The coastal contour is that of long beaches facing predominantly ENE with very little in the way of natural or manmade barriers to add any variety. There are no reefs, bays, harbour walls, points etc (unless Chapel point is included but it's the bluntest point in Europe!) to shape the North sea swells that hit our shores. The North sea also has a relatively short fetch, which combined with a shallow sea and long gently sloping beaches produces fairly short period swells that lack real power. Having said that Lincolnshire does benefit from prevailing offshore SW winds and we do have miles of beach break surf which although it doesn't vary too dramatically along the length of the coast, sand banks do form which can create long and sometimes hollow waves.
Surf in Lincolnshire is generated when deep low pressure systems, which track easterly across the Atlantic, pass or settle over the north coast of Scotland and across to Scandinavia and the howling northerlies kick up a swell which cleans up into groundswell by the time it reaches us. We also experience the occasional S/SE swells or N/NE/E swells generated by localised low pressure systems which tend to be much shorter lived and of course there's localised onshore windswell. There are waves year round but mid-summer can see long flat periods. The prime time of year for surf is Autumn through to mid-Winter when the big groundswells push in and when the conditions are right there can be some classic days of surf. The downside is that the North Sea doesn't have the luxury of the Gulf Stream and winter sea temps can be Baltic at 6 degrees or less, which combined with near freezing air temps and negative wind chill factors certainly sorts the hardcore from the fair weather surfers. During winter a 6/4mm steamer wetsuit, gloves, hood and boots are essential. Summer can be surfed in either a spring suit or 3/2mm steamer.
There are three main surf areas along the coast from Mablethorpe in the north through Sutton on Sea to Skegness in the South. The two main spots are Sandilands at Sutton on Sea and North shore at Skegness. Sandilands tends to draw in the locals and works best on flooding mid to high tides, with a SW wind. There can be a steep drop off at Sandilands beach which makes surfing big high tides a no-go unless there's a sizeable swell running. There can also be a heavy lateral rip running along the coast depending on the swell/wind direction which either means constant paddling or drifting with it and walking back up the beach. Sandi also has a water tap and a toilet block which is a luxury for round here! Skegness North shore faces a more easterly direction and is situated just around the curve of the coast as it heads in towards the Wash and because of this it offers some protection from N/NW winds and can clean up a Northerly swell as it wraps around the coast. Skegness works at high tide and can produce some super clean lefts which peel off the banks in between the groynes which remain there. Good days at Skeg are a very rare occasion with more swell being picked up further North.
For those who watch the forecasts and own a tide timetable, classic surf can be scored in Lincolnshire (but don't tell too many people!)
History of Surfing In Lincolnshire Surfing in Lincolnshire and the original Lincolnshire surf club can be traced back to the 1960's and below is a short profile of local surfing back in the day by Mick Rampton, Lincoln's first surfer (unless you know otherwise!?)....
"My first taste of surfing was in the summer of 68 whilst on holiday in Perranporth, Cornwall. I hired a board from a lone Aussie on the beach for 1, which was my total spending money for the day (wages then were 23 per week, so not cheap).
There were only half a dozen surfers out, not like todays crowded waves. After persevering all day without tuition I was able to catch waves and ride. This is all it took for me to get hooked.
Upon returning to Lincoln I was frustrated by the lack of awareness of this great sport, also the lack of equipment and suffered ridicule from my friends who insisted that you could not surf at the East coast.
After a bit of research in the winter of 1968, I discovered that there was a surf club in Scunthorpe of all places, the founder members being Pete and Ross Maw. Desperate to have a board, I bought one from Pete Maw; it was a 9 Bilbo pintail. I wish I still had it as it was brilliant for catching East Coast waves. Other names I can remember at that time were Alan Taylor, Mickey Davies, Ken Brocklebank and Johnny Bush. The last two lived in Grimsby where there was an affiliate club. In the winter we used to meet in a club house in Cleethorpes to watch surf films that had come from New Zealand. &bsp; This would be 69/70. There were enough of us plus wives & girlfriends to have an annual dinner.
We were all in to making our own boards at that time and even gluing together our own wetsuits from kits. I subsequently made two surf boards of my own one in 1970 and the other in 1975 and with my new found friends surfed all over the UK but the clubs home beach was Sandilands, near Sutton- on-sea. At weekends we would dash off to Scarborough or Cayton Bay or even Cromer. Some of us lost surfboards off flimsy roof racks on the way! There were no surf reports in those days so it was basic instinct and guess work whether there would be any surf when we got there. The locals would say, Ah, you should have been here yesterday, it was 6, green and glassy, so nothing changes.
By 1972 Lincolns contingent of surfers had grown to four and I had persuaded Sceptre Watersports to stock a small selection of boards. By then most of our summer holidays were spent in Cornwall, North Devon or The Gower Peninsular, mainly for the surfing. I stopped surfing seriously in 1986 after a nasty experience on Fistral Beach, Newquay. Surfing alone early in the morning I lost it on an 8 plus and was dragged under water by my leash, feet first and I was close to drowning when I finally surfaced. None the less I have since surfed in New Zealand, Hawaii and Portugal whilst holidaying but the heady times of the 60s and 70s were the best. We had nothing of today's hype and equipment but we still had fun, fun, fun. Happy surfing guys."