Outer Hebrides © istockphoto

Listen up, beach bums and surfer dudes! Scotland's golden sandy beaches, long coastlines and beautiful clear waters add up to one of Europe's top surfing destinations. Surrounded by Atlantic and North Sea swells throughout the year, you are guaranteed to catch some great waves. And thanks to its many lesser-known locations, you may even have the waves to yourself!

What should I expect?

  • The northerly tip of the Scottish mainland is known for providing the most consistent and best quality waves, and the town of Thurso is a world-class surf spot.
  • The prevailing and strong south westerly winds which blow over the west coast mean that the Isle of Tiree, Islay and the area around the Kintyre peninsula are among the best places to windsurf in Europe. Similarly, some of the best and most consistent surf in Europe can be found around the west coast of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides. Also on the west coast, the Isle of Cumbrae is home to Scotland's premier watersports centre, sportscotland Cumbrae.
  • On the east coast, check out Coldingham Bay, Dunbar and Pease Bay, which are a short drive from Edinburgh.
  • You can expect consistent waves and breaks in Scotland in autumn and early winter and many surfers reckon Scotland is the best place to be at this time of year.
  • Scottish coastlines are frequented by all types of surfers, from complete beginners to wave-riding professionals. It's a sport that can be enjoyed by all the family and makes for a great active day out on the water.
  • You can rent equipment at surf schools - they will provide you with everything you need including wetsuits and boards.

Stand up paddleboarding

Enjoy an unparalleled sense of freedom as you glide along waters while on a stand up paddleboard, with paddle in hand. This sport can be experienced in a number of stunning locations across the country, and will give you a unique, on-the-water perspective of Scotland.

Hire equipment and get lessons with Paddle Surf Scotland in and around Perthshire and Tayside, as well as on the shorelines and lochs in Oban, Fort William and Lochaber on the west coast; Wilderness SUP at a range of sites including the River Almond near Edinburgh, or on Loch Kinord in Royal Deeside; Blown Away Experiences on St Andrews West Sands; or Unicorn Paddle where you can try paddling round on Loch Lomond, the Forth of Firth, or the Union Canal.

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