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Scotland lies north of England. It is comprised of a mainland and many islands from the Inner and Outer Hebrides off the west coast to the Orkney Islands off the north coast. Scotland and its archipelago of islands receive a variety of swells and winds, meaning that Scotland offers countless surfing setups and much opportunity for exploration and empty waves. The water is generally cold, but the quality of waves can make up for it. Renowned barrelling reefs such as Thurso East have put Scotland on the map as a world class cold water country. Thurso has hosted the ASP World Qualifying Series and O’Neil Cold Water Classic international surf competitions, giving you an idea of the quality of waves available in Scotland.


Rain, cold air and cold water are part of the game, with unpredictable weather all year round. Though, when the sky is blue and the sun shines, it’s a contender for one of the most beautiful countries in the world. During winter the air can go below zero degrees Celsius, and the sea below five, so prepare to wear full winter gear. The summer air can warm to above ten degrees Celsius and the sea also, so thinner suits can be used and the boots, gloves and hoods can also be left at home, depending on your tolerance to the cold.


The north and west coasts of Scotland receive a consistent dose of west to northeast Atlantic swells and the profile of Scottish surfing has been raised massively by publicity awarded to world class spots in these areas, such as Thurso.


East and southeast Scotland receive North Sea swells, usually from the north or northeast, though southeast swells sometimes arrive. This coast is less consistent than its Atlantic facing counterpart. The swells are usually smaller and shorter lived. There is still a surf scene here and the Scots are happy to make the most of all the surf that’s on offer.


From mellow beach breaks to heavier sandbars to super long barrelling reefs to points and just about every other wave type you can think of, Scotland has it all to offer. Known for its natural beauty it also offers unforgettably striking scenery. Vast mountains, crystal clear lochs and green highlands await those travelling through the countryside. You can find waves in populated areas such as the east coast around Aberdeen, or you can find waves in the solitudes of the northwest, adding to the vastness of Scottish surfing. Exploration and diligence will, as always, pay off.


For cold waves that can be as good as any other in the world, and a huge variety of choice that is often subject to fickle conditions, Scotland is the place to go surfing. Avid surfers should certainly aim to tick Scotland off their list at some point in their lives. It’s not all about wearing boardies in the blinding sun, right?

 

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