Five hardcore UK SUP surfing spots
The UK’s coastline can serve up some amazing conditions on its day. Just check out some of K4fins’ owner Steve Thorp’s blog entries for evidence of the kinds of epic sessions that can go down – particularly in winter.
Heavy barrelling waves, pitching over shallow reef shelves or guillotine, board snapping sand bars – the UK has it all. What it lacks in consistency is more than made up for in diversity.
If you’re the type who likes a challenge, have the necessary SUP skills under your belt and charge, then check out five of the best hardcore breaks this green and pleasant land has to offer – not for the faint hearted!
The fabled north Scottish shore is littered with plenty of world class waves but none are as prolific as Thurso. In particular, Thurso East, during monster swells will almost definitely set the heart racing and get those juices flowing.
Hollow, heavy barrelling waves over shallow rocks is pretty much the order of the day here. Add to the mix a frothing packing of hungry locals means choosing to stand up paddle surf here shouldn’t be a decision taken lightly.
Get it right though and you could end up scoring the SUP session of your life!
The Cribbar, Cornwall
Probably the most notorious big wave spot in the whole of the British Isles, the Cribbar is, these days, tackled on a regular basis. SUP stand out and Newquay regular Mark Healy has been seen riding this behemoth on a few occasions.
Make no mistake though, the Cribbar is a serious wave that doesn’t allow much margin for error. With plenty of craggy channels to get washed into and severe currents to deal with, not least heavy thick lips, any SUP surfer fancying a bash at this Cornish break will definitely need their wits about them.
Porthleven is not only one of the best barrelling reef waves in the country it’s also notoriously crowded on good days with local surfers not taking kindly to blow ins – particularly those riding stand up paddle boards.
The ‘Lev is a take-off shack that dishes out pits on solid swells like nobody’s business. But with the ever present sharp reef lurking just below the surface, you better have the skills to pay the bills if you want to snag a few waves here. If not, they’ll be scarping parts of you off the slab for weeks!
Kimmeridge is the south coast’s premier surf break and during autumn, winter and spring, solid swells marching up the English Channel slam straight into Dorset’s rocky coastline and can produce epic SUP surfing conditions at K-Bay.
Most paddlers tend to head to the left hand break known as the Ledges or the middle part of the bay, but for those who really want to test themselves, the Bench, over on the right, is a super shallow, fast and hollow wave.
Usually a local crew are on it, meaning you’ll have to play nicely with a frothing pack, and don’t forget to check the local MOD firing times as the Bench is off limits at during ‘doodle bug’ spraying sessions.
The wave itself at Llangenith can be found at the end of the Gower Peninsula in Rhossili Bay. ‘Genith isn’t special in terms of power or punch, although it can still be super fun with the right conditions, the hardcore element comes when swells get massive. ‘Genith boasts one of the most notorious and relentless paddle outs when it’s big. Walls of white water charge forwards without remorse and you’ll probably find yourself doing as much swimming as paddling.
Most surfers in the area use Llangenith as an indicator for the surrounding breaks, but if you fancy a challenge, then head there during winter and pit your skills against Mother Nature.
There are plenty more hardcore surf breaks dotted around but we’re not going to tell you them all. After all, where would the fun be in that? Armed with your trusty K4 Fins, SUP shred stick and paddle you’ll be all set to score, whatever you get dealt – go search and who knows what you’ll find…
Tez Plavenieks is a freelance writer who loves windsurfing, SUP, surfing, snowboarding, drums, art and beer. If he’s not out sliding sideways then you’ll find him producing articles, stories and content revolving around his passions. Check out more at www.tezplavenieks.com