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Surfing on the Isle of Wight

Surfing off the Isle of Wight

Jutting out into the English Channel, the southern shoreline of the Isle of Wight can collect considerable swell and offers some of the best surfing breaks on the UK south coast.

The Island is one of the South of England’s best kept surfing secrets and the backdrop is stunning with dwarfing white cliffs or the tranquillity of open farm land. On small days, the waves are playful and fun and are perfect for practicing techniques, turns and airs and on big days you'll be whistling and hooting all the way up the coast.

Isle of Wight Surf Guide

There are no surf beaches on the northern shore of the Island but most of the southern beaches from Freshwater Bay, Compton, Niton, Ventnor, Shanklin, Sandown round to Whitecliff Bay get surf in the right conditions. You wont find overcrowding or 'locals-only' spots but if you're friendly you might get to hear about a secret break!

Freshwater Bay, only works once the swell is pushing past the 4ft mark and on its day is the dogs with heavy surf breaking right across the bay for the longest ride on the Island. It offers a truly first-class right-hander, best up to three quarters tide. It can be a bit hairy due to rocks so this reef break is for intermediate to expert surfers only. 

Compton Bay, just down the road is the most consistent break on the Island and works well from 2-5ft. Its mostly a beach break which is slow at high water but can be excellent at low to mid tides especially with an offshore breeze. There's a choice of 'Fields' - a faster, more sucky sandbar favoured by shortboarders or Hanover Point, which is a little mellower and a favourite with longboarders. Best wind direction sideshore SE or NNW.

Brighstone, a beautiful scenic spot, the swell arrives straight in here. Although a long paddle, the surfing can be excellent but its a steep walk down the cliff and very rocky at low water. Best wind direction W/NW or SE.

Heading further down the coast there are a number of reef breaks scattered along the Chines, some are able to hold huge waves although it is best to gain a little local knowledge before trying them out for the first time.

Niton, located on the southern most point of the Island, is another great right-hander for a fast clean ride although its rocky and not great for beginners. The tricky launch channel is only 5m wide and the tidal race will take you quickly out to sea. On a big day at high tide it can be very dicey with strong inshore rips. Best wind SW-W or E.

Ventnor is worth a look-see when the southwest is blown-out, the ground swells off the headland can produce some fun waves. Best wind direction SW or ESE.

Shanklin offers plenty of beach room but with high cliffs to the western end the prevailing winds tend to be gusty. In a SW gale the surfing can be excellent.

Whitecliff Bay on the east coast will offer something on an easterly.

IoW Surf Report & Weather Forecast

The most important two ingredients for good surfing are wind and water - check out the latest conditions

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Learn to surf

Wightwater Adventure Sports Isle of wight


Tel. 01983 866269

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  • 5 Rew Close, Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 1BH

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Tel. 01983 294941

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  • West Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7PQ

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Southampton <> West Cowes, Isle of Wight

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