Adam Surfboards
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Surfing Thurso: Surf Spot Guide

Thurso’s main wave is the reef at Thurso East, which is fabled for the world class hollow right hand barrels it can produce. The reef is for experienced surfers only. There are lessons available for beginners at the beaches in the area. Thurso has been home to very high profile surf contests including the O’Neil Cold Water Classic, the UK Pro Tour and others; this highlights the high quality and consistency of the wave.

In the close vicinity there’s also a wave called Shit Pipe, it probably doesn’t take a genius to work out why it’s named that; it’s also called Sewer Pipe and Pipe, so take your pick.

Thurso - What Waves, When

Thurso East works on all stages of the tide. It can be best on the rising mid tide. On a solid northwest swell the wave will be a relatively long, hollow and heavy right hander. The more north the swell direction, the mellower the wave gets. It can hold a lot of swell too, so can be very big at times.

West of Thurso East, across the river, is Sh** Pipe. It needs more swell to work, and is usually smaller than Thurso East, so when it’s too big there, some prefer to surf here. It’s also more manageable with a split peak offering lefts and rights. The rights usually travel longer and the lefts are punchier.

The Bay is west of Thurso East and Pipe. It can get lefts off the rocks on the west side, and there are right and left sandbars along the rest of it. This beach and other beaches in the area are recommended for beginners and intermediates that might struggle with the reefs.

Thurso – Out of the Water

There is a surf cafe offering equipment hire. Surf lessons are also available in Thurso, the schools take you to various beaches in the area depending on conditions.

Thurso offers a range of cafes, restaurants, take-aways and pubs for post-surf refreshment.

For accommodation there are options ranging from hotels, BnB and guesthouses to hostels, caravanning and camping.


  World class wave
  Gets swell more consistently than many other UK spots


  Cold water and climate compared to some other UK spots


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