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Norfolk Surf Guide

Norfolk has some of the finest beach breaks in Britain. The trouble is they don’t work very often so you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time. We actually get waves from three points of the compass, North, East and (suprisingly enough) South. There is a spot which works on a southerly called “Emily’s” which on it’s day has perfect overhead barreling rights although this is a closely guarded secret. The prevailing wind comes from the North. Tight low pressure systems drifting over the top of Scotland towards Norway send swell down the North Sea towards our coastline, which in turn are met by southwesterly offshore winds, creating perfect offshore conditions. Due to the curving nature of the coast there is nearly always a sheltered break or somewhere where it’s almost offshore.

East Runton is the most popular break. The waves breaks over a chalk and flint ‘reef’ with a short right and a medium left. It works best off a Northerly although it will hold up an extremely long right off a strong South Easterly. Most of our breaks are very tidal, East Runton is no exception. On high tide, unless it’s a big swell it is normally too full and on lowtide (as with most of the breaks on this coast) it drops off considerably. 2 hours either side of high tide is the best time to get in. Access is from the Pay & Display car park on the cliffs.

East RuntonCromer

Cromer is about a mile South of East Runton and works on the same conditions. There are two breaks either side of the pier. The South side is a long left with a short but hollow right. The pier gives some shelter from the Northerly winds. 2 hours before high tide is the ideal time to get in, however if it’s a big tide get in earlier as it will fill up very quickly. The North side isn’t as sheltered with a small right and a left which goes through the pier it works best on mid tide. From this year, parking is no longer permitted on the seafront and will get you a £75 fine.

Other breaks in the area include Walcott which is probably the most consistant barrel on the coast. Further south, Gorleston-on-Sea offers a long hollow left and shorter sucky right when the conditions are good and Lowestoft has some good lefts and rights on a decent northerly swell.

We are starting to see crowds in the surf in Norfolk especially in summer when the water temperature sometimes tips 20c (boardies ahoy!). On a good swell in summer you can expect to find 50+ surfers in the lineup (at the most popular breaks). However in winter, when the water temperature dips to 9C, you will only find a handful.

Many thanks to Mark at East Coast Surf for this report. For more info on surfing in East Anglia including a more in depth guide to the region, please visit www.eastcoastsurf.co.uk

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