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McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Croyde Bay, North Devon.

Location:

Croyde, North Devon

Spot type:

Open ocean location with plenty of surf to keep everyone occupied.

Conditions:

Mostly, Croyde is surf venue, although it does have flat days (particularly during summer) that can be good for touring and recreational SUP.

Hazards:

Low tide sees the waves of any size dump on the numerous sand back. These can be sand dredging lumps of water that’ll easily pile drive you and your board into the seabed. When Croyde shows size this only increases. Experience barrel hunters relish it. During summer Croyde can be an absolute zoo when the sun’s out. Some rocks at either end and rips aplenty.

Access:

Getting to the water at Croyde is pretty simple. You have the main carpark at one end with numerous access points for walking across the sand dunes.

Popularity (1-10):

10 in high summer, 8 if the surf’s good (whatever time of year), 2-3 at other times.

Amenities:

There’s plenty of eating/drinking options with an onsite café, toilets and changing facilities (paid for). A camp site can be found just back from the beach whilst in the village you’ll discover The Thatch and Billy Budd’s pubs, both next door to one another. Plus, surf shops, pasty outlets, souvenir places and so on. Surrounding the beach beach you’ll find a plethora of self catering accommodation with high season prices that sky rocket. Out into the sticks has a few small hotels and less pricey room lets.

Overview:

Croyde’s reputation for low tide barrels is renowned. With solid swell heavy waves unload ferociously onto the sand bars dotted just beneath the water’s surface. Up to around 3ft is doable for most with experience, although even at that size you’ll easily get taken out by Neptune’s power. It’s quite possible to snap a stand up paddle board if you’re not paying attention. Add to the mix a frothing local pack of hungry surfers, mostly over any type of crowds, and it can all be a bit daunting. Yet this doesn’t stop every man and his dog from making a beeline for Croyde in high season. During summer all manner of craft can be afloat and the water gets quite hectic. It’s usually best to indulge in early or late sessions for the most peaceful experience. For many Croyde is a quintessential surfing town, not unlike its southern cousin Newquay. Whilst it doesn’t have quite the hedonistic rep, or back ti back shops, pubs and bars of the former Croyde’s two local pubs – The Thatch and Billy Buds – can serve up some spirited nightlife to say the least. Especially after little one’s bedtime hour has past. On hot days the whole of North Devon can get packed out which may test some people’s patience. Narrow roads in some parts aren’t for the faint hearted. Saunton, around the corner back towards Braunton, can offer respite from Croyde’s full on vibe. That said, score classic low tide Croyde, snag one of the epic kegs and you’ll be bitten by the Croyde bug for life no doubt! On flatter days grab a touring SUP and head out to Baggy Point for some exploring. Just watch out for currents and a change in weather.

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