Scarborough's South Bay and the rise of surfing on the Yorkshire Coast

Surfers limber up and head out into the waves on Scarborough’s South Bay during a bright and busy day at the beach.

It’s a sight more commonly associated with the west coast of the USA, but the activity has been a popular one on Yorkshire’s own shorelines for years and can be seen in this image by the YP's James Hardisty.

As Paul Tomlinson, owner of Secretspot surf shop and school in Scarborough, told The Yorkshire Post in 2019: “The surf market has really expanded and grown and people are realising that the east coast has world class waves.”

Sign up to our daily newsletter

He said that when conditions are at their best, there are waves reaching more than 10ft and several hundred surfers out along Yorkshire’s coast enjoying them.

Picture: James Hardisty.

The Yorkshire Post also reported a year ago how a rising tide of older women are embracing the sport, in pursuit of a surfer’s high amid a renewed thirst for the outdoors.

Ruby Wyborn, who launched lessons for younger girls in summer 2020, had found an enthusiasm which spans the generations.

Women are said to make up just 20 per cent of those on the waves, despite an estimated 500,000 surfers taking part in the sport across the UK.

But Ruby said: “A lot of people have realised, especially in Scarborough, that one of the few things we can do is outdoor activities.

“For a lot of people surfing is seen as a hobby that they always wanted to try, and this may be the best time to start.”

It’s not just surfers who flock to the South Bay, though – locals and tourists alike gather there for the numerous arcades and pubs in its vicinity.

There is heritage, too, of course. In the background of this photo St Mary’s Church, featuring the blue clock, can be seen. Anne Brontë is buried in its graveyard, having died in Scarborough on May 28, 1849 aged 29.

Scarborough was a place she loved and in which she set both of her novels Agnes Grey and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, and where she wished to open her own school.

Technical details: Nikon D4 camera, Nikon 70-200mm lens, exposure of 1/500th second at f8, ISO 100.