If you see a VW carrying a surfboard on the Isle of Wight you can be fairly confident that the driver is a) called Brad and b) heading to Compton Bay.
You will struggle to find a glossy brochure on the ferry which doesn't recommend that beach as place to go for surf.
I would generally say the same and gave the same lazy bit of advice in our guide to the best Isle of Wight beach for...
A few weeks ago though my life changed forever... in Shanklin. Well, not quite, but it is a piece of advice worth passing on.
The surf forecast told me that Compton Bay was flat as a steam rolled pancake for the next week so we gave up on body boarding and decided to have a serene swim in Shanklin which has better facilities for little ones (toilets, indoor play, amusements, mini golf).
With my bodyboard sat in the garage at home I was more than a little disappointed to see big waves on the beach at Shanklin. There was no sign of Brad or any of his surfing friends either.
And so we had an entertaining swim, trying to avoid being knocked over by the enthusiastic waves and unsure if we should be enjoying ourselves or just be annoyed that we didn't bring the bodyboards.
A friend once told be that when the surf was poor at Compton it was often good at Sandown or Shanklin. I'd sort of ignored his advice as it hadn't seen it for myself.
Anyway, I've now added a link to the Shanklin surf report to our surf forecast page, and next time I'll pack my bodyboard.
Isle of Wight Guru's Blog