The surprising South Coast surf scene
When someone says to you the words; best surfing beaches UK, the first places that spring to mind are going to be the likes of Fistral beach in Cornwall or Croyde Bay in North Devon. But what surprises a lot of people is that the South Coast surf scene is not as dire as one might first imagine.
Sure you’re not that prone to get barreled when hitting up South Coast surf spots! But let’s face it, most of us based in the South don’t get anywhere near enough water hours in to even consider riding such gnarly waves. One problem that we do share, due to said lack of water time, is that when the South Coast surf spots are on, they can get kinda rammed. But you’ll normally find more of a grateful to be out surfing close to home comradery on the waves, than a shred or go home attitude. With big smiles and mellow waves usually being the order of the day.
Read also:How to get started surfing & stick to it!
Best surfing beaches UK south coast
Now famed for its failed artificial reef project, Bournemouth has long pitched itself as the surf destination of the South Coast surf scene. Brimming with a suitable amount of surf shops and beach bars to give it a surf town feel, this kiss-me-quick seaside town offers some decent waves for both shortboarders and longboarders off its pier.
The East side of the pier has some fun, fast rights that you can paddle out to via the channel next to the pier itself. This side will also offer protection from the south-west winds. The west of the pier is more exposed but often much quieter and may be an option if the hoards and territorial local clique have descended on the Eastside. Parking in the car park next to the pier is pretty pricy but gives you the best access to the break.
Surf report Bournemouth
Just down the road from Bournemouth, you have the slightly less consistent but quieter break of Boscombe pier. The vibe here is definitely more laid back than its sometimes bolshie bigger brother down the road and there’s a great beach bar to have a drink in after your surf Urban Reef. The car park is half the price too! And it’s even free at some times of the day if you park on the hill just above the main car park.
Surf Report Boscombe
Down on the beautiful Jurassic coast is a gem of a wave that is loved by longboarders on smaller days and those who rip on its biggest days. This reef break is fairly exposed and tends to pick up its best groundswell from the channel in the coldest months. But this does at least keep the crowds somewhat at bay that head to this beautiful South Coast surf spot when it’s working.
Kimmeridge actually consists of three breaks. Ledges is great for longboarding, but a considerable paddle out, so make sure you’re fit enough to handle the paddle if you’re a beginner. The Bay holds out better on big conditions and creates some good long rides. The Bench should only be attempted by advanced surfers as its a shallow, powerful and hollow wave. A few rocks and rips to keep an eye out for!
Surf report Kimmeridge
This fun beach break is one of the best surfing beaches in the UK for a friendly mellow vibe. With lots of longboard suited party waves, this laid back South Coast surf spot is a great place for beginners or those who can’t deal with egos out in the water. Bracklesham does, however, have its fair run of decent shoulder height waves in the winter months.
Park in the council car park right in front of the break where you’ll find public toilets and the excellent Billy’s on the beach. Their very substantial brunches go down a treat after a decent winter session and the perfect spot to warm up in if you fancy a beer with sea views.
Surf report Bracklesham Bay
Webcam East Witterings
Other Southcoast Surf Spots to check out
An inconsistent and crumbly beach break that picks up more swell than the piers of Boscombe and Bournemouth down the road.
Known more for its extra-long SUP surf break that works in the winter off the sandbar at West beach. Hayling also has a right-hand point break on its southeasterly tip into Chichester harbour. Needs a massive SW swell from the channel to work and can only be surfed either side of high tide. When it’s on, so is the localism!
Surf report Hayling Island
More of a novelty fun wave than anything serious, a bit like the town itself! A slow longboarding wave for when you can’t get yourself further west and need to get wet.
Surf report Brighton