Surfing Saunton Sands

Saunton Sands is situated on the wave-rich coastline of North Devon just south of Croyde bay. Saunton offers easy access for surfers further inland and regular trains running to Barnstaple make surfing here without your own transport a viable option.

Overlooked by the Saunton Sands Hotel this stunning stretch of beach runs from the Saunton end all the way down to Westward Ho. The beach changes significantly as the tide drops and rises exposing miles of previously submerged sand.

Now let’s take a look at the finer details of surfing here, when to go and other surf spots in the local area.

What’s it like surfing at Saunton Sands?

Surfing Saunton Sands is a great option for beginners, longboarders and anyone looking for long gentle rides with relatively easy paddle-outs. Due to its long beach, Saunton doesn’t have a very steep shelf meaning that waves start to break from a long way out and gently roll into the bay (winds providing).

Unlike surfing in Croyde the vibe here is mellow and less high-performance focused with a wide array of wave riding crafts in the lineup. This also makes Saunton a popular spot for surf schools in the area looking for manageable waves for their students.

Don’t take our word for it just check out some of the rides captured in this homemade surf footage submitted to YT a few years ago.

If you are worried about wave direction it’s really not an issue here, lefts and rights break all up and down this stretch of beach with the best waves typically found breaking off the rocks on the right of the beach.

This huge expanse of sand also offers lots of opportunities to surf by yourself or with just a few others in the line-up. That being said you may need to walk a fair way down the beach to escape the summer crowds here.

When can you surf at Saunton Sands?

You can surf at Saunton Sands all year round, it’s location on the north coast of Devon means it’s fairly exposed to swells rolling in from the Atlantic ocean. The best waves normally occur between September and October with the highest chance of surfable wave heights and offshore winds but you can still find surfable windows all year long.

If you’re a beginner or starting to learn to surf you may want to opt for the summer or autumn when the water temperature is considerably warmer making for an overall more pleasant introduction to surfing.

Learning to surf at Saunton Sands

Saunton’s a great place to learn to surf and offers a pretty large selection of surf schools to choose from so we’ve gone ahead and picked our top three to help you decide.

Surf Saunton

Surf Saunton surf school offer a range of surf lessons for any age or ability level with a surf shack literally on the sand as you walk to the waves.

Their instructors are all qualified ISA instructors and beach lifeguards, so you can be confident that you’ll be learning from the best! They offer private lessons, group lessons, and family lessons so you’ll be set to bring along Grandma if she’s feeling brave.

Walking On Waves

Walking on waves operates the surf shack literally opposite Surf Saunton as you head to the beach. Offering ISA-qualified instructors and over 20 years of experience it’s a hard call between these two very well-established surf schools.

Surf South West LTD

Surf South West operate a surf school just around the headland at Croyde and comes with a fantastic set of reviews from previous students. Operating since 1996 they’ve been an integral part of the North Devon surfing community.

Open from mid-March through to November you’ve got plenty of time to finally book that surf lesson you’ve been waiting for!

  • What tide is best to surf at Saunton Sands?

    Saunton is best surfed from low tode to around an hour after mid tide. While the waves are still surfable at high tide the length of ride and power of the waves are considerably decreased.

  • Can you paddle board at Saunton Sands?

    Yes, Saunton is a perfect location for stand up paddle boards. Its long waves make it a great place to learn to surf on a paddle board and when the ocean is flat you can paddle all the way up to the point at the end of the headland.