Surfing On The Causeway Coast

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Unleash Your Inner Surfer: Discover the Best Surf Spots On The Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland

Who would have imagined that surfing in Northern Ireland would be such an adrenaline-inducing experience? Now the Causeway Coast has emerged as one of the fastest-growing surf destinations, providing surfers with the unique opportunity to ride well-shaped waves against the backdrop of lush landscapes and historical landmarks. Here, we give you a comprehensive guide to the best surf spots in Northern Ireland, so you can grab your surfboard and start your surfing adventure in this beautiful part of the world.

Our Top 10 Beaches To Go Surfing in Northern Ireland?

Embarking on my surf journey in the picturesque landscapes of Northern Ireland was nothing short of magical! While I’m still riding the beginner wave, here are my favorite beaches that welcomed me with open arms (and forgiving waves):

Portrush (East Strand)

This was my absolute go-to! With its long sandy stretches, it was forgiving for someone like me still finding my surf balance.

Whiterocks Beach

Just a hop away from Portrush, those white limestone cliffs provided not just good waves, but also Instagram-worthy backdrops. A beginner’s paradise!

Castlerock Beach

This beach made autumn and winter surfing seem like a charm! Plus, the sandy bottom was a blessing for a few inevitable wipeouts.

Portstewart Strand

Nearly two miles of consistent waves and plenty of space to practice my pop-ups without a crowd watching.

Benone Beach

Its reputation as one of Ireland’s longest beaches isn’t just for show. The vast expanse meant I had ample room to hone my skills without bumping into fellow surfers.


Less about the waves and more about the tranquillity. On days I wanted to escape the usual buzz, this was my hideout.

Runkerry Beach

A stone’s throw from the iconic Giant’s Causeway and Old Bushmills Distillery, surfing with such a view was surreal! Plus, fewer crowds meant a more relaxed session.

Whitehouse Bay

Nestled near Portrush, it was my little secret spot when I felt slightly more adventurous but within safe boundaries.

Portrush (West Strand)

Slightly more challenging than the East Strand but still beginner-friendly. It was my choice for days I felt like stepping up my game a notch.


A bit of a drive away near Donegal, but the journey was worth the sight and the surf. Even as a reef break, I found certain areas manageable as a newbie.

For fellow beginner surfers wanting to explore Northern Ireland’s coastline, these spots welcomed me with just the right wave patterns, breathtaking views, and a promise of progress with every visit! Always remember to stay safe, respect the ocean, and enjoy the ride. 🏄‍♀️🌊

What Makes Northern Ireland a Unique Surfing Destination?

The Causeway Coast of Northern Ireland is a gem for many reasons, and for beginner surfers, it presents a harmonious blend of nature, manageable waves, and welcoming surf culture. Here’s what makes it such a splendid spot for those just starting out on their surf journey:

Gentle Waves

Many beaches along the Causeway Coast, like East Strand in Portrush, offer gentle, consistent waves, ideal for beginners. These waves allow novices to practice their basics without feeling overwhelmed.

Wide Beaches

Expansive sandy beaches, such as Portstewart Strand and Benone Beach, provide ample space. This means beginners can find their own pocket of the sea to practice without colliding with other surfers.

Surf Schools & Rentals

The Causeway Coast is dotted with numerous surf schools offering lessons tailored for beginners. Not only do they provide valuable instructions, but they also rent out appropriate gear. This way, beginners can try out the sport without heavy investment.


Many of the popular beginner spots have lifeguard services during peak months, ensuring an added layer of safety for those still getting familiar with the ocean.

Stunning Scenery

Learning to surf with the backdrop of dramatic cliffs, ancient castles, and the UNESCO-listed Giant’s Causeway makes the experience surreal. The beauty of the surroundings can be a great motivation for beginners.

Friendly Surf Community

Northern Ireland, in general, boasts a welcoming and tight-knit surf community. Local surfers and instructors are often more than willing to offer tips, guidance, and share their love for the sport.

Varied Spots

The Causeway Coast has a range of beaches, each with its own character. This means beginners can progressively challenge themselves as they become more confident, without needing to travel far.

Easily Accessible Beaches

Many of the popular surf spots are easily accessible by car, with ample parking facilities nearby. This makes it convenient for beginners to lug their boards and gear.

Post-Surf Attractions

After a day of catching waves, beginners can explore the rich history, enjoy local gastronomy, or simply marvel at the natural wonders like the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge. This holistic experience makes the Causeway Coast stand out.

Consistent Surf Season

While summer is popular due to warmer temperatures, the Causeway Coast offers consistent waves throughout the year. So, beginners keen on progressing quickly can benefit from year-round practice.

All in all, the Causeway Coast is not just about the waves; it’s the complete package. The combination of nature’s grandeur, consistent waves suitable for beginners, and a welcoming community make it a fantastic starting point for those looking to delve into the world of surfing.

Top tips for exploring the surfing on The Causeway Coast

After spending some epic time riding the swells on the causeway Coast of Northern Ireland over the past few years, I’ve put together my top tidbits for those of you keen to embark on a similar adventure. So here’s the surf lowdown from my experience:

  1. Weather Whims: Northern Ireland can surprise you with its swift mood swings in weather. From sun to sudden showers, the forecast can flip. Apps like Magicseaweed or Windy provided me with both surf reports and weather updates. They’re indispensable to plan your surf day.
  2. Wetsuit Wonders: The North Atlantic isn’t your tropical surf spot; it can get cold! Investing in a quality wetsuit was a game-changer. In summer, a 3/2mm might suffice, but come autumn and winter, I was thankful for my 4/3mm or even 5/4mm suit. Also, local surf shops can advise you on what’s best for the current conditions.
  3. Tidal Tales: Tides can be the difference between an epic surf session and a total dud. Some spots in Northern Ireland, like Whiterocks Beach, can have amazing waves at mid-tide but turn rocky at low tide. I found apps like Tides Near Me super helpful.
  4. Safety First: The coastlines here can be tricky. Undercurrents, riptides, and hidden rocks taught me to never underestimate a spot. The best move I made? Speaking to local surfers. Their firsthand experience is more valuable than any guidebook.
  5. Local Vibes: Surfer etiquette is universal, but each beach has its nuances. At places like Portrush, I noticed locals had their unwritten lineup system. Observing and chatting casually helped me integrate seamlessly and catch waves without stepping on toes.
  6. Hidden Beaches: Some of my most memorable sessions were at tucked-away spots. But these came with challenges like tricky parking or navigating through private lands. Always best to check access points and rules before you head out.
  7. Pack a Picnic: After an intense session, hunger struck hard! Many spots, especially the remote ones, lack cafes or shops. My trusty backpack always had energy bars, fruit, sandwiches, and tons of water.
  8. Board Talk: Northern Ireland’s waves vary, so having the right board is essential. While my longboard was perfect for smaller days at Benone Beach, I switched to my mini-mal on bigger days at Portstewart Strand. Local surf shops can often provide advice or even demo boards to try.
  9. Marine Meetups: Beyond the waves, the marine life is a spectacle. On a lucky day at Ballycastle, I spotted a playful seal popping its head out! Always a joy, but remember to maintain a respectful distance.
  10. Leave Only Footprints: Preserving the pristine beauty of these beaches was close to my heart. Whether it’s picking up after myself or joining a local beach cleanup, I ensured my surf adventure left no trace.
  11. School’s In Session: Even if you’re experienced, local surf schools can be a goldmine. I had a lesson at Portrush, and beyond techniques, I learned about the best local spots and hidden dangers.
  12. Crowd Control: While surfing at popular times gives you a sense of community, it can also mean competing for waves. For those moments of solitude, I’d either surf at dawn or seek out those lesser-known spots.
  13. Insurance Insider: On my travels, I’ve learned the hard way about being underprepared. Ensuring my travel insurance covered potential surf injuries or equipment damage meant peace of mind with every paddle out.
  14. Stay Connected: In the euphoria of catching waves, it’s easy to forget practicalities. But having emergency numbers saved and sharing my location with someone trustworthy made sure safety was always in the backdrop.

Riding the waves of Northern Ireland has been a dream. Its mix of raw beauty, challenging waves, and warm locals made every session special. If you’re heading there, prepare well and dive deep into the experience. It’s one for the books! 🏄‍♂️🌊🍀.

Seeking Less-Crowded Surf Experiences in the Republic of Ireland

Lough Swilly in the Republic of Ireland presents off-the-beaten-track surf experiences. So, if you’re not keen on popular spots, the waves of Lough Swilly have got you covered.

So, whether you’re a seasoned surfer or a beginner looking to get their feet wet, Northern Ireland’s surfing scene caters to everyone. From the bustling West Strand in Portrush to the serene White Park Bay, Northern Ireland promises to deliver a memorable surfing experience.


About the author

Originally from Scotland, Colin now resides near the beautiful seaside town of Portstewart on the Causeway Coastal Route. By day he works in IT and by day off he spends much of his time travelling around the Island with his young family, writing about his experiences for many sites both locally and nationally.