Make the most of Shetland's exhaustive coastline with an adrenaline-fuelled surf or a paddle to undiscovered beaches and inlets.


Shetland might not be renowned for its surf scene, but being exposed to swells from both the Atlantic and the North Sea, it can offer enjoyable surfing when conditions are right. The best locations for northerly barrels are in the south of the islands, close to Sumburgh Airport or at nearby Quendale or Boddam.


Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) has become increasingly popular in recent years and Shetland is an ideal spot to do it when the conditions are right. Tip: choose a relatively calm day or you'll be thrown all over the place! As with kayaking, there are lots of caves, inlets and islands to explore around the coastline, as well as plenty of freshwater lochs.

Just remember, weather conditions can change quickly in Shetland so remember to wear a life jacket, tell someone where you're going and when you plan on coming back.

I launched my board at Heylor and paddled up the east side, crossed the mouth of the Voe – keeping my eye out for a pod of Orcas that had been sighted earlier that day – and back down the west side. There are some amazing stacks, geos and caves to be explored and if the weather is very good it is possible to paddle around to the Lang Ayre, one of Shetland's finest beaches.

Ryan Leith
Ryan Leith