So, now you've taken up windsurfing and you're wondering where you can ride the waves in the UK. You may be thinking "There's nowhere near home. I can do that?' 'Have I got enough time to surf?' or even 'Will I have to go abroad?' Don't worry - there are lots of places to windsurf in the UK, meaning you can just throw your kit, your surf towel and your family in the car and go!
Here's a round-up of some of our favourite places to surf, in no particular order:
Situated in between Chichester and Portsmouth and sharing a harbour with Hayling Island this beautiful beach is known for its flat water and high wind. However, one downside is there is no safety cover and so you need to take care if you are not an experienced surfer. Emsworth is not as well-known as some of the other beaches on this list and so it is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life!
Galloway Activity Centre, Scotland
This little gem based on the shores of Loch Ken near Dumfries in Scotland may just be the best windsurfing venue in Scotland. Situated inland, these calm waters are the perfect place for beginners to get a taste for this water sport in a beautiful setting. Scotland is famous for its wind, so the training bay here at Galway Activity Centre is the perfect place to catch the wind in a safe and controlled environment.
Grimworth Reservoir, Yorkshire Dales
We couldn't get through this list of some of the best places in the UK to windsurf without mentioning Grimworth Reservoir. Set near Putley Bridge, on the top of the Yorkshire Dales, this vast stretch of water is the perfect place for developing your windsurfing skills. Being so high up Grimworth is ideally placed to catch any wind in the area and actually has the highest wind rating within a 30-mile radius!
You've probably heard of Gwithian; it has a bit of a reputation for out of hand swells - but please don't let this put you off. If you head there at low tide when the wind has a clear path across the beach you should be able to get a relatively long ride with a few punchy sections. You should also be careful when walking down the goat track to the beach, or avoid it altogether, as it can get quite steep - so it can be tricky when the wind is at its peak.
Hayling Island, Hampshire
One of the meccas for windsurfers in the UK, ever since a young Peter Chilvers attached a mast and sail to his makeshift board back in 1958 and set off from Fishery Creek. Summer sees a flat and shallow sailing area resembling some of the best windsurfing locations overseas, whereas winter can get a little choppy. A word of warning, Hayling Island is a very popular spot so can get busy in the summer months.
Rutland Water, Leicester
Just 20 miles east of Leicester, within easy reach of Loughborough and Nottingham, the most popular spot on this beach is the north shore facing south. A west-north-westerly wind blows down the north arm of the lake and on good days it has been known to produce a surfers knot or two - honest! The only hazards you may come across potentially are fishing boats - which tend to use the other parts of the reservoir or the Rutland Bell tourist cruise boat in the summer.
As you can see, the UK is packed full of places which are suitable to windsurf in - we've just scratched the surface here. Get off the couch, grab your kit and head out to find out how the UK can help to fulfil all of your windsurfing desires.