Overall the east coast carries the largest surfing population across Scotland. Picking up swells on various locations from North West through to Southerly directions varies.
Forth and Tay
The region deemed as the ‘Forth and Tay’ encompassing the coast lines of the Scottish Borders, Lothian, Fife and Angus has by far the largest population of surfers within Scotland and consists of many different surf communities with some of the most densely populated surf sites at Dunbar, Pease Bay and St Andrews. This generally reflects the demographics of Scotland where 70% of the population live within the Central Belt meaning the Lothian coast is by the far the most accessible. The East Lothian Coast was the location for approximately 10 annual Scottish Surfing Championships in the later half of last century and the area has saw many local surf competitions and events since. Compared with the surf sites of the other areas within Scotland the area lacks the consistency and quality of other Scottish regions but it offers a quick escape to many city and land dwellers. Out of all the regions within Scotland the Southeast has the majority of surfer related businesses where people are directly employed by the industry. Supporting surf shops such as ‘Momentum’, ‘Boardwise’ and Freeze Pro Shop’ as well as surf schools provided by ‘Momentum’ and ‘C2C Surf School’. Within the area there are two dedicated surfboard shapers ‘Pro Liberty Surfboards’ and ‘J Surfboards’ a surf clothing company ‘Staunch Clothing’ and the area attracts the main student base with University clubs located in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, St Andrews and Stirling. The area has saw the surfer fold widen dramatically within recent years bulging to a point where it has exceeded the limited parking and existing beach facility capacity.
The region identified as the ‘North East’, geographically commencing at the beginning of the North Esk Estuary (North of Montrose) spanning through Aberdeenshire as far as the West Phingask Shore (West of Fraserburgh) is home to some of the most well established surfing communities within Scotland with a nucleus of activity in the Fraserburgh and Aberdeen areas. Outwith Fraserburgh and Aberdeen there are frequently surfed locations on the stretches between Stonehaven and St Cyrus as well as the coastal regions surrounding the Peterhead area. As a town Fraserburgh is almost surrounded three quarters of the way by water and was home to a surf shop known as ‘Point North East’ which was in operation throughout the first decade of the 21st century. Fraserburgh is one of the few towns within Scotland where a consistent surfing beach is within short walking distance of the local schools. Changing facilities which were once available through until the late 1990s which helped attract newcomers to the sport at a young age many who have went on to form a tight surf group informally recognized as ‘The Broch Surf Club.’ Fraserburgh offered the right environment for a surf community to flourish. The setting and strength of the surf community pushed the standard of the sport with the area becoming known as the epi-centre of surfing performance for Scotland. Although today closure of facilities meant fewer newcomers are taking up the sport within the town it is not surprising that the majority of Scottish Surfing Champions over the last 40 years have originated from the Fraserburgh area. Fraserburgh has seen its fair share of surfing competitions hosting local events through to Scottish Surfing Championships as well as the Scottish Surfing Federations annual ‘Gathering of the Clans’ event in more recent years. Fraserburgh Bay has been home to the British Surfing Championships in 1992 along with the UK Professional Surfing Festival in 2010. ‘Cold Water Surf School’ also provides surf tuition in Fraserburgh, Aberdeen and Banff. Aberdeen is also home to a bustling surf community with a dedicate university surf club as well as the largest surf shop within Scotland (Granite Reef) that provides a locally run surf school. The ‘Granite Reef Open’ was a surfing event frequently planned on a yearly basis and was previously run by ‘Granite Reef’ and the ‘Granite City Boardriders.’ As well as those surfers who live and have grown up in the area the Universities and oil and gas industry offer Aberdeen a transitional home and this has bolstered the number of surfers within the area over the years.
The Moray Firth Coast is home to many different surf communities scattered along its numerous different coastal towns and villages. The region as outlined by the Scottish government spans from the foreshores west of Phingask to Duncansby Head and captures the coastline of Aberdeenshire, Moray and the East Highlands. The main nucleus areas are Banff, Sandend and Lossiemouth where the communities are served by local surf businesses, ESP and the Surfers Attic respectively. There are also a number of surf schools within the area such as ‘Surf and Watersports Club Scotland’ situated at Banff as well as ‘New Wave Surf’ a mobile surf school situated along the Moray Coast. Banff has hosted several surfing events over the years with part of the Scottish Surfing Championships held at Banff links in 2005. On the right conditions it is not uncommon for many surfers to flock to specific breaks within the region which is also within the catchment area for Aberdeen and Fraserburgh areas.