added a few below but don’t be afraid to get away from the hotspots and walk some of the coast paths.
Northcott & Duckpool
To the north of Bude, you can find Northcott Mouth and Duckpool. These lesser-known waves are fickle but can offer some fun rides under the right conditions.
Check out our guide on surfing Duckpool to learn more about this rugged surf spot.
Further down the coast is the sheltered beach at Crackington Haven, which offers protection from light to mid-northerly and southerly winds due to the large surrounding cliffs.
Check out our guide to surfing Crackington Haven for the low down on when to go and what to expect.
If you’re taking a trip down the whole coast, don’t miss our in-depth guide to surfing around Newquay’s many surf spots, home to some of the UK’s best beach breaks, it’s a great spot for getting away from pesky onshore winds.
Don’t miss our most recent spot guides below for some new ideas for your next surf trip.