Skip to content
Ocean Vertical X Foxlake Adventures - The ultimate Summer Adventure Camp for 8-12 year olds. Click here for more info!

About Surfing in Scotland and East Lothian

All you need to know about Surfing

The Appeal of Surfing

Surfing isn’t just a sport. It’s an immersive experience that combines physical exertion with mental focus, resulting in a wholly unique feeling of accomplishment and exhilaration.

It’s no wonder that a famous surfing quote captures this sentiment perfectly: “Sliding a wave removes our brains out of the ordinary and slips us into the extraordinary of being there now….”

This ultimate guide will help you explore the world of surfing, focusing on the experience of surfing in East Lothian, Scotland, with Ocean Vertical.


Our Approach

Surfing with Ocean Vertical

At Ocean Vertical, we provide experiences in nature, connecting you to Scotland. We are a team of water and mountain sport professionals, with a passion for the outdoors and a vision of passing on skills, knowledge, and expertise to enable people like yourself to live unforgettable adventures.

No matter how many waves you surf in your lifetime, the first wave is unforgettable. With a wealth of time in the water surfing and coaching, our surf instructors still remember their first waves, and are regularly rewarded with experiencing other peoples’ too.

Not only is the feeling of riding a wave extraordinary, but the time in between – paddling through waves and floating in the ocean surrounded by wildlife and nature – is truly wonderful for the mind and body. Experiencing this will leave you eager for your next surf.

Riding The Wave In

When you think of Scotland, it’s likely you envision epic mountain landscapes, mysterious lochs, and historical castles. However, Scotland also offers one of the most thrilling and rejuvenating experiences you could imagine: surfing. In particular, East Lothian, just 40 minutes away from Edinburgh, offers fantastic surf spots and a wild rugged coastline, ideal for both beginner and intermediate surfers.

Surfing as an Ethical and Environmentally Friendly Adventure

Ocean Vertical is committed to ethical and environmentally friendly practices. Surfing in East Lothian not only provides an excellent workout but also an opportunity to connect with nature and contribute to its preservation.

Overcoming common challenges: The Importance of a Qualified Instructor

Learning to surf can be challenging, but with the right instruction, it becomes much easier. Ocean Vertical’s qualified instructors coach you through the safest way to get up and standing. They also address any questions or concerns you might have, ensuring a comfortable and exciting learning experience.

Lessons With Ocean Vertical: A Review Perspective

Ocean Vertical has earned a stellar reputation for providing excellent surfing lessons in East Lothian. Here’s what Chris from Haddington had to say about his experience:

“What a hidden wee gem. A company a stone throw away from where I live and hadn’t heard of but deserves so much more recognition. A friend and myself went surfing and had a great time from start to finish. The team were super friendly and professional and conducted the afternoon superbly. And afterwards we enjoyed complimentary coffee and chocolate biscuits back at their base.”

Testimonials: Surfing Success Stories

Many people have found joy, growth, and a sense of accomplishment through surfing lessons at Ocean Vertical. Lindsey from Edinburgh shared: “We had an amazing day out surfing with friends. Our guide, Jacob, was helpful, friendly and knowledgeable. 

The kit provided was well-fitted and kept us warm and safe from the elements. I cannot think of a better way to experience the wild coastline of Scotland!”

Wipeout: Time to Paddle Back

Whether you’re seeking a new hobby, a physical challenge, or a deeper connection with nature, surfing in East Lothian offers all this and more. It’s not just about learning to ride the waves. It’s about experiencing the sheer exhilaration and inner peace that comes with it. If you’re ready to start your surfing journey, Ocean Vertical is here to guide you every step of the way.

Ready to ride the wave of your life?

Book your adventure with Ocean Vertical now. 

One life to be lived well: Welcome to Adventure

Surfing FAQs

Is surfing safe in Scotland?

Surfing in Scotland, with use of correct personal protective equipment such as wetsuit, is as safe as any where else on the planet. There are of course inherent risks, and if you’re going out without prior lessons, it’s important to inform yourself of water safety skills and knowledge before you surf.

Taking at least one or two Surfing Lessons to begin your surfing journey is absolutely worthwhile, and will help you progress at a faster rate than without.

During your sessions, you can ask your instructor questions to ensure you understand…

The best place for surfing lessons near Edinburgh?

East Lothian is home to a handful of surf lesson providers.

At Ocean Vertical we take pride in the quality of or  Surf Lesson experience at Belhaven Bay, just 40 minutes from Edinburgh. Not only is the use of premium surfing equipment included (which includes a DRY 5/4mm thick limestone based wetsuit – dry rentals are almost unheard of), but an after lesson experience of coffee and chocolate biscuits around our wood-burning stove or in our Victorian Stable building’s sun-trap courtyard, whilst chatting about your favourite waves of the day!


What is the difference between surfing and paddle boarding?

Here at Ocean Vertical we have a passion for both surfing and paddle boarding.

Paddle boarding and surfing are both popular water sports that originated in Hawaii.

There are several key differences between these two activities:

Paddle boarding is an activity that involves standing or kneeling on a board and paddling with your hands, or a paddle to move through the water, while surfing is an activity that involves riding the waves on a surfboard.

Paddle boards are typically larger and wider than surfboards, making them more stable and easier to balance on. Surfboards, on the other hand, are designed…

What wetsuit should I use for surfing in Scotland?

What thickness of wetsuit is needed for surfing in Scotland?

In Scotland, our sea temperature ranges from a cool 4°C in winter to 16°C towards the end of summer, and therefore requires a good wetsuit year round. A  ‘good wetsuit’ depends on a whole host of factors; material, thickness, seams etc, though we are just considering the thickness of wetsuit material here.

Given we have cold water year round, we recommend a wetsuit thickness of 5/4mm. Generally speaking, the 5/4 refers to 5mm of material in the torso and thighs, and 4mm on…

Where can I surf near Edinburgh?

East Lothian and the Sottish Borders are home to many brilliant surf spots, from beginner friendly beach breaks to reef and point breaks for more advance surfers.

Ocean Vertical surf lessons take place at Belhaven Bay, a sandy bay that provides waves for a broad range of surfing abilities and styles. Belhaven Bay is around 40 minutes’ drive from Edinburgh.

For a more detailed list of surf spots near Edinburgh you can check out this blog: Top 10 Beaches For Surfing Near Edinburgh.

Are there surf schools or instructors available in Scotland?

Yes, there are surf schools and instructors available in various coastal areas of Scotland. These schools offer lessons for all levels, from beginners to more advanced surfers. Taking a lesson can be a great way to learn proper techniques, understand safety guidelines, and gain local knowledge of the surf spots.

Remember, always prioritize safety while surfing in Scotland. Be aware of your skill level, check weather conditions and forecasts, watch for potential hazards like rocks and currents, and surf within your comfort zone.

Is Scotland a good place for surfing?

Yes, Scotland is a fantastic place for surfing. It offers a diverse coastline with a variety of breaks that cater to different skill levels. From powerful reef breaks to mellow beach breaks, Scotland has something for everyone.

What equipment do I need for surfing in Scotland?

Surfing in Scotland requires the same equipment as Hawaii, plus thick wetsuits, hoods, gloves and booties to protect you from the cold water.

You’ll need the following:

Surfboard Leash Fin(s) Wetsuit (recommend 5/4mm hooded) Wetsuit hood (if not attached to wetsuit) Wetsuit gloves (recommend 5mm) Wetsuit boots (recommend 5mm)

If you are new to surfing we would also strongly recommend you take a few surfing lessons. Our Surfing Lessons are just 40 minutes from Edinburgh.

What kind of waves can I expect while surfing in Scotland?

Scotland’s coastline offers a mix of wave types, including beach breaks, reef breaks, and point breaks. The waves can vary in size and power, ranging from mellow longboard-friendly waves to powerful barrels for more experienced surfers. The quality and size of the waves depend on weather conditions and swell direction.

What should I wear while surfing in Scotland?

The water in Scotland can be cold, even during the summer months. It is essential to wear a good-quality wetsuit to stay warm and comfortable. A full-body wetsuit with a thickness of 4/3mm to 5/4mm, along with boots, gloves, and a hood, is recommended to protect against the cold water temperature.

What should I take Surfing?

  • A taste for real adventure in the surf

  • A healthy respect for the marine environment and its wildlife

  • Swimming costume for under your wetsuit [provided by you]

  • Warm robust limestone based wetsuit [provided by us]

  • High quality surf board and leash [provided by us]

  • For the colder months, limestone based neoprene gloves, socks and hood [provided by us]

  • Bright blue high visibility rash vest [provided by us]

  • Transport to the surfing venue from our base [provided by us]

  • Professional guide [provided by us]

Read more about Surfing

best surfing spots near edinburgh scotland

Best Beaches for Surfing near Edinburgh

The Best Surfing Spots Near Edinburgh

Scotland, the land of lochs and mountains, also offers some of the most exciting surfing opportunities in the UK. The beauty of Scotland’s beaches is not just in their rugged charm but also in the remarkable surf opportunities they provide.

The famous north coast wave at Thurso East is…

surfing in scotland east coast surfing lessons belhaven bay

Surfing Lessons in East Lothian, Scotland

What are the best outdoor activities in Scotland?

Well, for me, I’ve always wanted to learn to surf.

There’s just something about it: clean, silent, natural. An allure that it just seems an inherently good thing to do. A good way to spend some of our precious time on this beautiful planet. And of course,…

outdoor water activities scotland paddle boarding edinburgh and east lothian

The Best Outdoor Activities In Scotland

What are the Best Outdoor Activities In Scotland?

Are you looking for the best outdoor activities in Scotland? For the adventure seeker Scotland is spectacular, accessible and incredibly diverse for a small country.

Whether you are looking at getting into mountaineering, seeking the best hillwalking areas in Scotland, or exploring abundant outdoor water activities, there’s…

best outdoor activities for groups near edinburgh scotland

The Best Outdoor Activities Near Edinburgh

The Best Outdoor Activities Near Edinburgh

Scotland is one of the worlds great outdoor adventure destinations, and Edinburgh is its magnificent capital city.

Edinburgh is easy to access by road, rail, and air, and makes a fantastic short break and weekend get away destination. It’s a beautiful and incredibly walkable city brimming with history and…


What Is Coasteering?

What is Coasteering?

What exactly is coasteering? It’s a question we are asked on a regular basis. And this is understandable, as a “sport” it’s pretty new and unless you grew up or spent time around the coastline, it’s an alien thing. Its also a unique and extraordinary experience!


Ocean Vertical: The Coasteering…


Surfing Gallery

What people say about Surfing with us

Great Surfing Lessons

We had a great time with Ocean Vertical surfing at Belhaven Bay. It was our first surfing experience and the instructor was great and super helpful. they provided us with all the equipment and the hot chocolate for my kids back at their beautiful old base. 5 stars!

Miss Smith Surfing

We had the best morning with Ocean Vertical. We booked the 3 hour surfing session in East Lothian. It was absolutely brilliant. They provided everything we needed. Their facilities, from changing to minibus, were super. There were 2 amazingly knowledgeable instructors and only 6 participants in the group so we got lots of personal support and feedback. The instructors were so friendly and encouraging. I would highly recommend Ocean Vertical and can’t wait to go back. I will be telling all my friends and family to book some fun activities! Thanks for a fantastic morning Ocean Vertical!

Fist Surfing Experience

I was given surfing lessons for my 40th birthday and couldn’t have had a better time with a gang of friends. The Ocean Vertical team were super helpful and friendly, and had a real focus on the environment and the sustainable side of surfing.

The location at Belhaven Bay was beautiful too. I would definitely recommend. Their old stables building is amazing too – you get changed where they used to keep horses! Brilliant.

Family Surf Session!

We had a great family surfing experience at Belhaven Bay!

We met up with Ocean Vertical at their amazing building and got kitted up, and headed over to the beach. The instructors were great and because we were in a small group we all [just!] managed to stand up!

We will definitely be back – and thanks for the hot chocolate!

About Ocean Vertical

OV - Supporting Adventures for Surfing

Ocean Vertical are here to share our passion for adventure in natures wild places.

All of our sports are silent, human powered and low impact on the environment.

On the rugged coastline of East Lothian by Edinburgh we offer surfing, coasteering and paddle boarding all year round.

In the Highlands of Scotland we offer summer and winter hillwalking, along with winter skills in the Cairngorms, and more advanced winter mountaineering in Glen Coe.

We provide all the equipment you need in everything we do, always from aligned sustainable brands. And to cut down on multiple car journeys we will take you there and back too.

We have the view that every Ocean Vertical customer is a new potential ambassador for Scotland and its precious wild places. Environmental education plays a core role in all our adventures.

Our wilderness needs custodians, and protection for generations to come.

Welcome to Adventure

Adventure Activities Licensing Authority ASI Accredited School - Stand Up Paddle ASI Academy of Surfing Instructors NCC Promoting Safe Coasteering