Surfing Bude

It’s no secret that Cornwall is a beautiful place, but Bude is a bit of a hidden gem, located just over the border from north Devon it tends to be more relaxed than the party-centred Newquay and offers lots for the outdoor adventurer.

The beaches of Bude in North Cornwall are some of the most beautiful in England, it maintains a rugged, wild feel that you don’t get at a lot of more developed beaches.

But what about surfing Bude, what are the waves like, what’s the best time to go and where are the best surf spots?

Heading to Cornwall for a surf trip? Check out our comprehensive guide to surfing Cornwall for all the best surf breaks the Cornish coast has to offer.

Is Bude good for surfing?

If you’re looking for a surf-town, it doesn’t get much better than Bude in North Cornwall. Bude is made up of three main beaches: Widemouth Bay, Crooklets and Summerleaze.

All three of these beaches are well-known for their quality waves and between the three you can surf through all stages of the tide.

Widemouth Bay

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 for most of the year

Water temperatures: 8°C to 18°C

Sand or rock: Mainly sand with rocky patches and two large rocky outcrops on either side of the beach

Suitable for: Shortboards, longboards, paddle boards, bodyboards, kayaks

Widemouth Bay is located 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 and attracts local surfers and visitors alike.

The beach has two main car parks that are both pay-to-park. You can either opt to 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 all the way through the tide here making it a great 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 north of the beach.

On smaller days Widemouth is suitable for beginners and the Free Wave Academy surf school is located just off the beach.

Black Rock located at the 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 all the way to the beach. Watch out for the few stray rocks in the lineup that can pop up mid-wave and take you by surprise.

Crooklets

Crooklets is a blue flag beach located 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 up at low tide meeting up with Summerleaze to the south. Lifeguarded through summer this beach can get busy due to its ease of access and relatively good waves. There’s a great right-hander that breaks off the rocky outcrop at the right of the bay with steep sections for shortboarders and bodyboarders.

Best surfed from low to mid the waves across the rest of the beach are 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 in the lineup.

Summerleaze

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 across the 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 and significantly decreases the size of the incoming waves. This makes for perfect little peelers that are great for beginners and surf lessons.

Further out right-handers peel off the sea pool and if you’re lucky you can make it all the way through to the inside with a bit of volume on your board.

aerial shot of summerleaze beach

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. The walk-out is relatively easy and you can stay comfortably at waist depth while you wait for your next wave.

If you learning to surf without an instructor it’s probably best to stay away from Widemouth and Crooklets. While both of these beaches are great on small clean days there’s always the risk of submerged rocks.

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. To the north of Bude, you can find Northcott Mouth and Duckpool. Both of these lesser-known waves are fickle but can offer up some fun rides under the right conditions.

Further down the coast is the very sheltered beach at Crackington Haven which offers protection from light to mid-northerly and southerly winds due to the large surrounding cliffs.

If you’re taking a trip down the whole coast don’t miss surfing Newquay, home to some of the UK’s best beach breaks it’s a great spot for getting away from pesky onshore winds.

Check out some of our most recent spot guides below for some new ideas for your next surf trip.