Classic Devon adventures

The water surges around your kayak…the swell lifts you, drops you onto a rock then suddenly retreats. You’re scarily unbalanced and more water is rolling in. ‘Paddle!’ shouts the instructor. ‘Which way?!’ you call. ‘Doesn’t matter – just move!’

You lean forward, dig the paddle into the water, the blade glancing off rock, repeat on the other side and you’re floating clear. Heart thudding, grinning, eyes wide

The water surges around your kayak…the swell lifts you, drops you onto a rock then suddenly retreats. You’re scarily unbalanced and more water is rolling in. ‘Paddle!’ shouts the instructor. ‘Which way?!’ you call. ‘Doesn’t matter – just move!’

You lean forward, dig the paddle into the water, the blade glancing off rock, repeat on the other side and you’re floating clear. Heart thudding, grinning, eyes wide

Sea Kayak Salcombe’s trips include the 2 mile Gara Rock Classic paddle; the Rock Hopper (powering into gullies and surf); and a two-day Discover Devon expedition. On this you paddle around 15 miles a day and wild camp; some kayaking experience is preferable. Salcombe itself is a chic sailing port, framed by sandy bays and packed with places to eat and stay.

On the north coast, Exmoor Adventures offers sea kayaking trips along a shoreline of dramatic cliffs.

Surfing and bodyboarding

Croyde is Devon’s mini Maui – a cheerful, chilled village on the north coast where thatched roofs peep out over ranks of wetsuits and surf boards. Here a dune-backed stretch of sand faces a powerful Atlantic swell. Add ancient inns, cool surfer hangouts and green-field campsites and you have a magnet for wave riders. When conditions are right, the surf at Croyde is superb – it’s Devon’s most powerful, consistent beach break, offering peaks, walls and barrels. Learning here will see you paddling out to the line up, catching waves and experiencing the addictive exhilaration (eventually, however fleetingly) of standing up to ride one in.