Arctic swells and a narrow continental shelf make northern Scotland and surrounding islands a mecca for big wave riders. As long as there is a low up north (ideally centred on northern Norway) you will get waves galore, and all the breaks are usually uncrowded. The best time to go is Autumn, when the sea isn’t too cold. Fast, shallow and powerful with long barrel rides, the right hand reef breaks.

…Brimms Ness and Thurso are the reason surfers and bodyboarders travel to surf in these cold northern waters. Sandside Bay, overlooked by the nuclear power station of Dounreay, is the place to head for if these spots are blown out.

On the Grampian coast, Byondie Beach at Banff is a point break which works on a low to mid tide unless it’s a big swell when it works at high tide.

Sandend is a beautiful bay with crystal clear water, which has three main breaks; The breaks either end of the bay work off rocks but its sand in the middle which makes it good for beginners. During a big swell you cna get out through the harbour.

Fraserburgh works on a N swell and during the winter can hold big surf, it has two main peaks…;

…The Broch is a beach break which works as a left point on big swells from mid-high tide…;

…Philorth works on the same conditions and picks up more swell.

In Aberdeen, there are several peaks which work best on a S swell but pick up a N swell too.; W winds are offshore but crossshores are O.K. The beach is good for beginners and the groynes provide some good fun for the more exprienced.

Swell Chart//

wave height and direction chart