It is no secret that the South West holds some of the top destinations for those with a love of surfing, paddle boarding and wakeboarding. With such a wide choice of beaches, however, it can sometimes prove tricky to choose which one is best. Here is our pick of the top 10 beaches for watersports in Devon to help you choose exactly which waves to hit.
Watersport Spots In North Devon
North Devon beaches offer some of the best waves in England, remaining fairly consistent in terms of surfing conditions to offer more choice for those interested in extreme watersports.
Woolacombe is a perfect destination for surfers of all ability thanks to its open beach break peaks and a swell range between 1-12 feet. Day’s with smaller swells are ideal for longboarders and surfing beginners, while days with larger swells provide a top-notch beach break for experienced surfers and bodyboarders. Over Summer, Wollacombe tends to have smaller swells, making it ideal for those who are still learning or enjoy a more mellow pace. If you want to take part in group water activities, Active Escape offers everything from adventure challenges, coastal rafting and stand up paddleboarding.
Croyde is a fantastic choice for experienced surfers looking for steep, fast waves, with the possibility to find some shade in a perfect A-frame barrel during lower tides. Croyde is a popular beach, so be warned that it can get overcrowded during peak seasons. There is also at risk of strong rip tides when swells are large, so it may not be the best choice for beginners.
Saunton Sands boasts long, slow walls which makes it an ideal destination for longboarders, kiteboarders and paddleboarders. Offering a wide range of wave sizes, Saunton Sands has a swell range between 1-12 feet and the best time to hit for watersports is low tide. If you need to kit yourself out before you hit the waves, you can grab second-hand surfboards, accessories and other beach essentials at Surfed Out, which is only a 10-minute journey up the road.
Putsborough can be a little tricky to get to, with the only access to the beach being down a steep and narrow lane. However, once you are there, you are met with reasonable peaks that are well-sheltered from strong South Westerly and Westerly winds. Putsborough is a great place to paddleboard if the winds are picking up too much on the other beaches. If you are looking into buying your own paddleboard, Red Paddle Co is a fantastic Devon-based paddleboard company with options for both beginners and hardcore paddlers.
Watersport Spots In South Devon
South Devon beaches are just as beautiful as the other side of the coast, however, they tend to vary greatly in terms of surfing conditions, making them a better choice for flat water activities.
Wembury Point is a great destination for those who prefer time in the water rather than on it, with fantastic swimming and snorkelling opportunities. There is also plenty of sand and rock pools, so there is plenty to enjoy out of the water too. With several popular beaches and bays – such as Haybrook and Bovisands – sprinkled along the coast, you can find a spot to suit your watersport needs.If you are desperate to surf, however, there is one beach break in the area that can be used as long as there is a solid swell, although beware of the rocks on either shoulder.
Mothercombe is a popular family destination, with the safe shallow waters, a perfect hidden gem for paddleboarding with lots of small, secluded coves to explore. This beach may not be the best option for surfing, however, when the winds are blowing in too strong around the corner at Bantham the headland offers good protection. If you are a beginner wishing to get comfortable on the board then it could prove a useful beach to practice on. Just to the left is the mouth of the river Erme, which is fantastic for paddle boarding. Just bear in mind that this is tidal, so plan your paddle accordingly to not get stuck up river!
Bantham is an ideal location for those who are into swimming, surfing and everything in between, with access to other areas of interest and natural beauty such as Bigbury Bay and Burgh Island. The onshore conditions with a South-Westerly wind make it a great beach for watersports such as kitesurfing, whereas a North-Easterly wind and a good swell are better for windsurfing. On larger days, strong riptides can wash out to sea from the river’s mouth, so always respect the water and stay within your depth.
Hope Cove is made up of two beaches with sandy and rocky areas within a sheltered cove, with perfect conditions for swimming and watersports such as kayaking, paddle boarding. It’s not only the water that makes it an interesting place to visit, but the long stretches of sand and surrounding rock pools are great for exploring. If you’re planning on a full day out on the water with family or friends, check out these Watertight Cool Bags from Red Original. Perfect for keeping picnic items dry and chilled even on the hottest days, they’re perfect for taking out on the water with you so that you can dine on small islands or even on your boards.
Salcombe has a number of beaches and coves in the surrounding area, but the closest and most popular is North Sands. Whilst it is totally submerged at high tide, low tide is great for kayaking and paddle boarding. Mid tide and a large South-Westerly swell are best if surfing is your sport of choice.
Teignmouth boasts a long stretch of beach, so you shouldn’t need to worry about overcrowding even during peak seasons. It is set at the mouth of an estuary with calm water conditions, making it perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking.