What is a secret spot in surfing?

A secret spot in the context of surfing relates to a relatively unknown beach or reef that is suitable for some form of surfing craft. Typically these spots are found in remote but wave-rich areas and are only known to a small amount of the local surfing community. The general consensus around ‘secret spots’ in surfing is similar to the movie Fight Club, the first rule…you don’t talk about secret spots.

Let’s dive deeper into what is a secret spot in surfing terms and how you go about finding them.

How can you find secret surfing spots?

Locating a potential secret spot is often referred to as ‘the search’, this can involve a myriad of techniques for finding uncrowded waves with just yourself and a few other surfers.

Since the advent of the internet, several of the UK’s best-kept secret spots have been exposed through a combination of social media and surf publications leading to increases in crowds, and on some occasions instances of localism.

In the spirit of adventure we’ve given you a detailed list of methods and tips so you can try and locate some of your own mysto/secret surfing:

Understand wave height/direction and wind speed/direction

Before you can start to find potential spots for your search you need to thoroughly understand the conditions and where to look.

Understanding how big the waves are in feet or metres and the direction of the swell is really important. Getting a feel for how big the waves are at a beach or reef during different surf conditions can really help you to start to predict how other spots may work in similar conditions.

Wind speed and direction play a major part in locating the best potential surf. Looking for large sheltering cliffs during cross-shore winds can mean the difference between a fun session or a never-ending paddle.

Scope out potential spots using Google Maps

The satellite mode on Google Maps is your best friend when trying to find waves in tucked-away corners. Look for breaking rollers or if there isn’t much swell you can scope out potential reef setups by getting a closer look at the ocean floor and reef oceanography.

Pro Tip: You can look at your local or a beach you are familiar with to work out the state of the tide when the satellite images were taken.

Look out for natural shelter from the wind

Piers, large hills, surrounding cliffs, and groins can all hide perfect little waves when everywhere else is blown to pieces by onshore winds.

Keep an eye out for beaches, point breaks or reefs that get shelter from man-made structures like breakwaters or large buildings.

Keep a swell diary

Keeping a simple record of the spots you visit and the conditions on the day can save you heaps of time scratching your head thinking where to surf.

Note down the swell direction and height, check the wind and write it all down. You can even write a few notes so you know what to expect for the next time the surf report matches.

Always be respectful when you’re paddling out at a new surf spot

This one goes without saying but always stay friendly and treat any locals with the utmost respect.

I’m not going to recommend surfing alone to anyone but if you do find a secret spot don’t bring along your whole WhatsApp group for the next session. Keep it to pairs and don’t turn up with carloads of surfers ready to swarm an unsuspecting peak.

Keep your secret spot a secret

As the name suggests you’ll need to keep silent about your new favourite wave. As surfers, I feel like this is a real struggle for us, naturally, we want to tell the world about that stand-up barrel we got with three surfers out at this relatively unknown spot, but keeping your cards close to your chest may just keep that crowd down at bay for a little longer.

Conclusion

Finding a secret spot in surfing is like finding the holy grail. Exploring your local coastline is a great way to stay fit and you can even get a fairly good idea of potential waves on flat days.

Good luck on your hunt and don’t forget to keep your new wave a secret. Head over to one of our short reads below for more helpful guides to help you skyrocket your surfing progression.