Where to go coastal windsurfing in Britain? A question that has so many answers! But the best UK windsurf spots below are a very good place to start.
Windsurfing is quintessentially British. Its invention by Peter Chilvers in 1958 was inspired by our national love of sailing. And best of all it turns one of this island’s drawbacks – high winds – into an advantage.
Where to go coastal windsurfing in Britain?
Thanks to ever-improving wetsuit technology we can now get into the water year round. So the best UK windsurf spots are accessible in all but the harshest British weather.
With the UK surrounded on all sides by water, all you need is some decent transport and you somewhere the wind is blowing is always within reach. Nowhere is more than 70 miles from the coast so within a couple of hours you can be on the water.
If you want a windsurfing holiday in Britain there are more destinations then we could possibly cover in this article. Many spots are also fairly popular tourist destinations, and as windsurfing is often better in the tourist off-season you can grab a bargain.
Best UK windsurf spots
Want to know where to go coastal windsurfing in Britain? Below are what we consider to be the top destinations to windsurf around the United Kingdom.
Hayling Island, Hampshire
It’s fitting that great windsurfing can be had on Hayling Island, the very place where the sport was invented by Peter Chilvers in 1958. There is every kind of water here, depending on what beach you go to and what time of the year it is.
In the summer the beginners head down to Sandy Point for the flat water, while in midwinter you can put your retractable fins to the test on the medium-high waves for some formula loops and flips. The beach faces south/southwest and the best direction for waves is south.
At mid to low tide, east/southeast offers some gnarly stunt ramps along the sandbar. Watch out for the groynes near the launch area at high tide – like sirens they suck windsurfers right to them.
Arguably the lowest wipeout factor of any beach in Scotland if not the UK. Troon is also known for its manageable bump and jumps, multi-directional winds and gorgeous vistas of the Clyde.
There are two beaches to play with. The south beach is all crunching waves and cross onshore conditions, until the tide goes out and reef-sheltered flat water is available. The north beach is calmer and more freeride-friendly.
With pubs dripping with character, traditional fish and chips, cafes and free parking, there’s more to Troon than just windsurfing. Its beaches sit pretty on the west coast of Scotland, 14 miles southwest of Kilmarnock.
Portland Harbour (Weymouth), Dorset
Many windsurfers UK favourite is Portland Harbour. The fantastically flat water helps slalomers achieve almost warp speed. This is where to go coastal windsurfing in Britain if you like your water flat.
It’s for good reason that this place holds the longest running and oldest speed sailing event – Weymouth Speed Week. It was also been named a 2012 Olympics Centre of Excellence.
All windsurfers need consistent wind. At Rhosneigr in North Wales, east is the only direction where you won’t get it. Both the port and starboard tack riding is brilliant all season and the low to mid tides suit all skill levels. Easily one of the best UK windsurf spots for consistency.
Every year here local heroes Ben Proffitt and Louise Emery perform wonders at the British Wave Championships. The local Funsport shop sells spare fins, booms and other useful kit, and is the social lightbulb around which the beach set gathers.
The only (tiny) issue with picturesque Rhosneigr is the hidden rocks beside the slipway and at the far fringes of the bay. So watch out if you wipe out!
Exmouth Estuary, Devon
Recreational cruisers will love the mystically placid and 3 foot deep waters of Exmouth Estuary. Fortunately there’s a good northerly wind that keeps everyone nicely propelled.
However, if the wind drops, there are plenty of other local activities available. As a tourist destination there is every from pitch and putt to arcades to donkey rides along the beach. This is where to go coastal windsurfing in Britain if you have a family to entertain.
Due to the speedy tides of the channel, beginners are warned not to stray too far from the shore. Forward loopers watch out! Given the shallowness of the estuary, you might hurt yourself.
The Isle of Tiree in the Hebrides receives the uninterrupted Atlantic swell making it a windsurfing Mecca. The PWA world tour visits and the Tiree Wave Classic is held every October. They attract pro windsurfers from around the world. It’s also one of the sunniest places in the UK.
East Wittering, West Sussex
Famous for more than just having Keith Richards living near it! East Wittering is blessed with an enormous bay and world-class wave sailing thanks to a westerly swell that takes you by surprise.
The balance and manoeuvrability of formula boards will be tested at high tide, especially by the legendary barrelling wave further along near Chichester Harbour. East Wittering bustles in the summer, so watch out for swimmers, surfers, kitesurfers, sunbathers and kids playing in the sand.
For ease of access from London Southend is tough to beat. Among it’s credentials are that the windsurfing world speed record was smashed on the Ray. The Ray is a flat water lagoon that appears at low tide offering perfect conditions.
Poole Harbour, Dorset
You’ll find beaches facing all directions, suitable for any wind or tide at Poole Harbour. And just to add to the appeal it’s suitable to all levels from beginner to expert with the shallow waters great for families.
It is one of the largest natural harbours in the world and a very pretty destination to boot. One of the best UK windsurf spots for versatility.
Gwithian Beach, Cornwall
The Atlantic-kissed waters around Gwithian Beach receive more than their fair share of swell. So much so the UKWA national wave sailing championships have often been held here. This is where to go coastal windsurfing in Britain if you want waves.
West Mersea, Essex
Home of the famous round-island race this is the top windsurfing destination in Essex. There are bump and jump conditions for intermediates and experts. Plus the shallow waters and sandbanks are good for beginners. Watch out for rocks at low tide.
Shoreham By Sea, West Sussex
This was the training ground for many of the UK’s top windsurfers and kitesurfers such as Nik and Ant Baker, Danny Seales and Matt Pearch. As such you can expect consistently good conditions to windsurf and plenty of variety.
We hope you found this guide to the best coastal windsurfing in the United Kingdom useful and interesting. Be sure to check out our windsurfing holiday discounts as you could save a fortune on your next trip.