Torquay is a bustling seaside town in the south of Devon. Surfing in Torquay requires a large south-westerly groundswell to wrap around Berry Head into Torquay’s surfing beaches.
When it comes to surfing in Devon, Torquay isn’t exactly the first on the list but on very rare occasions it can get just about ok.
Can you surf in Torquay UK?
Yes, Torquay isn’t as exposed to swell as other parts of the coast nearby but it does still get surfable waves on rare occasions.
Winter is the most likely time for swells big enough to wrap into Torquay’s sheltered bay.
Being sheltered away from incoming swell Torquay is tucked away from prevailing local winds as well.
Torquay’s surf beaches face southwest making them offshore in winds from the north through to the west.
This can make surfing in Torquay a great option when you’re trying to escape large storms regularly accompanied by westerly winds.
Surf spots in Torquay
There are three primary surf spots in Torquay each with very different characteristics but all needing relatively similar conditions to start working.
All the spots benefit from being relatively close together so you can check them all without too much hassle.
Meadfoot is a small beach on the outskirts of Torquay. Comprised of sand and rock bottom with the occasional rock jutting out of the water, surfing here can be a bit sketchy.
The waves here are never of fantastic quality but the surroundings are beautiful.
You’ll need to surf Meadfoot Beach from low to mid-tide, the white water begins to hit the sea wall creating a cross chop and reducing wave quality.
Some areas of rock can provide little reef setups, particularly on smaller days with little to no wind.
As long as you don’t mind risking your fins you can get some great rides on a longboard here when the swells around the 2ft mark.
Better yet, grab a foamie and have some fun.
Parking’s simple with spots all along the seafront and a car park at the eastern end of the beach.
Torquay Beach needs a massive swell to get going but when it does it can provide a pretty crazy novelty wave.
Approximately 300m out from the shoreline there’s a shallow patch that can light up with square barrels.
Something of a mysto spot and rarely if ever surfed it can kick out some amazing microtubes.
Livermead reef is positioned just off the point at Livermead Hotel.
This wave rarely works and it needs a massive south-westerly swell to awake.
Best surfed at mid on the pushing tide, Livermead Reef is predominantly a right-hand point break when it gets good.
A steep and sometimes critical takeoff marks the start of the wave, this then forms a relatively user-friendly shoulder that eventually subsides into deep water.
The more groundswell the more likely this wave is to peel and offer a few sections after the steep take-off.
Unfortunately, we mainly get wind swell down here so the wave normally consists of a take-off followed by one section to do a snap or a critical manoeuvre, then a cut back if you’re lucky and done.
You can see Livermead Reef from the main road that runs along the Torquay seafront so checking the surf here is easy.
Hollicombe Beach is located at the far east end of the town nestled between Torquay and Paignton.
Often referred to as gasworks by the locals due to the large gas works that used to operate behind, this small rocky beach can offer surfable waves through low to mid-tide.
A small reef on the left of the bay can provide short punchy lefts while an A-frame can form in the centre of the bay.
Well worth a check if Livermead is looking a bit lacklustre.
Where else can you surf near Torquay?
Paignton just west of Torquay can provide some more user-friendly beaches with traditional beach break setups.
Preston Beach is the next bay along Hollicombe and can be surfed all up and down the length of the beach.
You can usually surf in Paignton when Torquay has swell and the pier normally holds the best waves with surfers using the large structure as a windbreak from southerly gales.
Goodrington Sands further around the coast is slightly more sheltered than Paignton’s main beach and can provide shelter from southwesterly winds.
If the swell is small you can try surfing Teignmouth which will pick up a bit more swell than spots around this location and it’s only a short drive up the road.
Surf shops in Torquay
Looking for some new rubber to get you through the winter months or some fresh fibreglass to replace a tired board?
Look no further! I can personally recommend Green Overhead as a quality surf shop, run by surfers for surfers.
You can shop online or pop into their showroom to browse their solid range of surf hardware.
Address: Unit A3, Westfield Business Park, Long Road, Paignton TQ4 7AU
What kind of wetsuit do I need to surf Torquay?
The majority of surfable waves here arrive in the winter so you’re going to want a 5mm wetsuit and wetsuit boots at the bare minimum plus a hood and gloves for the coldest months.
What’s the best time of year to surf Torquay?
Torquay needs massive swells that normally arrive with winter storms between December and February.
Is it dangerous surfing in Torquay?
Most of Torquay’s surf beaches have submerged rocks that can be dangerous when falling or surfing close to the beach.
Try to observe the beaches at low tide to familiarise yourself with any prominent obstacles.