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The UK's best surfing spots

adventure
(Image credit: Unknown)

In the September issue of Men’s Fitness Andrew Cotton, the UK’s leading big-wave surfer, talks about how he harnesses fear to ride 25m giants, uses yoga breathing to keep his cool and builds a surfer's six-pack on the beach.

Pick up the September issue, out 12th August, to find out more. But first, see below for our pick of the UK’s best surf spots and watch the video for your chance to join Cotton on his home surf in Croyde and follow him on a big-wave adventure to Nazaré off the coast of Portugal. 

The UK’s best surfing spots

THURSO EAST, HIGHLANDS

This north coast beach has consistent year-round surf. The air temperatures might be cold but the warmest waters can be enjoyed in September when Thurso East draws experienced surfers from all around Europe.
Swell range: 3-20ft (0.9-6.1m)
Surf school: Thurso Surf 

PORTH NEIGWL (HELL’S MOUTH), GWYNEDD

This impressive 6.5km-long bay is the best-known surf spot in north Wales, offering ample space so you’re not fighting others for the same swell. Tip: the best waves break beneath the cliffs at the south-east end of the bay. 
Swell range: 2-8ft (0.6-2.4m)
Surf school: West Coast Surf 

SALTBURN, TEESSIDE

Inhabited by surfers since the 1960s, this golden sandy beach is one of the original centres of the north-east surf scene. There are good waves for both beginners and intermediates on either side of the pier.
Swell range: 1-10ft (0.3-3.0m)
Surf school: Saltburn Surf

CROYDE, DEVON

The picturesque setting of the north Devon coast – home to the UK’s big-wave daredevil Andrew Cotton – has powerful waves which offer great challenges for intermediate and experienced surfers.
Swell range: 1-15ft (0.3-4.6m)
Surf school: Surf South West 

SENNEN COVE, CORNWALL

With ideal summer conditions and a welcoming local surfing community, this is easily one of the UK’s most breathtaking locations with consistent breaks and good-sized waves.
Swell range: 2-12ft (0.6-3.7m)
Surf school: Sennen Surfing Centre 

FRESHWATER WEST, PEMBROKESHIRE

This vast beach is considered to be one of the most consistent surf spots in Wales. The powerful and relatively large peaks provide plenty of opportunties to work on your barrell riding, if you can handle the tough paddle out (read our September issue feature with Cotton for ways to boost your paddle power).
Swell range: 2-15ft (0.6-4.6m) 
Surf school: AberAdventures 

Andrew Cotton has launched a national campaign with Cornwall-based Sharp’s Brewery, giving people the chance to join him on the surfing adventure of a lifetime. Click here for details on how to enter. Entries close 9th August.