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Surfing and stand up paddle boarding

Surfer by Mike NicholasSurfer by Mike Nicholas

For those in the know, the Yorkshire Coast is becoming something of a surfing mecca, with surf dudes travelling all over the UK to ride its waves.

It's particularly good for beach breaks, the best type of wave to start surfing on, but there's plenty of rock spots with reef and point breaks too for the more experienced.

Good beach breaks for beginners are found in Saltburn, either side of the pier and best at high tide, and at Sandsend. Scarbrough's North and South Bays are gentle enough too.

Surfing is winter time isn't as daft as it might sound, when the north swells are at their most consistent... and a mug of hot chocolate isn't far away. When the surf's not up, have a go at stand up paddleboarding (SUP) - standing on a large surfboard using a long-handled paddle.

West Cliff beach in Whitby is an ideal place to learn or progress your skills in surfing or SUP. It's a large, shallow gradient sandy beach which provides great beginner and intermediate waves with plenty of space for everyone. It also benefits from RNLI lifeguards throughout the summer season and a Beach Management Centre with chalet rentals, showers, toilets and a café.

  • Hire stand up paddleboards by the hour or day from Barefoot Kayak in Runswick Bay
  • Simon at SUP Adventures is a stand up paddle boarding specialist and provides a whole manner of activities from introduction mornings, to yoga-related breaks to multiple day safaris exploring whole areas via river and paddle board. SUP Adventures Paddle and a Pint sessions at Scaling Dam on a Friday evening are worth checking out
  • North Yorkshire Water Park offers stand up paddleboarding in a woodland setting at Wykeham Lakes.

More experienced surfers will appreciate the more powerful breaks south of Saltburn and at Cayton Bay, especially in winter and springtime; it's one of the few places that can be surfed at low and high tide.

Daily surf reports and forecasts are available for Saltburn, Whitby, Scarborough and Cayton Bay.

Surf schools and stand up paddle boarding sessions

For lessons or surf board and wetsuit hire, check these out.

Dexters Surf Shop, School & Hire Centre

Year round lessons and hire; stand up paddleboarding and kayaking hire; school audited by ASI (Association of Surfing Instructors), world leaders in surf school excellence.
Unit 5 Kepwick House, Peasholm Gap, Scarborough YO12 7TN
T: 01723 377565

Flow Surf School

Lessons for beginners and intermediate surfers; tailor-made tuition and mobile service. year round tuition with qualified instructors; all equipment provided.
1a Windsor Road, Saltburn TS12 1AT
T: 07854 767693

Fluid Concept

Surfing and paddleboard lessons for all abilities; equipment hire
The Spa Complex, Scarborough YO11 2HD
T: 01723 354263 (shop) 07891 094976 (hire/lessons)

Saltburn Surf School

Lessons (surf school approved by Surfing GB); surfing and stand up paddling classes for all levels of expertise; surf hire
Lower Promenade, Saltburn TS12 1HQ 
T: 07587 006639 (hire)/07961 714993 (school)

Sandsend Surf Co

Opening summer 2022 for Surf, SUP, Kayak and Bodyboard hire.

Scarborough Surf School

Surf lessons and hire, paddleboarding, kid's club and coasteering courses
Killerby Cliff, Cayton Bay YO11 3NR
T: 01723 585585

SUP Adventures

Accredited SUP school and dedicated stand up paddle boarding wing of Valley Adventures. Operates at Sandsend, Saltburn, Scaling Dam, river Tees (Yarm) and river Esk (Whitby). Activities range from beginners to SUP, SUP Paddle Fitness and SUP yoga.
T: 07890 585197

Whitby Surf School

Year round surf and stand up paddleboard lessons, and hire aimed at beginner and intermediate levels from 8 years upwards. Coaches are qualified Beach Life Guards, Surfing GB/ASI Surf/SUP Instructors and are DBS checked.
Lower Cliff Lift, West Cliff Beach, Whitby YO21 3EN
T: 07395 371232