Cheffy’s top 3 North Devon surf spots
With all the stormy weather we’ve been having in the last few days I’ve been thinking about heading out surfing again because the storms whip up some decent waves. I’d only go out surfing in big waves because I’m an experienced surfer and even then only with friends.
While it’s not safe to go out when the storm is in full flow the waves usually stick around for a few days after the storm’s gone.
This means there are lots of waves hitting the UK’s coasts – not like back home in Italy where the Mediterranean is pretty still.
Seeing footage of the waves on TV has reminded me about the fun I had surfing last summer when the gang and I visited John Fowler’s Devon holiday parks. It’s got me thinking about taking my own holidays in Devon this year and visiting some of my favourite surf spots.
But before I book anything I thought I’d have a think about what three beaches would top my Serie A of surf spots.
Along with Fistral Beach in Cornwall, Croyde Bay is regarded as the one of the best beach breaks in the South West and attracts the country’s top surfers.
The sheltered bay is 800m long, and although it’s one of the smallest in North Devon it’s probably best for shortboarders. That’s because as the waves come into the narrow bay they’re forced upwards and become bigger and steeper.
It’s also got two different breaks – a reef break at Baggy Point end and a point break at Down End.
Travel south from Croyde along the coastal road and you’ll come to Saunton Sands.
Although it’s only half a mile from Croyde the three mile stretch of sand here offers a totally different wave.
I take my longboard to Saunton because good swell here can produce lines of slow, sweeping rides – perfect for surfers with boards over 7’2” and beginners.
There are also interesting sights at Saunton. The north end of the beach is a military training area for nearby RMB Chivenor, and the giant Lockheed C-130 Hercules can sometimes be seen using the beach to practice beach take offs and landings – although that doesn’t happen during the tourist season!
The beach is also a popular destination to shoot music videos, with Robbie Williams’ “Angels” and Olly Murs’ “Hand On Heart” both filmed here.
North of Croyde is Woolacombe, which was voted Britain's Best Beach in 2012.
The beach attracts thousands of visitors every summer although it’s popular all year round.
Like Saunton, it’s a 3 mile long stretch of golden sand so finding uncrowded space in the sea to surf is not a problem, even in the height of summer. Woolacombe offers beach breaks which surf well throughout the tide and is perfect for all abilities – beginners, intermediates, long and short boarders.
The best thing about all these beaches is they're really close to John Fowler Holiday Parks, including Ilfracombe Holiday Park, Golden Coast Holiday Park, Devon Coast Holiday Park, Combe Martin Beach Holiday Park and Sandaway Beach Holiday Park.