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How to have the best surfing holiday in Jersey

08 June 2020

Girls paddle boarding

Surfing has been one of Jersey’s best-loved sports since as far back as the late 1920s. With 70km of pristine coastline and more than 20 named spots all within a 20-minute drive of each other, it’s easy to see why the island has such an affection for surfing.

The COVID-19 pandemic has severely limited international surf travel, so there’s never been a better time for UK surfers with itchy feet to pack the car, hop the channel and come and experience Britain’s most southerly surf spots.

Here's our guide to getting the most from your surf trip to Jersey.

Visit in spring and autumn

Spring and autumn are the best seasons to visit Jersey if you want to surf.

After a relatively flat summer, autumn provides local surfers with consistent swells and favourable easterly winds. The water temperature reaches its peak in September, which means the local summer crowds do stick around.

If you want to dodge the crowds and aren’t tied to school holidays, visit after the first week of September and aim to surf between 8am and 3pm.

Local surfer and shaper Ryan Hervé makes the most of a solid Autumn groundswell

In spring the strong winter winds begin to die off, but the consistency of swells remain. Although sunshine hours increase, the sea is still on the chilly side (10-14 degrees), which helps to keep the crowds away. Pack your 5mm suit, boots, gloves and hood.

Learn about Jersey’s unique tides

Jersey has some of the largest tides in the world, and they drastically affect the quality and type of waves on offer. 

During neap tides, you can surf from low tide to high tide at spots in the centre of St Ouen’s Bay, from Le Braye in the south to Secrets in the north. 

On spring tides you’ll have to wait for 60-90 minutes after low to surf at The Watersplash. The tide will move very quickly, and it’s a good idea to get out with plenty of time before the water hits the sea wall.

Local surfer Chester Mackley makes the long run down the beach during a spring tide at The Watersplash

Once the tide is on the wall, spots at the extreme north and south ends of St Ouen’s Bay begin to work. Due to strong currents, these spots are not suitable for beginners, and the speed and shallowness of the waves make them tricky for longboarders.

Pick the right surf spots for your ability

Jersey has a wide range of spots suitable for surfers of all abilities. The key to a great surfing experience in Jersey is picking the right ones for you. 

As a general rule of thumb, during any given swell the largest and most powerful waves will break at The Watersplash. As you head south towards Le Braye, the power and size begin to taper off, making the conditions more suitable for beginners.

La Rocco Tower and the reef beyond provide shelter at Le Braye during larger swells making it more suitable for beginners

Heading north, the power and size tend to drop a little but the currents can increase in strength, especially around the slipway in front of Sands Restaurant.

During an overhead size swell, we suggest beginners focus their efforts on Le Braye, and more experienced surfers try The Watersplash and the spots further north.

Local surfers look out at one of Jersey's best-loved high tide spots

RNLI lifeguards patrol St Ouen’s Bay at Le Braye, El Tico and The Watersplash. Patrols usually begin at Easter and run until October half-term. For more information on Jersey’s beach lifeguards please visit the local RNLI website.

All of Jersey’s ‘high tide spots’ require a good level of experience.

Bring the right boards and wetsuits

Jersey isn’t Hawaii, so you’re not going to need a full quiver to enjoy Jersey’s waves! But the chances are you’ll get a wide range of conditions if you’re visiting for a week. 

If you're a short boarder, you’ll want to pack a good wave board and a groveller. Longboarders should bring a performance board and a nose rider for the small days.

The flat day paddleboarding is brilliant on Jersey’s north and south coasts, so if you’ve got one taking up space in the garage, you may as well chuck that on the roof rack too!

As for which wetsuit to bring, follow this rough guide.

June - October: Summer steamer 3/2
November - December: Winter steamer and boots
January - April: Winter Steamer, boots, gloves & hood
May: Winter steamer and boots

Pick the right accommodation

One of the benefits of Jersey’s size is that you’re never more than a 10-minute drive from the ocean. But if surfing is at the top of your itinerary, you’ll want to base yourself in the west of the island.

Accommodation options in St Ouen’s Bay are limited, but our Coastal Cottages at La Pulente are within walking distance of a number of high tide spots at the southern end of the bay.

Les Ormes Main Resort is situated just a 5-minute drive from St Ouen’s Bay. If you head out to the first tee on our golf course, you can get a panoramic view of all the spots we’ve discussed in this article.

Hire a vehicle or bring your own

To get the most out of your surfing holiday in Jersey, having a vehicle is essential. You’ll want to explore the whole of St Ouen’s Bay and, if the conditions are suitable, there are waves to discover on the north and south coasts too.

Surf exploration, Jersey-style

Cars can be hired on arrival at the airport and harbour, but booking in advance online is the best way to get a good deal. 

If you’d prefer to bring your own surf wagon, car ferries operate from Portsmouth and Poole in the UK, and St Malo in France. 

For more information about booking the ferry, visit the Condor Ferries website here

See you in the water!

So now you know what to expect on your surfing holiday in Jersey, all that’s left is to make a booking. Keep an eye on our offers pages to get the best self-catering accommodation rates.

For up to date information on the COVID restrictions for travellers from the UK, please visit the Government of Jersey website.

See you in the water!

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