Eat. Sleep. Surf. Sound like fun? We bunk down at some of the best surf schools and lodges that overlook a selection of Britain’s greatest beaches for catching waves. Words: Jessica Johnson
BUNDORAN SURF COMPANY
Surfing credentials: All instructors, some who come from as far as New Zealand to teach at Bundoran, are qualified beach lifeguards and take a coaching course with the Irish Surfing Association.
Why here? Gentle beginner waves and fast hollow waves for experienced surfers make the Blue Flag sands of Bundoran a hotspot for all abilities. Free Wi-Fi, barbecue facilities and bedroom sea views make drying off all the more appealing.
When? Open throughout the year, surf lessons run twice daily. Kids’ surf camps run during the Easter and summer holidays on weekdays.
What does it cost? A Surf and Stay weekend in the Surf Lodge (based on two nights’ private B&B and two surf lessons) costs €110 per person.
How do I book? Call 00353 719841968 or visit bundoransurfco.com.
SALTBURN SURF SCHOOL
Surfing credentials: This surf school and hire shop tucked under the cliffs at Saltburn-by-the-Sea is run by Nick Noble who’s been part of the surf scene here for over 30 years.
Why here? The gently shelved beach is exposed to quality northerly swells. Bag a ground room at The Spa Hotel where you can check out the surf from your window.
When? Two-hour lessons can be arranged any time between April and October.
What does it cost? A group surf lesson costs £35 per person. A double room at The Spa Hotel starts from around £75 per room, per night.
How do I book? For surf lessons call 07961 714993 or visit saltburn-surf.co.uk. To book a room at The Spa Hotel call 01287 622544 or visit thespahotelsaltburn.co.uk.
Surfing credentials: TYF has 29 years of surf coaching experience – from mastering the first wave to fine-tuning cutbacks, kickouts and more advanced moves.
Why here? Renowned surfing beaches Newgale and Whitesands are easily accessed from Celtic Camping’s rustic bunkhouses, based on the working farm of Pwll Caerog.
When? Surfing courses and bunkhouse accommodation can be booked throughout the year.
What does it cost? Surfing courses with TYF begin at £70 for a half-day’s tuition, which includes full surf-kit hire for the whole day. Bunkhouse prices are £24 per night self-catering or £32 per night with a full Welsh breakfast.
How do I book? For surf courses call TYF on 01437 721611 or visit tyf.com. To book a bunkhouse call 01348 837405 or you can visit celtic-camping.co.uk.
SMART SURF SCHOOL
Surfing credentials: Pro-surfing Smart brothers Sam, Lew and ex-British champion Seb were brought up next to Sennen Beach and run the Smart Surf School as fully qualified surf instructors and lifeguards. The trio works closely with Whitesands self-catering accommodation.
Why here? Land’s End is exposed to the Atlantic Ocean and takes the brunt of any swell going, providing ideal waves for all levels.
When? Lessons operate all year round with special focus on ‘September Sessions’; water is warmer, waves are bigger and students can hang out with the brothers, beachside, for a taste of true surfers’ lifestyle. Whitesands Surf Lodge is the perfect crash pad, fully decked out with self-catering facilities and a five-minute walk to the sea.
What does it cost? Mid-week surf camp (five nights at Whitesands, five days of coaching with Smart Surf and all equipment) is £220.
How do I book? Call 01736 871817 or visit smartsurfschool.com
ST VEDAS SURF SHOP
Surfing credentials: After surfing for over 15 years, British Surf Accredited Coach and trained lifeguard Steve Powner knows the ‘come and go’ style swells of Coldingham Bay like the back of his hand.
Why here? The sheltered bay is ideal for big windy days on the water with top kit for hire, on-site board repairs and a live webcam to keep tabs on perfect breaks.
When? February to November. Book a stay at St Vedas Hotel and get a discount on surf rental.
What does it cost? A two-hour surf lesson costs £40, which includes equipment. A double room with sea views starts from £130 per night for a family en suite.
How do I book? Call 01890 771679 or visit stvedas.co.uk.