Devon is located in the far south of England nestled between Cornwall and Dorset. Known for its beautiful beaches and rugged coast Devon is a draw for surfers and tourists from all over the world.
Exposed to the Atlantic on its north coast and the English Channel on its south Devon get’s its fair share of swell breaking along its coastline.
So what do Devon’s golden shores offer in terms of waves, surf spots and more? Let’s find out in our detailed guide to surfing in Devon.
Can you surf in Devon?
Yes, Devon’s varied coastline offers great waves on both coasts. Much like Cornwall, there are surf spots on either side of the county with beach breaks, reefs and point breaks hiding just behind the next headland.
The most consistent waves can be found on Devon’s north coast at spots like Croyde and Woolacombe but the south coast does get somewhat consistent waves.
Let’s take a look at the best surf spots Devon has to offer from shallow sandbanks to long rolling waves breaking along pebbled points.
Surf spots in Devon
We’ve curated a list of what we think are the best wave’s in Devon based on our own surfing experiences and we’re going to give you an honest, no-nonsense insight into what it’s like to surf at these spots.
Croyde Beach is undoubtedly the jewel in Devon’s Crown. Known for its cruisey, beach town vibe and surf-centric scene, Croyde is one of the UK’s best know surf communities and waves to match.
At low tide with a good ground swell Croyde can offer up beach break waves to rival anywhere else in the world. Even though these days are few and far between the possibility of spitting barrels brings crowds of dedicated surfers always coming back for more.
Croyde’s an easy drive for surfers living inland further up the country so it has a nasty habit of getting dangerously crowded, particularly in the summer months.
Try to surf Croyde either early or late in the day between September and November when long period ground swells arrive with favourable easterly winds.
Planning on heading to Croyde for a surf trip? Check out our detailed guide to surfing in Croyde to find out more about how the waves break at different stages of the tide and some local tips.
Saunton is the yin to Croyde’s yang. Rather than the fast-paced peaks located around the corner, Saunton Sands offers slow-rolling waves perfect for learning or going for a cruise on your longboard.
We love the beach at Saunton but if you’re planning on a trip here prepare yourself for the terrifying cost to park that seems to go up every year.
On the plus side, Saunton Sands does offer a couple of great surf schools for beginners located right off the beach.
Check out our short read on going surfing at Saunton Sands to find out more about the spot with some local know-how.
Heading over to the south coast of Devon we have Bantham Bay located facing the famous Burgh Island and Bigbury on Sea.
Bentham’s the most consistent wave on Devon’s south coast and makes for a beautiful view while you catch some waves.
You can park at Bantham or if you’re feeling adventurous head over to the Bigbury side and paddle across (experienced surfers only).
Head over to our helpful guide to surfing Bantham Beach to find out some local tips before you visit for your next surf trip.
Sidmouth isn’t your stereotypical surf spot, this sleepy seaside town is better known for retirement than its thriving surf scene but believe it or not when the waves get good here it can get pretty busy!
Sidmouth needs a large south-westerly ground swell to travel up the English Channel to really get good but you can surf it on southerly and easterly wind swells from time to time.
On the rare occasion you do find surfable waves at Sidmouth you can head up the coast a little to Jacob’s Ladder to find a bit of peace away from the crowd.
Check out our guide to surfing in Sidmouth to find out more about the waves there and what you can expect before you go.
Putsborough lies just north of Croyde across the large headland. Thankfully that same large headland offers precious shelter from strong south and southwesterly winds that regularly blow in this area of north Devon.
Tucked behind the large cliffs you can find fun lefts and rights through low tide all the way through to a few hours before high when the waves reach the rocks on the inside.
Much like Saunton Sands the parking here is extortionate and with no other options if you want to surf you’ll need to pay.
Just further north form Putsborough lies Woolacombe Bay, a long stretch of golden sands backed by large dunes.
You can find great waves all up and down the beach with particularly good waves to be found at Combesgate at the far north end of the bay.
Unlike Croyde, surfing at Woolacombe gives you plenty of room to spread out and find your own waves away from the crowds and parking is considerably cheaper than further down the coast.
Lynmouth is tucked right up in the entrance to the Bristol Channel but on the largest of ground swells, this hidden gem can come to life with amazing results.
Lynmouth stretches out along a large pebble stone point with a river mouth separating the point. You can find perfect peeling lefts on the right day here but this spot is strictly for experienced surfers.
Frequently asked questions
We answer some common questions you might have about surfing in Devon. If you’re planning a surf trip don’t miss our must-read guide to surfing in Cornwall for all the best waves in the area.
Where’s the best surfing in Devon?
If you’re looking for fast powerful beach break waves it doesn’t get much better than Croyde at low tide with a pushing swell. If you’re more of a cruise master then Saunton Sands just round the corner is perfect for longboarders and stand-up paddleboards.
Is Devon or Cornwall better for surfing?
Even though Devon has some fantastic surfing spots Cornwall is far more exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and you can find considerably more surfing beaches. Check out our guide to surfing in Cornwall to find out more.
Can you surf on the south coast of Devon?
Yes, there are some great waves on the south coast of Devon, Sidmouth, Bantham and Wembury are all surfable in the right conditions.
Can you surf in Torquay, Devon?
Yes, even though Torquay is very sheltered from swells coming up the English Channel it does get surfable waves on rare occasions. Check out our guide to surfing in Torquay for an overview of the surf spots.