Croyde, North Devon - Surfing Croyde

Link to Surf UK Guide

This is a non-commercial personal guide to Croyde village in North Devon.

Croyde is a pleasant village near the beach in North Devon. It lies close to Georgeham, Saunton, Knowle, Woolacombe, Putsborough and Braunton. On a sunny day it is a delightful place to be, not that there are too many of those! It is a village that is split into two parts, the retirement part which wishes that the tourists would go away, and the business sector, which wants to encourage even more tourists.

The waves that roll on to the beach at Croyde are known for the high-quality sets that sometimes emerge. Rips can be quite bad if the swell gets high, so be careful with the beginners.

Compared to some places, I'd say that the surfers at Croyde tend to be pretty civilised, not too many disputes over ownership of the waves; it is a sad fact that even an activity as harmless as surfing can be overwhelmed by some spurious concept of "ownership".

The village does suffer somewhat from the modern virus that is "coolness", some unstated, intangible method of ranking the masses or crowds. "Surf shops" pander to this selling "labels" to the gullible for goods at high prices. Youngsters are sold a dream that is coolness, as the surfer in some way represents a coolness. Lads who have come from the city, can be seen hanging a street corners, like boys from the hood, jaws hanging open, as if waiting for something to happen. City angst combined with surfer coolness produces a bizarre noxious mixture. Let us hope that the modern life moves on from surfing. Surfing was much better when it was not cool: hopefully the faddies will all find a new hobby next year that involves going to Spain. The same goes for the money-grabbing businessmen as well.

Before modern wetsuits only the very strong and brave would venture in to the waters: now with modern technology everyone can buy into that dream, even if they don't get into the water, simply by purchasing the wetsuit, and board.

One good thing about Croyde is that it has "successfully" managed to avoid, or fend off, having to many of these interminably boring surf contests. This is partly due to the cold, the inconsistency of waves in the UK, plus the dominance of Newquay on the international scene.

Instruction at Croyde can be good. I seem to remember the US professional surfer "Wingnut" trained children here for a couple of years.

Big Wave, Croyde Bay, Devon (Photo: Jon Davis 1982)

The 5 Croyde Surfer Types

  1. Paddlers
  2. Bodyboarders
  3. Shortboarders
  4. Longboarders
  5. Kayakers - "goatboaters"

Croyde on the Internet

In 1997 when I started this page, there was hardly any information about North Devon surfing and Croyde on the Internet. Now there are many pages especially as the local businesses compete to attract trade. I typed in the word Croyde into the Altavista search engine the other day (February 2004) and up came 7,000 page references. I remember it used to be less than a hundred.

Commercialisation continues apace: someone sent me a link asking if I wanted to pay them to have a link to my site. Why can't they get a proper job.

Who cares who made your sunglasses after all? What kind of surf shop advertises itself according to the type of sunglasses they sell? There must be some pretty deluded and sad people tramping the streets of North Devon. The village is also the inspiration to some of the worst attempts at web money making you can imagine. One particularly awful website even advertises itself as being for sale, and as well as being mis-spelt, badly laid out, full of awful pictures. Its only saving grace is the fact that the web site has a "discussion page" in which frustrated readers can vent their irritation at the site, the funniest being from someone with the email address : "MORTAL - THIS SITE SUCKS BIG TIME - SHIT PHOTOS SHIT BEACH GUIDE SHIT EVERYTHING. HELL AWAITS YOU" - hilarious: good effort God!

Here are some Croyde-related wwweb-pages. Inclusion in this list does not indicate a personal recommendation, I mean do you really think I want to drive a Seat Arosa? The new car descriptions are quite funny though:
"Now you don't need a big car to get all you want. Just a big little car. The new SEAT Arosa." - Very drole.
"The Leon 20 VT is a reassuring and supremely competent performer." - supremely competant? Damning with faint praise.
"The new Toledo is designed to be enjoyed and engineered to be driven. It is a genuinely exciting vehicle that reflects passion and dynamism in its every detail." - just make sure you wear a blindfold as it looks as dull as dishwater!

Surf Conditions/Commercial/Shops

Surf School: SurfSouthWest
Cars: SEAT Dealership!!!

Institutional Sites

Tourism: North Devon Marketing Bureau
Media: North Devon Journal

Lingard West Country Surf Guide


Pavel McGinley and Clare Genis, Croyde Bay, Devon (Photo: Suzanne Jerrold 1996)

Steve Roberts, Croyde Bay (Photo: Suzanne Jerrold 1996)

Croyde Information

Campsite: Mitchum/Myrtle
Campsite: Surfers Paradise
Campsite, Holiday Village: Ruda

Bed and Breakfast in Croyde, Devon

(in alphabetical order)
  1. Atlantis Lodge, Moor Lane.
    Tel: 01271 - 890 384
    The views are can do a surf check from your bed
    Polly's Cafe occupies the ground floor
  2. Billy Budds Pub
    Tel: ?
  3. Chapel Farm, Jenny Winter
    Tel: 01271 - 890 429
  4. Mrs Adams, Combas Farm
    Tel: 01271 - 890 398
  5. Dunedin
    Tel: 01271 - 890 695
  6. Foxwell House
    Tel: 01271 - 890 670
  7. Shuna
    Tel: 01271 - 890 537
  8. St Helens Priory
    Tel: 01271 - 890 757
  9. The Manor
    Tel: 01271 - 890 241
  10. Thatch Public House
    Tel: 01271 - 890 349
  11. Westwinds
    Tel: 01271 - 890 489, Mobile 0831-211247
  12. White Leaf
    Excellent Food
    Tel: 01271 - 890 266

Holiday Chalets in Croyde, Devon

  1. Croyde Bay Holiday Co
    Tel: 01271 - 890 890
    Normally these are booked weekly, but can be booked for shorter periods of a day, 24 hours in advance.
  2. Ruda Caravans/Chalets
    Tel: 01271 - 890 671

Restaurants in Croyde

  1. LA's ranch house
    American food: Big portions of Chilli, Steaks, Burgers, Sandwuches
  2. Home House
    Strange menu provides interesting options
    Nice Chilean wines
  3. Kittiwell House
    Expensive, Big portions, Calorific fatty food.
    High quality "Elizabethan" food. Great steaks.
    Go on a diet before you go.
    No wonder that the Elizabethans had such short life-spans.

Pubs in Croyde

  1. Billy Budds
  2. Manor House Inn
    Food, beer, pool, good atmosphere
  3. The Thatch
    Good food.
    Avoid the darker beers, if you object to flatulence!
    There's usually a guest ale which invariably is good.
    Very crowded in the summer.
    Better in November when the pool table comes out.


In the summer, Croyde becomes overcrowded. For a place with a little more evening activity (8 pubs, 4 restaurants), try Braunton down the road. "England's largest village".

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