The best eco-friendly autumn surfing spots in the UK

Unsustainable isn’t the first thought that springs to mind when it comes to surfing. After all, it’s riding waves not polluting them… Right?

Wrong. The carbon footprint of surfboards isn’t great. They are made of raw materials and often end up in landfill. In short: they aren’t yet green.

Luckily, there are spots to go around the UK where you can hire your gear so to maximise fun and minimise impact on the environment.

After all, surfers are an environmentally friendly bunch so it really does pay to be an eco-conscious surfing spot.

Fistral Beach, Cornwall

Kernow. Bleached white sands and azure waters. The location of Britain’s best beaches. This amenities-rich north coast hot spot is no exception. Home to numerous contests, including the Boardmasters Open (the competition that runs alongside the nearby music festival each August), Fistral’s smaller waves in summer make it perfect for those with longboards or who are wet behind the ears.

Stay: Fistral Beach Hotel and Spa, Newquay, Cornwall. This adult-exclusive hotel includes a special ‘surf and stay’ package with a two-hour lesson and rooms from £50.

Hire it: Fistral Beach Surf School offers board and wetsuit hire from £25 per day.

Llangennith, Wales

Situated on the world famous Gower Peninsula, this five-mile stretch of glistening golden sand offers some of the best surfing in South Wales.

Due to its size, this collection of beaches and, more importantly, wave sets, doesn’t get too crowded even when the break gifts a bounty of sets. Venture north to find the nearby tidal lido, the Blue Pool, for those post-ride sore limbs.

Stay: The King’s Head Inn, Llangennith (in Gower, Swansea), is a 17th-century four-star ‘olde worlde’ inn with a cracking beer garden and pet-friendly rooms from £135 per night.

Hire it: Surfing Gower offers board and wetsuit hire for £45 per day.

The Wave, Bristol

An artificial surf park may not offer sand between the toes but, if you’re after minimal interference with nature, look no further. The ‘lagoon’ produces up to a thousand waves every hour and provides for all levels.

Ideal for day trips as well as overnights, the park caters for children and those who require special assistance.

Stay: The Camp at The Wave’s tents have hot water and a private loo, as well as a 10pm quiet time. Safari tents for up to eight people are £180 per night.

Hire it: Surfboards, wetsuits, boots, hats and gloves are included in the price of your surf. More than 16,000 cheap polystyrene bodyboards are discarded on UK beaches every year – and polystyrene takes over 500 years to decompose.

Thurso East, Scotland

Scotland’s surfing mecca on the far north coast is as remote as it gets. And of course, in surfing terms, for those who treat riding waves like a religion, remote means pilgrimage-worthy.

With right-hand breaking waves up to 15ft tall, you may not even notice the glorious castle ruins backdrop. Wetsuits are a must, even in summer.

Stay: Wake to a view of the bay at Thurso Bay Caravan and Camping Park – a rustic four-and-a-half-acre site on the town outskirts on Smith Terrace (basic pitch £14, plus £5 per person).

Hire it: North Coast Watersports, Dunnet beach near Caithness, charges £20 for a foam surfboard for a full day.

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