Outer Hebrides, windsurfing

Jamie Hancock


A story by Jamie Hancock, Timo Mullen & Jamie Hawkins

When myself and Timo are in the UK our windsurfing is often all about waiting, being patient and having commitment to the search. Last weekend we found the gold at the end of the rainbow, with the rainbow being a 14 hour drive North with a further 4 hour Cal Mac ferry crossing. Somehow it almost feels normal to drive those distances because it is what we love. The driving, the jokes, the adventure, its all part of it and the windsurfing is the icing on the cake. Don’t get me wrong, we never just drive round aimlessly hoping it will be windy, it comes from years of research and often hearsay and rumour about certain mystical spots. Sometimes you get a royal skunking and sometimes you find windsurfing utopia, which on this trip we did.


The Outer Hebrides is a special place, it gets lot of wind and swell from the low pressures sweeping across the Atlantic and offloading on the west coast of Scotland. There are remote empty beaches with incredible line ups for windsurfing and surfing everywhere. You literally get the feeling of being at a theme park with no queues and free rides all day long.


Outer Hebrides, Windsurfing

Lewis,  Hebrides


Jamie Hancock

“On this 3 day trip we scored epic windsurfing conditions everyday sailing every hour we could. We had no photographer it was just myself, Timo and ex PWA and World Champion Jamie Hawkins. It was great to travel with Jamie and hear some of his stories from back in the day. His story of being met by his sponsor at the airport and handed a £25,000 cheque for winning an event was pretty mind boggling. The contrast in professional windsurfing from then and now is incredible. And there we were, in a van, on our own, camera in hand hoping that between us we can maybe get enough photos to produce something like this. To be honest I think it shows just how windsurfing isn’t a sport for fame or money. For me it is about days like these that I wouldn’t change for anything.”


Jamie Hawkins

Jamie Hawkins


Jamie Hawkins 

“For me one of the best factors about these trips is that you are almost always alone, with just your buddies, windsurf, surfboard equipment, van, tent, food and beer. Yes we may not always be in a totally uninhabited place but generally, like on the beaches of Lewis, there was barely a soul and it is pretty isolated. There is no need to be looking over your shoulder to see if you have space to gybe or upwind to see if you have your own wave. Here you often squint or look half a mile out to see where your mates are both for comfort and for safety.   

In contrast whilst we were right up north a phone call home portrayed  20 degrees and sunshine. Everyone was sunning themselves and starting to enjoy spring/summer 2014.

The main spot we sailed was simply a world class point/ reef with logo/ mast high waves, peeling for 100’s of yards, solid wind and occasional sun and only 3 of us out, it was as close to windsurfing utopia as u can get. I would say the only thing I would have changed would be to have it a little warmer and in hindsight for me to have caught a few more waves. 

For me it is more than a windsurfing trip with ur best mates, it’s total refreshment from the normal world and something money just can’t buy. “



Timo Mullen

Timo Mullen

Timo Mullen

“I guess I’m now pretty much a veteran of travelling to the Hebrides, I’ve been coming here for the last 14 years having first got the tip off from Scotty McKercher who went there on a surf trip with the UK’s biggest Surf Magazine.  Not much has changed in those 14 years apart from maybe the surf forecasts being a little more accurate but still as unpredictable as ever!


My trips to the Outer Hebrides generally always follow the same pattern…LAST MINUTE!!!  I normally give my wife and anyone who is coming with me about 6 hours notice, as it is so far away you really want to leave the final decision on going until the last minute and the last update on any surf forecasts, that way you can ‘almost’ guarantee the conditions.  I’d say this trip was the perfect weather pattern, not too cold (6-9 degrees!!!), sunny and not too big a swell.  The conditions were maybe equal to the best I’ve ever had up there, for sure one of my top 5 trips I’ve ever had anywhere in the world!  Day 1 was a nice warm up on 4.7 and logo high, cross off on a long punchy reef break, Day 2 was sunny cross off perfection on 4.2 at the best spot on the island, pumping logo-mast high all day sailing until we literally could not hold onto the boom!  Day 3 was the biggest day, 5.0 cross/cross off mast high + with some of the longest rides any of us have ever had! The only thing we missed out on this trip was a surf session as it was pretty much windy the whole time.  We even managed to drag ourselves away from our pimp hotel on Saturday night for a sample of the local nightlife, that was pretty good craic as a night out in Stornaway has been cited as one of the most crazy nights out in the UK, lets just say its not the guys who are the most aggressive!! 


With our fill of windsurfing and the forecast for our last day not looking so windy we decided to bail the island early and catch the Cal Mac ferry back to the mainland with the prospect of a days snowboarding in the Cairngorms, the Scottish Alps!!

Normally the snowboarding in Scotland is pretty hardcore as it is normally too windy but the forecast for our session was looking perfect, a good dump of snow overnight with light winds and sunshine all day.  It really did make a perfect end to an amazing trip, if anything the pics do not do the trip justice but on this sort of mission it is the pictures that are left in your head for a lifetime that make us keep coming back for more!!”


More pictures from the Outer Hebrides


Some more info:

Kit used

Jamie Hawkins : JP Quad 82 and Starboard 100 Quad, Neil Pryde Kombat 5.0

Timo: Starboard 92 ,87 and 74 Quad and 82 Kode. Severne Blade 4.2, 4.5, 4.7 and 5.0 Blade.

Jamie Hancock: Tabou 67 Dacurve | Vandal Riots: 3.6 / 4.0 / 4.4 | Body Glove Prime 5/3mm


Ferry Travel:  Cal Mac Ferries have routes from Ullapool to Stornaway daily and also from Uig to Tarbert (If you fancy a more scenic drive through Harris and Lewis)  www.calmac.co.uk
Accomodation: We stayed at the gorgeous Royal Stornaway Hotel, www.royalstornoway.co.uk, which has excellent WiFi, food and a much needed hearty breakfast.


Photos by Jamie Hawkins, Jamie Hancock and Timo Mullen