Surfing in Scotland
Surfing as a sport has grown significantly in recent times across the world and so has the sport’s popularity within Scotland. The water temperature may be a long stretch off from Hawaii but the variety of surfing choice available on Scotland’s coasts have attracted surf explorers for almost 50 years.
There have been two surveys completed in recent years which provide an insight to the size, scale and diversity of Scottish Surfing which can be accessed via the following links;
The demographics above are but the tip of the iceberg. Over and above the businesses which directly benefit from people participating in the sport the secondary benefits is by far further reaching. The surf sites along the coast of Scotland have inspired filmmakers, frequently feature in different forms of surf media and offer national promotion for the country. Some of these sites have been home to numerous national and international events with many attracting numerous visitors both from within and outwith Scotland. In certain areas holiday homes and hostels have been specifically geared towards the surf tourism market with many local businesses along the corners of Scotland supported by the trade the sport brings.
Indirectly surfing has attracted new residents to out of reach communities where demographics indicate an otherwise declining population and the sport has provided the backbone for an underlying street culture with many popular surf brands such as Billabong, O’Neill, Rip Curl, Hurley and Quicksilver. With nearly a 50 year history these ‘surf sites’ make up what is part of Scotland’s Marine Recreational Heritage. Through interviews with many of the Scottish Surfers they acknowledge that surfing is much more than just a sport – it’s a way of life.
The Scottish Surfing Regions
There are numerous surf breaks and surf communities across Scotland which all have their own distinction. The Scottish Government as part of the development of a National Marine Plan has provisionally outlined Regional distinctions within Scotland for Marine Planning purposes.
These may be further broken down as follows;
- Shetland Isles
- Orkney Islands
- North Shore
- Moray Firth
- North East
- Forth and Tay
- West Highlands
- Outer Hebrides