Surfing in Sidmouth

Sidmouth is a small seaside town located in South Devon. Surfing in Sidmouth gives you a choice of two main surf spots, the town beach, and Jacobs Ladder, both can provide surfable waves when conditions allow.

Both beaches can offer average but inconsistent waves all year round with the majority of surfable swells coming through the winter months.

The beaches are characterised by the red sandstone that filters through the surf giving the waves a browny red appearance and staining the wax on your board the same colour.

Sidmouth Surf Spots

You can find surfable waves across most of Sidmouth’s shoreline with the majority of the waves breaking over a gradually rising sand bottom.

When you arrive in Sidmouth and make your way to the seafront you’ll see the town beach with fun peaks all up and down the beach.

Heading to your west you’ll start to gradually rise up a hill until you are met with Jacobs Ladder on your left, Sidmouth’s second surf break.

Town beach

Town beach consists of any of the small bays separated by groynes that stretch the length of the promenade (seafront).

A steep pebbly beach gives way to the reddish sand that makes up the majority of the beach.

The best waves are normally found just inside of the large rock island located approximately 100m out to sea.

The rock island provides some shelter from prevailing south-westerly winds and breaks up the swell creating surfable waves.

Town beach is best surfed from low to mid tide, at high tide the weaves can backwash off the steep pebble slope creating a wobble in the incoming waves and making it harder to surf.

Mid tide normally offers the best waves for shortboarders and high-performance surfing with the inner groynes acting as anchors for the sand to gather around.

This creates short punchy rides that offer some steep sections before exploding on the pebble beach.

Low tide can see waves extend right back past the rock island.

While this can offer longer rides it’s often very weak at full low and more suited to larger surfing craft.

Jacobs Ladder

Located at the western end of Sidmouth and flanked by large sandstone cliffs Jacobs Ladder offers stunning views from the beach and water.

Predominantly sand bottom with the odd rock outcrop this beach has a very gentle decline meaning the waves break quite far out, offering considerably long rides in comparison to Sidmouth’s main town beach.

Large ground swell is best here and on some rare occasions, you can even get a left forming off the reef located just to the left of the entrance ramp.

Jacobs Ladder is notoriously bad in onshore or cross-shore winds with the town beach nearly always providing better waves for surfing.

Other surf spots around Sidmouth

The Jurrasic Coast is full of quality surf spots including reef point breaks and beaches.

If the waves are too small in Sidmouth you can head over to Lyme Regis which picks up a lot more swell.

You can check out our guide to surfing Lyme Regis here.

To the west of Sidmouth, you’ll find a range of beaches including Ladram Bay and Budleigh, while these spots aren’t well known for surfing they can offer hidden gems for the committed surf adventurer.

Is it dangerous surfing in Sidmouth?

Crowds can pose a risk here due to Sidmouth’s recent popularity as a go-to surf spot on the Jurrasic Coast.

Cliff falls are also a regular occurrence here so be careful if you’re walking up Jacob’s Ladder beach and avoid walking too close to the bottom of the cliffs.

What’s the best time of year to surf Sidmouth?

While Sidmouth can offer waves all year around October to January normally provide the best swell and wind conditions for quality waves.

Which surf spot is best for stand up paddleboarding in Sidmouth?

Jacobs Ladder provides longer less powerful rides that are more suited to stand up paddle boarders, longboards and kayaks.

Where can you park to surf in Sidmouth?

Sidmouth is a very popular tourist destination so finding a parking spot to surf normally requires paying for a ticket.

If you don’t mind walking you can normally find some parking in the residential streets behind the beach.

Can you book surf lessons in Sidmouth?

Yes, Jurrasic Paddle Sports is located right on the promenade to the far western side of the town beach.

They offer surfboard and wetsuit hire alongside other watersports activities like stand up paddleboarding and kayaking.