Watersports in Shetland

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  • Breckon Sands on the northern part of the Isle of Yell, Shetland
    Shetland has many idyllic beaches with the perfect conditions for surfing
  • The sea cliffs at Braewick, Mainland Shetland
    The dramatic coast of Shetland's many islands is a sea kayakers' paradise
  • The Gaada Stack on the island of Foula
    The dramatic coastline of Shetland's many islands is a kayaker's paradise

With its dramatic coastal landscapes and crashing waves coming from the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, Shetland is a haven for watersports enthusiasts. Ride huge swirling waves, see what lies at the bottom of the shores around the region and discover hidden coves and beaches. The long daylight hours in the summer can even provide a magical midnight paddle for those looking to make the most of the near 24-hours daylight.

Sea kayaking

Sea kayaking is a great way to explore Shetland from a different perspective as you paddle around its beautiful coastline. Explore the sheltered bays and otherwise inaccessible sea cliffs which make up more than 1000 miles of coastline.

Take the opportunity to view beautiful beaches and stunning scenery, stacks, arches and sheltered inlets from out at sea. The likes of the Sands of Breckon in Yell and St Ninian's Isle in the South Mainland remain firm favourites among the islanders; however Shetland has countless deserted stretches of sand on offer.

Glide along the tranquil surface of Ronas Voe, a narrow sea inlet approximately seven miles long on Shetland’s mainland which is framed by spectacular red granite cliffs on either side. A mid-summer midnight paddle to Mousa Isle can be a magical experience and take advantage of the near 24-hours daylight.

For wildlife, there is also the opportunity to paddle around the island of Noss, where thousands of breeding seabird colonies nest on the high cliffs.

Diving

The clear waters of Shetland, and the long daytime hours in the summer, make it perfect for scuba diving. Its shores attract divers keen to explore some of the region’s most spectacular views below the waves including underwater stacks, cliffs and caves, not to mention the fascinating sea life.

The variety of diving experiences is a big draw - Shetland has everything from historic wrecks to modern trawlers and the 1993 wreck of the huge tanker Braer; from sea cliffs and gullies teeming with colours and life to offshore pinnacles and reefs.

The shape of Shetland means that you can dive on almost any day of the year - there's always somewhere sheltered, with deep water close inshore.

Surfing

Exposed to swells from both the Atlantic and the North Sea, Shetland can offer fantastic surfing and windsurfing when conditions are right. Bring your surfboard and ride the waves off the coast of Sumburgh or at nearby Quendale or Boddam. Local surfers can show you other good spots for Britain's most northerly 'barrels'.

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