About Sandside Bay

With Dounreay Nuclear Power Station playing backdrop to this walling left, it is a relief to those who surf here that Sandside is not the main 'North Shore' attraction. However, when large westerly swells are accompanied by Thurso East-wrecking westerly winds, this spot's beauty really shines through as a firing port in an otherwise unsurfable storm. Take-off near the old harbor and a quality, hollow left will unwind all the way to the beach. Small crowds brave the radioactive warnings posted by the break.

Source: Sandside Bay Surf Guide

Ability Level


Beg Int Adv

Shallow reef so best for those with more experience.

Local Vibe


Welcoming Intimidating


Crowd Factor


Mellow Heavy

Usually quiet.

Spot Rating


Poor Perfect

The lefts here can be excellent - hollow, or long reeling walls. Needs a big swell to work, usually a go to in a blowy westerly storm.

Shoulder Burn


Light Exhausting

Can be a slog when swells pick up.

Water Quality


Clean Dirty

Signs advise kids not to dig here because of nuclear 'particles' so...

Additional Information


Radioactive particles have been found on the beach here!


Park close to harbour.

Bring Your

Shortboard, fish, longboard, bodyboard


Flat reef with sand.

Best Season

December - February

Swell Consistency and Wind Overview

Photos & Videos