Located in West Caithness, Scotland, Thurso East is an absolutely world-class reef set-up that offers up a deep, fast, barreling right-hander. This spot has been consistently compared to Nias on the other side of the world with good reason. The drop isn’t the most critical, but the wave quickly turns into a massive tube. This is probably the most-published spot in Scotland. The waves here are heavy and break for up to 200 meters over a kelp covered rocky reef which is usually a little shallow to be deemed safe. You can access this spot from parking right next to a barn on the farm that overlooks the break, or paddle out from the Thurso River stained brown with peat just to the West of the break. This same river brings icy cold water, especially in the winter months.
What are the best surf conditions for Thurso East?
Gets good between head high and triple overhead. We recommend riding a shortboard, then step up, then your big wave board as the size picks up. This break is suitable for competent intermediates and advanced level surfers. The surf here is somewhat consistent (5/10) and really isn’t as crowded as a break of this quality usually is (5/10). The locals here are friendly, but not tolerant of groups or visitors that don’t mind their manners. Make sure to give the locals the pick of the waves and wait your turn. Southeast winds will open the barrels a bit more, but the wave still works when onshore a bit. The best swells are from the NW, The more West the more hollow it will be, but it will always need a bit of North in it to work. The more North in the swell the more walling it will be. Works best at mid-tide.
We recommend wearing a 5/4 here year-round. Water temps rise to 13 degrees in July before dropping to 7 in the winter. The river doesn’t help with the temp. See the temperature chart below for more data on this.