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Tiree Boardriders’ Guide

Windsurfing first came to Tiree in the early eighties and, during the last twenty five years, has grown immensely in popularity with islanders and tourists. Tiree boasts an average wind speed of 17mph, countless white sandy beaches and the most sunshine hours in the UK. It also has Atlantic swell in abundance.

The island is purpose shaped for windsurfers and is flat with very little to block or unsettle the wind. Beaches face in all directions and there is also a shallow loch with a flat sandy bottom that is ideal for beginners and experts alike. An idyllic windsurfing destination, the multitude of possible sailing locations sometimes baffles even regular visitors to the island.

Tiree=Heaven

Tiree has proved to be a perfect place for kitesurfing with it’s long sandy beaches and steady Atlantic breezes. The sport came to Scotland around 1999 when a number of people began to buy equipment which was starting to become commonly available around this time. The sport was already popular on the South Coast of England. One of the first of these pioneers was Willy Angus Maclean. Based at his home in the Isle of Tiree, he was one of the first to get up and going amongst the Scottish kitesurfers. Tiree was already well known amongst the windsurfing community as a location with steady and strong winds and abundance of clean white sandy beaches. The island proved to be just as good for kitesurfing as it was for windsurfing, maybe even better suited for this new sport.

Just to round things off, Tiree is also an amazing place to surf. With perfect Atlantic waves & warmed by the Gulf Stream, Tiree has excellent year round surf with a range of spots around the whole island which can deliver in all conditions. For example, Balevullin is a beachbreak which handles most swell sizes. Generally bigger mid to high tide but more hollow on low tide. It can produce the best barrels to be found on Tiree and is the most surfed beach on the island. Balephetrish is a mix of beachbreak & reefs. The middle to east end of the beach works on a spring high tide with a big north-west groundswell. The reefs work on a medium to large swell but it would be a long paddle without a boat. There is potential for tow-ins here!

Many thanks to Wild Diamond for this guide. Please visit www.surfschoolscotland.co.uk for their awesome in depth beach guide as well as details of kitesurf, windsurf and surf lessons and equipment hire. Also, keep an eye out for their new website which is coming soon. It’s a beauty!

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