Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 31 July 2014

Tele Recommends: Surf spots

Aussie racer Cameron Donald hits the surf at Portrush
Aussie racer Cameron Donald hits the surf at Portrush

If you want to know the top five places to surf in Northern Ireland, then have a look at our expert’s views. After that, get talking, get tweeting and spreading the word, as we would like to know what you think.

What is Tele Recommends?

Benone Strand

The waves at this beach are generally smaller and gentler than anywhere else along the coast due to its location. The beach is back-dropped by waterfalls on the cliffs of Benevenagh. It is one of the longest beaches on the entire island which gives surfers a bit of room to explore different sand banks all the way from the MoD base to the corner at Downhill.

East Strand

Probably the best beach for beginners because generally it has very small waves due to being by the headland. There is a good car park to check conditions from, and beach access is easy. On stormy winter days when everywhere else is ravaged by the north west wind, East Strand is often the only surfable beach as it has a bit of shelter from the wind.

Portstewart

This beach has similar characteristics to Benone – gentle waves for the most part, although it can be a little more exposed and vulnerable to westerly winds.

The eastern end of the beach can have some pretty good waves on bigger days and the walkway along the water's edge gives spectators a good view of the bravest surfers catching the biggest waves.

Portballintrae

Experienced surfers only here. A range of waves in different locations give experienced surfers a good variety to choose from. Beach break, groin, river mouth and boulder reef waves all break here.

This is by far the best area for surfing on the north coast, but it is not for everyone even when the waves are small. Experienced surfers only should surf here and beginners should never consider it.

Finn MacCool's

Again, experts only. A big wave spot exists off the end of the Giant's Causeway called Finn MacCool's. On a big day a submerged rock shelf off the end of the Causeway allows the swell to stand up and break into the bay. I have surfed waves measuring around 30ft out there. It is a rare occurrence, so really I only get to surf there twice a year. Spectators get a great view from all around the bay.

Al Mennie, from Portrush, is one of the world’s top big wave surfers, tackling waves of up of 120ft high. He was born and raised here and is one of our greatest ambassadors for surfing.

Disagree with these choices?

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