Surfing Croyde Bay

Croyde Bay is a small beachside town located in North Devon. With easy access for surfers living in Bristol and London and several other quality waves in the area, Croyde Bay is a popular surfing spot.

Surfing Croyde Bay has been etched into the UK’s surf history since American GI’s stationed here during WW2 took to the waves of Woolacombe on their wooden surfboards, inspiring a growing local surf community.

Recently North Devon was awarded the status of World Surfing Reserve, one of just 12 locations across the whole globe. This gives a voice to prominent local surfers, letting them affect changes that could impact waves in the area.

You can learn more about Croyde’s status as a World Surfing Reserve here.

Is Croyde Bay good for surfing?

Croyde offers fantastic waves when conditions align, famed for its fast low tide barrels the waves here can be world-class on their day.

Offshore winds here blow from the east and the ideal swell direction is from the west. While Croyde does offer waves all the way through the tide the best waves are generally found two hours on either side of low tide.

Croyde is without a doubt one of the most famous surf spots in the UK, surpassed only by the surfing mecca that is Newquay and its many surrounding beaches. With its relatively easy access for inland surfers, it can often get very busy in the lineup here.

Surf spots at Croyde Bay

South Croyde

The south of Croyde Bay provides predominantly left-handers that can break off the rocky area to the south of the bay. The waves here can be slightly mellower than on the rest of the beach but paddling out can be a bit of a slog when the wave size increases.

Downend Point

Downend Point sits at the far south of Croyde Bay and can be seen as you drive down the coastal road from Saunton Sands. When waves on the main beach are 5ft+ a right-hand reef starts to awaken.

Downend Point can be good when it’s on but most of the time it can be a bit lacking in power. The right-hander breaks fairly close to rocks so is strictly for advanced surfers willing to risk their surfboards, bodies and fins.

Baggy Point

Baggy Point sits on the north end of Croyde Bay. The beach at the north end of Croyde can produce perfect barreling a-frame peaks on its day and is characterised by its powerful waves breaking in shallow water.

When a large ground swell hits you can often find waves further up onto the rock pint with the wave ending at the far north of the beach. Waves here break close to the rocks and you’ll likely be sharing waves with crowds.

Surfers enjoying the frigid waves of Croyde in mid-winter 2022

Where else can you surf close to Croyde Bay?

Croyde is a fairly exposed beach break and when predominant south-westerly gales increase over 10mph it can start to affect wave quality and ride length.

If the swell is large enough you can head up the coast to Lynmouth which provides a lot more shelter and a selection of great waves including a world-class left-hand point on its day.

Check out our guide on Surfing Lynmouth to find out when to go and what to expect when you get there.

  • Can you surf Croyde at high tide?

    Yes, while Croyde Bay is famed for its low tide barrels it offers waves through all stages of the tide. Waves’ size and power will decrease as the tide pushes up but this can be a great time to go for beginners or surfers trying to avoid the crowds.

  • Is Croybe beach busy?

    During the summer it can be hard to even put down a towel on Croyde Beach. As the temperature drops and you head into Autumn the beach tends to quiet down with the majority of beach users in the lineup surfing.

  • What’s the best time of year to surf Croyde Bay?

    September to October offer the best chance of quality groundswell alongside warm water temperatures. If you’re committed to cold water waves then Croyde can have some fantastic swells through the colder winter months.

  • Where can you park at Croyde Bay?

    Free parking is a thing of the past here so you’ll need to park in one of the paid car parks surrounding the beach at Croyde. If you’re a National Trust member you can get free parking on the north end of the beach with a dedicated parking area.

  • Can you learn to surf at Croyde?

    Yes, there are several surf schools at Croyde Bay alongside board and wetsuit rental if you want to try and teach yourself to surf.