Surf’s up for camping dudes!

Although the products and services provided by BCH Camping are associated with all things terra firma, we know that water sports are a big pull for many of our customers looking for a camping holiday on the coast.
Riding the surf is particularly intriguing to people who live far from a beach, so surf schools are on the increase to accommodate adventurous holidaymakers. According to Surfer Today, “On a scale of 1 to 10, it is fair to say that learning to surf is a challenge with a degree of difficulty between 2 and 7.” What can we take from this? Perhaps that it’s a skill that could be adopted by many, but the level of competence may vary!

Who can learn to surf?

As with many sports, the younger you learn the better, which is good news when trying to find activities for a family camping holiday. Some pick it up quicker than others, learning within hours, but with a little persistence most should be surfing within a few days of tuition. Strictly speaking once you’re standing on a board and traveling on the water for a few seconds, you’re surfing.
To surf in deep water, you should be a confident swimmer so that you can find your board when you fall off (because you will!) and get back on. You can learn to surf in shallow waters without being a confident swimmer but if you plan on progressing to deep water, you need to up those swimming skills.
One thing’s for sure, as a group you could have some great fun falling off and getting back on the board! The main thing to consider, however, is that you need to be in pretty good shape to take on the exhausting processes of paddling and getting on and off the board, so you may not get much from the experience if you don’t have decent energy levels.

Longboard and shortboard surfing – what’s the difference?

Using the most appropriate equipment is important when learning many sports. Surfers use either a longboard or a shortboard, depending on surfing expertise.
A longboard is generally any board over 9 feet in length. Anything less is not a proper longboard: there are boards that reach up to 8 feet, but they’re considered to be funboards or mid-length boards. Longboards have a rounded nose that is suited to riding mellower waves, so ideal for beginners.
Shortboards are less than 7 feet, with a pointed nose to ride fast waves down a steep face. They’re for advanced surfers who can duck dive which is a skilled technique used for going under waves.

Is the UK the poor relation for surfing?

Certainly not! It’s tempting to be blindsided by the image of the stereotypical surfer and assume that the best places to learn to surf are on the other side of the world. In fact, Cornwall features in Wanderlust’s top ten places in the world to learn to surf. Admittedly, the Cornish coast shares the accolade with more exotic places such as Noosa in Australia, Bali, Hawaii and Lanzarote, but Cornwall certainly holds its surfing own.
The Sennen Surfing Centre in Penzance, for example, which is the featured Cornwall location in the list, picks up the swell when other breaks nearby remain completely flat, and has been given a five star rating by the British Surfing Association (BSA).

Where are the best places to surf in the UK?

Your opinion on the best place to surf can be rather subjective. Your ability and personal preferences will, no doubt, affect your opinion. We’ve researched various lists, and along with the Sennen Surfing Centre, there are many notable surf locations across the UK, a selection of which are:

Freshwater West Beach, Wales

Considered to be the premier surf spot in Wales, surfers from across the world go to Freshwater West Beach for its huge peaks and breaks. Permission is needed to surf there.
Who should go? Experts

Fistral Beach, Cornwall

The home of many international surf competitions, including the British National Surf Championships, Fistral Beach has something to offer everyone. Beginners can enjoy smaller waves in the summer while the winter waves are ideal for surfing experts.
Who should go? Beginners and experts

Thurso East, Scotland

Hailed by many as the best surfing beach not only in Scotland, but in Europe, Thurso East is an exposed point break on the North Coast that has consistent surf throughout the year. Its reputation, however, means that crowds can sometimes be a problem.
Who should go? Beginners and experts

Porthleven, Cornwall

At the scenic spot of Porthleven, the best surf is found west of the harbour. The barrels get very shallow so only experts should tackle them. Because this is perceived to be Cornwall’s best reef break, it can be very busy.
Who should go? Experts

Saltburn, North Yorkshire

Saltburn is great for beginners because the mellow waves next to the pier are perfect for practising surfing moves. Protection from the headland of Huntcliff, and its north-facing location that picks up impressive swell, make this the perfect spot for beginners and experts alike.
Who should go? Beginners and experts

Croyde, North Devon

Croyde Bay is located between Woolacombe and Saunton Sands beaches. Longboarders and beginners should head to Saunton Sands for a gentler surf.
Who should go? Beginners (Saunton Sands) and experts (Croyde Bay)

Kimmeridge Bay, Dorset

Nicknamed K-Bay, Kimmeridge Bay is considered one of the best surf locations on the south coast. There are three main areas: The Ledges (best for longboarding), The Bay and The Bench which is for surfers who can handle up to 12ft waves.
Who should go? Beginners and experts

Llangennith, Gower Peninsula

Llangennith is the most popular spot along the Gower Peninsular which is at the heart of a thriving Welsh surf scene. This is a three mile stretch of beach breaks, popular with complete beginners and expert surfers alike.
Who should go? Beginners and experts

Surfing schools

Surfing schools run daily courses that are ideal for holidaymakers, either privately or as a group. Many of the places mentioned above have surf schools. The Saltburn school, for example, has been running since 1983 and the Sennen Surfing Centre has been in existence in one form or another since the 1960s.
It’s wise to book early, particularly if you’re a large group, and prices vary from location to location. Family bookings are available, although it’s advisable to check the minimum age for younger family members.
Most importantly of all – have fun!

Get in touch

It’d be great to hear your suggestions for great surfing spots while on your camping holidays. Remember, if you need any camping equipment, tentsfootwear or clothingBCH Camping can supply these and many other camping accessories. Just get in touch, we’d be delighted to help.