The American big-wave surfer Laird Hamilton once said, “The biggest sin in the world would be if I lost my love for the ocean.” For ocean-lovers seeking a UK- based holiday, Devon is an ideal destination. Of course Cornwall has Newquay, usually regarded as Britain’s surf-capital; but Devon offers some intriguing, and less well-known, alternatives to its neighbour.


The North Devon Coast offers surfers less in the way of frenetic social activity but more than makes up for it in waves. This surfing scene has as its hub the village of Braunton. Here you’ll find a range of accommodation, including holiday cottages, and plenty of restaurants and cafés serving homemade food. Most importantly for the surfer, Braunton provides easy access to North Devon’s stunning coastline and beaches.


At Saunton, there is a big stretch of sand, and at the northern end of the beach, where the waves are bigger, is the area known as The Cave. Located next to a cave (naturally!), this part of the beach attracts world-class longboarders wanting to ride the impressive peaks forming off the coastline.


Putsborough is sometimes overlooked as a surfing destination in favour of its better-known neighbours, but here the waves peak in size the further north you travel. The beach stretches from Putsborough Sands to Woolacombe and the area has two caravan parks and a number of charming holiday cottages.


In the summer season, Croyde is bustling with activity. Croyde Bay has become a magnet for surfers and the area has a number of surf schools that welcome both beginners and more experienced surfers. The surfing ranges from beginner-friendly waves when the tide’s in to challenging low-tide barrels. Again there’s plenty of holiday accommodation available in the area.


Not to be outdone, South Devon has Bantham Beach. With beautiful views across Bigbury Bay, Bantham picks up the Atlantic swells coming up through the English Channel that make it ideal for surfers. The surrounding area of the South Hams is attractive and the beach is within easy driving distance of Salcombe and Kingsbridge. Both are attractive towns providing plenty of holiday home accommodation, alongside places to eat and other visitor attractions.


Surfing is a pretty-much universal activity; it’s not limited to professionals or those more athletic individuals. Many of the destinations featured have surf schools and training academies that have lessons and short courses tailored to suit novice surfers and people just wanting to try it out.


If, however, you’re a dedicated surfer, Devon can also provide the kind of peaks that will more than satisfy your need to ride the waves and your love of the ocean.