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South East Scotland Surf Guide

Surfing first started in South East Scotland in the late 1960’s with a handful of pioneers first explring the beautiful coastline. The borders region provided Scotland’s first surf club, the Pease Bay Surf Club, which in the early 70’s produced many of the top surfers in the country. An estimated 2000+ surfers use this coast during the summer months and it boasts some of the best beginner beaches in Scotland for learning with surfing possible within 35 minutes of the capital. A minimum of a 5/3mm wetsuit is recommended for the North Sea through all months except July and August when its possible to wear a 3/2mm. Boots, gloves and a hood are more or less essential in all seasons except summer.


1. Gullane- Beautiful beach, protected from strong east winds. Lies dormant most of the year and only comes to life in gale force easterly winds usually in winter. Beginner friendly and can be surfed throughout the tides but beware of string lateral rips and kitesurfers.

2. North Berwick- East Sands produces nice punchy waves and is a good option if there is a solid north or east swell with southerly winds. It’s an intermediate wave unless small. Beware of rips and rocks. Great Escape surf shop is based in North Berwick.

GullanePease BayColdingham

3. Tantallon- Picturesque private beach with Tantallon Castle as a backdrop. Works best with north swells with southerly winds being offshore. Beginner friendly up to head high, after which it becomes an intermediate/expert only wave. Beware of strong rips at high tide and rocks.

4. Belhaven- Four miles of golden sand produce nice rolling waves which are good for longboarding. Works on north swell with offshore winds from the south west. Strong rips on large swells particularly if cross shore. Beware of kitesurfers. Used by Belhaven Surf Club and Coast to Coast Surf School. Pure Nectar surf shop is based in Dunbar.

5. Pease Bay- By far the most popular of the south east’s beaches. Works on all small to big north and east swells. Offshore winds are from the south quadrant. Best at low tide on the left hand side of the beach and on the right at high tide. These waves are best left for intermediate and expert surfers. The middle of the beach, at all tides, is good for beginners although above head high, rips and dumpy waves become a problem. Danger from rocks, rips and other surfers- wave etiquette must be observed!

6. Coldingham- An idyllic little beach, protected from large northerly swells and open to south swells. It’s offshore in west and south west winds and has the best beach facilities on this stretch of coastline. Can get busy due to the proximity of the campsite and St Vedas surf shop. Strong rips, surfers and rocks provide the hazards.

Many thanks to Coast to Coast Surf School for this report. C2C provides friendly British Surf Association qualified surf instruction, that introduces beginners and intermediates to the fun and enjoyment of East Lothian’s beautiful coastline. For more information, visit www.c2csurfschool.com.

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