Strandhill has in recent times become a mecca for surfers from far and wide. Surfing is more than just a sport here, it’s a way of life.
Strandhill is generally considered to be one of the best beach breaks in the country and over the years has consistently produced Ireland’s top surfers. If you have never surfed and would like to try, you can take a lesson with one of our great local surf schools where all equipment is provided.
Strandhill is northwest-facing and picks up any type of swell from southwest to north, making it one of the most consistent breaks in the country. The beach itself is sand-bottomed and is surrounded by other reef and point breaks. Depending on the time of year and seasonal storms, different sections of the beach can have exposed rocks, but this does vary especially in winter.
Any wind from the south is offshore for the beach, making conditions clean, but the beach is well-known for being surfable even when the wind isn’t favourable. Sandbanks shift a lot depending on the tide and for this reason you will often see a group of eager surfers waiting for the tide to change before they paddle out. Surfers in the area are friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask for advice on tides, wind or swell predictions.
For experienced surfers visiting Ireland, Strandhill is the perfect spot to base yourself. When the swell is anywhere between 1ft and 4ft, the beach serves up fantastic waves which can be ridden on either a shortboard or longboard according to the tide. Depending on the swell direction, certain hidden breaks in the area might turn on.
Once the swell gets over 6ft, the beach can get out of control with strong rips and long paddles. However, you will find yourself based perfectly between Easkey and Bundoran which have spots that hold bigger swell. With a bit of local knowledge, you are no more than a one-hour drive from at least 20 world-class waves, which work on a variety of wind and swell directions.
The Strandhill Open surfing competition takes place every August bank holiday weekend (first weekend of the month). This is one of the country’s biggest surfing events and draws competitors and spectators from far and wide.
County Sligo Surf Club is located on the second floor above Voya Seaweed Baths and has changing and shower facilities. Due to county regulations, it is not possible to rent surfboards in Strandhill and swimming at the beach is also forbidden due to strong currents.