|Find the best surf spots||
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Datum: WGS84 [ Help ]
Latitude: 51° 6.586' N
User rating (53)
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Access is from the coast road running along the North end of Saunton Sands, a huge 5km long stretch of sand running from the mouth of the estuary up to the cliffs at the North end. Sign posted from road - there is a large car park, which is free if you arrive very early morning or late in the evening, or in the middle of winter! £4 pounds the rest of the time.
DistanceTake a car
WalkInstant access (< 5min)
Easy to find?Easy to find
Public access?Public access
Special accessDon't know
Wave qualityRegional Classic
DirectionRight and left
Normal lengthNormal (50 to 150m)
Good day lengthLong (150 to 300 m)
Good swell directionNorthWest, West, SouthWest
Good wind directionNorth, SouthEast, East, NorthEast
Swell sizeStarts working at Less than 1m / 3ft and holds up to 2.5m+ / 8ft+
Best tide positionAll tides
Best tide movementRising and falling tides
Week crowdFew surfers
- Rips / undertow
A classic long boarders wave - slow waves that improve with a moderate offshore wind to steepen the faces. Works on all stages of the tide, but like many north Devon spots tends to be best on the 'push' as the incoming tide (the tidal rage of the Bristol Channel is one of the greatest in the world)can increase wave height dramatically. As the swell picks up, a rip develops alongside the cliff which is often the only way to get out back on big days. But treat it with caution - getting caught unawares leads to unpleaseant exits over the rocks! Helicopter rescues are not uncommon in summer, as novices get swept out. The cliff gives good protection from North and NW winds.
Mellow. Long boarders and surf canoes are in their element. Long sweeping rides usually righthanders) can be had. great view from the cliff road above the bay - as lines stack up all the way to the estuary and out to sea. Makes it into numerous surf mag 'arty' photos. Shallows are safe for beginners. It is a huge flat beach, and the sands are a prime spot for sand yatchs and all kind of weird beach/sail cross over sports.
On a busy wekend the car park is a surfers' mecca. VW buses and every kind of surf vehical vie for space. Bemused day trippers mingle with surf-heads. A must for anyone with a board over 7'2".
By Surfing llama , 14 Jan
Laughing - Looking back at all these (now old) comments has made me chuckle. Also, does anyone still use this site? By the age of the comments, I'd guess not.
I started long boarding with my old man when I was in my very early teens, and surfed Saunton many times - I always found it a great wave and hassle free. I'm getting back into the sport now (age 33), and will traveling across from Brighton whenever I get the chance. Happy days.
By Carlos , 18-05-2010
Car Park - It was 1.50 when I first posted it - but that was many years ago. And they rarely charged in winter. But hey, look what you get for your extra 3 pounds now - those little wooden strips on the (unmade) ground to guide your parking! And there is a free shower/toilet block of course...!
By Anonymous , 29-03-2010
RE Surf Nazis bobbins comments - Was just having at quick trawl and came across this site and what a load of easy to type angry stuff there is. I thought surfing was about everyone enjoying the wave, enjoying hanging out with your friends, trying to progress your riding and mainly not taking things or ourselves too seriously, while riding with etichet - whether it be saunton, croyde or putts. Yes lots of us come from inland as we're not lucky enough to be by the coast, it doesn't mean we should be excluded from it? I try and come down as much as I can which isn't enough but I try ride with respect to those are better riders, who are usually local. In my time riding at all three beaches locals have always been super friendly and obviously not the fellas writing angry footnotes - easy to do sitting behind computer screens, whilst mummy cooks you tea and irons your school uniform for you, but maybe I'm being harsh myself here. Definatly you do get some real plonkers in the water, usually in the all gear no idea bracket, but usually after time and a few FRIENDLY words from those who know better or locals alike, these guys get with the programme and some really come to understand what its all about, trying to progress your riding against yourself and soaking up untamed nature. My time busting my balls working real hard, as we all do, is made sense of by grabbing some lazy longboard waves at saunton, or a fun close out madness session putts or enjoying the speed of my retro rocket at croyde plus at many other beaches in Devon and Cornwall. The ranting here is a real shame and anyone else reading this should know that 95% of locals are relaxed really nice guys at Saunton, Croyde and Putts. Ignore all this really nasty surf Nazis bobbins. I'll continue to drive down from inland and get some waves and I'll continue to respect those who live and ride there and the waves themselves. As for the angry people, what's next, vandalising cars in car parks you judge to be not local with your 'they're not local sixth sense' or dorbing graffiti on someones new t5 which they and their Mrs have put in hours and hours of work to afford so they can stay longer down near the coast (because they love it) as accomadation is so expensive down there? Most people are getting in the water to enjoy themselves. relax and enjoy the buzz of riding, local and inlander alike, of course we'd all love to be 'local' and have all these wonderful breaks on our door step, but this is the real world guys, so maybe ease up on angry stuff there is a bigger world out there around you and life is way too short to that angry, take it easy and Saunton Putts and Croyde are all great in different ways depends what you are looking for - go enjoy. And if there is a point of unity £6 for parking at Putts is just highway robbery...
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