The Best UK Windsurfing Spots

Best UK Windsurf Spots

With over 7,723 miles of coastline, the UK offers huge potential and opportunities to find some incredible windsurfing spots. 

You do not have to travel halfway around the world with bags of windsurfing kit to have a great session. There are plenty of world class windsurfing locations right here in the UK. 

We are blessed with stunning beaches and plenty of wind throughout the year. 

During the hot summer months the UK gets light sea breezes that tend to increase throughout the day, which are ideal conditions for beginners or anyone wanting to go for a blast on freeride equipment. 

The autumn, winter and spring months can get very exciting with storms and strong winds hitting our shores.

Being an island, and with multiple inland lakes and reservoirs, you will always be able to find a windsurfing spot that is right for you. 

Beginners and intermediates will find South Coast locations like Hayling Island or Poole Harbour the best windsurfing locations, because they are safe but can also offer exciting conditions to progress. Advanced sailors will find their best windsurfing spots in Gwithian or Rhosneigr, which offer world class waves for surfing and jumping.

There are multiple factors that needs to be considered when choosing the right UK windsurfing spot;

Windsurf ability
Wind speed

Wind direction
Tide state

If you are a windsurfing beginner, then a quick Google search of ‘windsurfing lessons near me’ will give you the best spots to learn and improve. It’s always best to have a few lessons before you go looking for windsurfing spots by yourself. This will give you confidence and knowledge about the wind and tide that you might not otherwise get.

Intermediate and advanced windsurfing can just pack the car or van and head to any beach of their choice. If you are visiting a new windsurfing spot in the UK, it’s always best to talk to some local windsurfers to get the insider knowledge of how the spot works. 

Compared to other windsurfing destinations around the world, the tide has a huge factor of how a UK windsurfing spot works and how safe it is. Finding a windsurf shop near where you plan to windsurf and chatting to the staff is probably the best way to get local knowledge. All windsurfing shop owners and staff will be more than happy to tell you everything they know about their local spot.

The best windsurfing UK locations:

Hayling Island

  • Great for ability levels
  • Easterly, Southerly and Westerly wind direction
  • Flat water and waves
  • Can find somewhere to sail at all tide states
Windsurf Hayling Island

Hayling Island is a famous and very popular windsurf spot in the UK.  It is where, in 1958, Peter Chilvers first attached a board to a sail and started the evolution of windsurfing. 

Based right in the centre of the South Coast of the UK, it is an easily accessible destination from many cities. It is not uncommon for Londoners to make the trip down the A3 to have a windsurfing session here during windy weekends. 

West Hayling on the seafront is where most windsurfers launch from, near a restaurant called Inn on the Beach.  This location is great in South Westerly to Westerly winds, but also will be fun in anything from Southerly to Easterly winds. If there is any North in the wind, the seafront at Hayling will not be good to windsurf. 

Beginners, freeriders and freestylers will love the flatter water at low tide. Around this time there is a sandbar that appears to the west where you will also see kitesurfers blasting around. If there is any swell, the sandbar can create some really fun, but not powerful waves to practice jumping. 

Try to avoid high tide at Hayling seafront, which is known for its shoredump where the sea state just becomes a little messy and not very fun.

Along with the seafront, Hayling Island has some great windsurfing spots in the harbour. A place called ‘Esso Beach’ (behind the Esso garage as you come onto Hayling) is a safe bet to windsurf at high tide, for winds ranging from Southerly, to Westerly and North Westerly. Bear in mind any East in the wind and it will be offshore at Esso, which makes it un-sailable.

The Witterings

  • Great for intermediates and advanced
  • Easterly – Westerly winds
  • Flat water at low tide West Wittering – Waves everywhere else
Windsurf Witterings

Head slightly east from Hayling Island and you will find the Witterings. The Witterings is broken up into two distinct areas, West Wittering and East Wittering. 

West Wittering is a stunning sandy beach that can produce world class freestyle windsurfing conditions at low tide and great wave sailing at high tide. Combined with a strong westerly wind, this area is arguably one of the best locations on the South Coast. 

The downside of West Wittering is that it is on a private estate, which means during the summer months you have to pay a crazy amount to park and you must also pay a launching fee.

Beginners can have lessons or rent equipment from the local centre, but it is not recommended to windsurf here if you are trying to learn the basics by yourself. Head to Hayling Island or somewhere in Chichester Harbour to practice those tacks and gybes. 

If you are looking for a day out with the family combined with some windsurfing then West Wittering ticks all the boxes. 

For the more advanced windsurfer who is looking for some bump and jump or easy south coast waves, then East Witterings is perfect for you. The wind needs to be South Westerly or Westerly and try to catch the incoming tide a few hours after low water for the best conditions.

Rhosneigr 

  • Great for all levels
  • All wind directions
  • Possibly the best wave spot in the UK

The most famous windsurfing spot in Wales and arguably the best wave beach in the UK, Rhosneigr is a beautiful horseshoe shaped sandy bay that is perfect for radical windsurf action.

Rhosneigr gets fantastic wind and waves that come straight up the Irish Sea. Any prevailing South Westerly wind gets accelerated between Wales and Ireland to deliver perfect conditions to this town in Anglesey.

The bay is big and can provide a wide range of conditions all in one spot. At low tide or with light winds it can be a fantastic place for beginners to get to grips with the sport.  

The gentle shelving sand bar produces amazingly fun waves and as they wrap around the bay, so you can be sure to find waves perfect for your ability.

For wind direction, a South or Southwest is best but North or Northwest winds can also be great for waves. An incoming tide will create the best waves.

Be mindful of the submerged rocks at high tide and a strong rip at the Southern end of the bay.

The locals know how to put on a show and it’s a great spectacle on windy days. The beach also holds BWA (British Wavesailing Association) events, so you know this is one of the top spots to windsurf in the UK.

Gwithian

  • Great for wave sailors
  • Best in South Westerly winds
  • Epic down the line conditions

Located in North Cornwall, Gwithian is a wave sailors paradise. 

This long beach offers some variety to wave shape and wind strength, but most of the time windsurfers will launch from a car park called The Bluff.  Surfers tend to stick more to the north end, called Godrevy, and because the beach is so big there is not so much competition for the waves, creating quite a chilled vibe.

Because the beach faces the North West, any prevailing South Westerly wind will be cross shore or slightly cross-off, providing ideal down the line wave sailing conditions. Down the line is often the pinnacle for wave windsurfing conditions, as this wind direction allows an almost surfing-like feel to riding the waves.

For the best waves the tide needs to be coming in. Mid tide will be the best part of your session.

The waves can get seriously big here and it is definitely not a place for beginners to try windsurfing. Neither is it really an intermediate venue, this spot is only for windsurfers who are already comfortable windsurfing in waves. 

Tiree

  • Great for all levels
  • Amazing wave sailing conditions
  • Perfect for an adventure 

Tiree is an Island in the Inner Hebrides, Scotland. It’s often hailed as the sunniest place in the UK, it’s also one of the windiest but also one of the coldest!

This beautiful and remote island delivers spectacular windsurfing conditions and is home to one of the oldest windsurfing wave competitions – The Tiree Wave Classic. 

The Island is small enough that no matter the wind direction, you won’t have to drive too far to find a great spot that works.

Due to the geography of the island, there will be opportunities to windsurf in great waves and perfectly flat water. This makes the island suitable for all abilities, just don’t forget the wetsuit, booties and gloves!

West Kirby

  • Great for flat water
  • Famous speed windsurfing location
  • South West to North Westerly wind direction

One of the main spots in the North West of the UK is West Kirby, located just outside Liverpool. 

If you are a beginner, speed sailor or freestyler there aren’t many better places in the UK than West Kirby. Here you will find a man-made lake which creates pretty unique conditions to anywhere else in the UK. You will get coastal like wind strength and consistency, but with no tide, so you can windsurf during any time of the day.

The wall surrounding the lake has been built at the perfect angle for when a South Westerly storm hits, speed sailors can find the perfect angle to travel at maximum velocity in glassy flat water. The flat water also makes for ideal freestyle conditions.

The only time when West Kirby doesn’t work is when the tide is above 9m and comes over the sea wall.

When the wind is light West Kirby is brilliant and very safe for beginners and intermediates to practice. 

Rutland

  • Best midlands sailing destination
  • Southerly and Easterly wind direction 
  • Great for beginners and intermediates
  • Non tidal

Rutland reservoir is a huge inland watersports paradise, covering 3,100 acres. It is the largest reservoir in England, with enough room for all water based adventures.

From windsurfing to sailing, kayaking, fishing, camping and walking, Rutland is a great multi-activity location, perfect for a family day out or staycation holiday.

There are a few very small villages dotted around the reservoir, but most windsurfers will launch from the Northern village of Whitwell. Here there is a Watersports Centre where you can rent equipment and get safety boat cover. Along with the lack of tides, Rutland is one of the safest places to windsurf, making it ideal for beginners and intermediates.

During a strong West North West, which is a more common wind direction during the winter months, Rutland can produce some really fun high wind action. The strong wind blows down the reservoir, offering some fun chop that would rival any coastal Harbour location.

Southend – The Ray

  • Speed windsurfing hot spot
  • Low tide location
  • Strong southerly wind

At the end of the River Thames you’ll find Southend-on-Sea. 

There is a great windsurfing scene around this part of the British coastline and there are a number of superb spots, from Whitstable in Kent up to Clacton and Felixstowe.

However, if we are talking about the best windsurfing spots in the UK then the Ray at Southend-on-Sea has to be included. Along with West Kirby, The Ray is a speed sailor’s dream.

The Ray is a feature that only appears at low tide and is created by sandbars that run parallel to the beach. With a strong southerly (30 knots +), you can windsurf very close to the sandbar, which will give you a mirror flat water state. 

As The Ray is a low tide venue you’ll have around a 4 hour window to windsurf, which will give you 2 hours either side of low tide to enjoy this incredible spot.

The beach you are looking for to launch from is called Chalkwell, this is where you park and rig up.

The Ray is not for beginners or early intermediate windsurfers.

Poole Harbour

  • Perfect for beginners
  • Any tide will work
  • Can be choppy at high tide

A stunning destination and Europe’s largest natural harbour, Poole Harbour in Dorset is another famous windsurfing spot in the UK.

Unlike many other windsurfing spots, Poole Harbour can be sailed at any tide state and in any  wind direction. The shallow waters around Sandbanks create really safe and easy conditions for beginners, intermediates and freestylers. 

There are plenty of windsurfing shops and schools in the area. That combined with the flat water makes Poole Harbour one of the best places to learn windsurfing in the UK.

However, in stronger winds the Harbour can get a little bit choppy, especially at high tide. Freestylers and speed sailors looking for glassy flat water may want to travel a little bit further down the coast to Weymouth, as a flatter water alternative.

Along with Sandbanks, Hamworthy Park is another hot spot to windsurf in Poole, but this place only really works in a Southwesterly or Northwesterly wind direction.

Weymouth

  • Great in all tides
  • Very flat water in South Westerly
  • Training center for Olympic teams

Whenever anyone talks about windsurfing in Weymouth, they normally don’t mean Weymouth Beach, rather Portland Harbour.

Portland is on a spit, right at the end of Chesil Beach, that sticks out more than any other bit of land on the South Coast. This geography seems to make it always slightly windier than any other spot along the South Coast. 

With the usual prevailing South Westerly wind, the water state in the harbour is buttery smooth, which makes it unbelievable for freestyle, speed sailing and slalom.

Another great feature about Portland Harbour is you don’t have to worry about the tide, so you can windsurf for as long as your arms can last. 

Beginners will enjoy learning here because it feels really safe, and with a Windsurf Centre that looks down on the water, there is always someone watching out. 

The 2012 London Olympics sailing events were at Weymouth, it’s also where Olympic windsurfers and sailors train and it holds Weymouth Speed Week. All these events probably demonstrates how much event organisers rely on the consistent conditions Weymouth has.

The only downside of Weymouth compared to the likes Poole Harbour and The Witterings is it feels a little bit run down and the town is a bit shabby. 

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Wherever you decide to windsurf, make sure all your equipment is up to scratch and you have a warm wetsuit. 

Also, remember to tell someone at home where you are going, especially if you are going to try out a new spot.

About the author

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Watersports Pro is managed by Ollie, who has been in the industry since 2007. A paddleboard and advanced windsurfing instructor, Ollie has travelled the world teaching these sports.

Now based on the South Coast of England, he shares his experience and knowledge on watersportspro.co.uk.

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