Surfing in the UK
While the southwest rightly has a good reputation for English surfing opportunities, there are plenty more locations around the UK drenched with swell. And there are plenty of opportunities to get cheap car hire in the UK so there's no reason not to try somewhere new in 2013.
While Newquay is known as the 'Surf Capital of The UK' there are other Cornwall locations to consider too. Watergate Bay is not far from Newquay and also has excellent surf schools. Sennen Cove is consistently good as it is an exposed hamlet with award-winning clean beaches.
On the north coast, Croyde Bay has powerful low tide waves and on the south Devon coast both Bantham and Bigbury-on-Sea pick up more swell than any other south Devon beach. While in the area you should take a ride on the "sea tractor" to Burgh Island for a drink at the 13th-century Pilchard Inn.
On the south coast in Pembrokeshire, Freshwater West has powerful and impressively large peaks so is best for intermediate and expert surfers. The small bays in the area also have good breaks.
Llangennith on the Gower peninsula is great for beginners and this three-mile stretch gets breaks all the way down. Yes, that can mean it gets busy but there's space for all if you walk further down a bit.
On the north Wales coast, Hell's Mouth at Porth Neigwl is a four-mile long bay with the best waves beneath the cliffs at the southeast end of the bay. Again, it can get busy here, but park up and walk further along the beach and you'll find space to enjoy the waves.
You may not expect the northeast coast of England to be a winning spot for surfing but Saltburn-by-the-Sea is a really friendly place to learn with an excellent beach. Away from the Atlantic Ocean, this surfing is in the cold North Sea but the north-facing break means this area gets most of the swell along this part of the coast.
Just an hour's drive from Edinburgh, Pease Bay and Eyemouth in the Scottish Borders (southeast Scotland) are worth a visit – as long as you have a 5mm neoprene wetsuit! Sure, it's cold up here but at Pease Bay there is both a beach break and a reef for those who really know what they are doing.
Over to the west, there are surfing options in the south at Machrihanish in the Kintrye peninsula. Or head up the country and take a trip out to the Island of Tiree which is near Mull. It's considered one of the sunniest places in Britain and is only 10 miles long and 5 miles wide.
The west coast of the Isle of Lewis in the Outer Hebrides is the most north-western point in Europe and receives the full force of the North Atlantic storms in the winter. But time your trip well and the surfing opportunities are outstanding.
Back onto the mainland and further north still, Thurso East is a right-hand reef break and considered to be one of the best waves in Europe.
Sam Wilkins loves travel and adventure sports but has a grown-up job which means he doesn't get away as much as he'd like to anymore. He spends time finding UK-based opportunities for crazy stuff he can do at the weekends and encouraging his friends to join in too.