Wetsuits at the ready because Yorkshire has some great surf beaches. The varied coastline throws up some great surfing conditions that are largely rock-free and free from crowds too. So, thanks to the great facilities, easy access, and of course tempting waves, surfing in the county has never been as popular.
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The best time for beginners to intermediate surfers is autumn when the waves are more consistent, the sea is not yet too cold and the beaches are less crowded than in summer. More adventurous and experienced surfers might prefer the winter months when the waves are likely to be at their biggest.
So where to surf? Or should that be where to surf first? Scarborough’s North and South Bays have nice rolling beach breaks and are gentle enough for beginners to try. A popular spot for long boarders, low to mid tides offer bigger surf for the more experienced. Lifeguards are on duty during the summer months.
Another favourite spot is Cayton Bay. A quiet and unspoilt bay, with great facilities, it offers some of the county’s best surfing year round, from three key surfing locations.
The Point offers left handed waves breaking around the headland that can hold a big swell but is for experienced surfers only, while Pump House at the Northern end of the Bay breaks at mid to low tide with fast moving hollow lefts and occasional rights. The wave is fast due to the shelving nature of the shore, requiring a quick take off and is better suited for intermediate to advanced surfers, although white water waves in front and smaller days allow beginners to get involved too.
At mid – high tide the middle of the bay offers a nice, mellow wave perfect for learning, body boarding, and long boarding and with good expanse it handles a crowd easily.
At to the South end of the bay lies the aptly named Bunkers, one of the only spots that can be surfed through the full high tide locally. Bunkers offers world class A-frame peaks with both lefts and rights breaking over sand and is one of the Yorkshire Coasts premier beach breaks, busy when it’s on but the numerous peaks spread the crowd and there’s always a good vibe in and out of the water.
Out to sea covering the centre of the bay is the reef, rarely surfed due to it’s distance from shore and inconsistency but still offering the perfect barrier from mid – low tide creating a flat water lagoon perfect for Kayaking and Paddle Boarding / SUP’s. The Picturesque nature of the bay with it’s clean water, year round dog friendly beach, easy affordable parking and the good facilities (offered by Scarborough Surf School) on the cliff top keep Cayton Bay busy year round as Yorkshire’s premier surf destination.
The northern end of the County’s coastline, including Whitby and beyond offers some of the most challenging surfing for the more dedicated enthusiasts particularly in the winter months.
Find Out More
You can find the latest information on tides and conditions here.
If you’re new to surfing, or in need of a little extra tuition, there are a number of surf schools in the area.
Fluid Concept Surf Shop and Surf School in Scarborough has one of the most experienced surf instructors in the UK – a dedicated surfer for over 30 years, just test his knowledge… he’s a great surfer and knows a thing or two about identifying flowers, aquatic life and ornithology.
If you love adventure and outdoor activites and want a different and inspiring experience which is safe, yet diverse and fun, then Dexter’s Surf Shop are the ultimate activity centre for you! Surf lessons are their speciality but they also offer stand up paddleboarding and kayaking & Cycling, There is something for all the family!
There’s also Scarborough Surf School. They are Scarborough’s Premier Surf School first established in 1997 as a mobile unit and now operating exclusively from Cayton Bay Surf shop where they have been based for the last six years or well over 6000 lessons in terms of teaching! Although primarily a dedicated surf school and hire centre, they also offer Paddle Board lessons and hire as well as Coasteering sessions locally, offering you an exciting activity to remember regardless of conditions. They cater for individuals, families, and large groups including stag and hen parties and pride themselves on our fully qualified and experienced instructors keeping you both safe and stoked!
Harbourside Watersports, Scarborough – Explore the Jurassic coastline of Scarborough while surfing; wonder at how peaceful it is a few metres from the shoreline.
Saltburn Surf School is the only surf school approved by Surfing Great Britain on the East Coast. Providing professional coaching and a safe environment to learn and improve your surfing since 1983.
Fancy something a little different? Why not try your hand at stand up paddle boarding? Standing on a long and stable surfboard, propel yourself with a long-handled paddle.
It’s a great way to see our amazing coastline and brilliant if you want to spend more time out of the water than in it. The team at Fluid Concept in Scarborough offer paddleboard lessons to get you started.
Scarborough Surf School based at Cayton Bay is now home to a dedicated fleet of cutting edge Paddle Boards, this relatively new sport is growing quickly and allows you to practice that balance and keep fit on those flat water days. With a lesson and a little practice you can even start to ride small waves before venturing out in to some bigger surf when more experienced. They offer tours of the stunning picturesque bay and when conditions allow can land on a secluded beach complete with inquisitive seal colony, fossil rich rocks and believe it or not clearly visible Dinosaur Footprints! For those wanting something a little more adrenalin fuelled, they now offer Coasteering sessions too…!