You cannot visit Cornwall without appreciating the surfing culture here, whether you’re one on of the many beaches watching the surf schools or locals, or walking down a high street browsing the surf shops, it’s hard to ignore! There are some awesome surf schools out there just waiting to get you in a wetsuit and down to the water. Here’s a few of the top spots to either watch or partake in the sport.
This is the most popular and busiest surfing location in Cornwall, but luckily there’s more than one beach. With the infamous off shore Cribbar break for big wave surfers along with a whole host of beaches in the town. Fistral beach is separated into the North and South ends and hosts a whole multitude of restaurants, cafes, surf schools and lifeguards. If you’re visiting during the summer be prepared to share the waves with hundreds of likeminded people. Towan, Tolcarne, Lusty Glaze, Porth and Watergate Bay aren’t far away if you want to escape to a slightly quieter vibe, the waves might be slightly smaller but you’ve got a much better chance of catching one!
The most popular beach break on the South Coast of Cornwall. The waves are offshore with Easterly or Northerly winds, with the best conditions being when NE. There are a number of peaks along the beach, which change depending on the tides and sand banks. The West end of the beach is lifeguarded during the summer months, and there are surf schools, shops and cafes close to the beach. The East end, sometimes known as Hendra, is quieter for surfers and the waves are sometimes bigger.
St. Ives’ top surfing spot this beach break can be very popular in large swells. The SS Alba sank off shore in the 1930’s creating a right hand barrel on the outgoing tide named ‘The Boiler’. With surf schools, restaurants and apartments right on top of the sand St. Ives is an ideal surfers spot.
A much more locals vibe of surfing, it’s not really a place encouraged to try if you’re a beginner. This beach break can be very powerful on a good swell, due to the sheltered spot it can work quite well in strong winds. In the quaint village there’s plenty of places to grab a coffee and a cake after your surf, read more here.
Our home break here at Salty Songs HQ so we may be slightly bias in saying that Gwithian is one of our favourite places to wet the surfboards. Set at the end of a 3 mile stretch of golden sands, and with its own lighthouse as a back drop what’s not to love. With waves suitable for experienced and learner surfers be sure to pay a visit on your next surf road trip.
Similar to St. Agnes in that it’s not really a beginners wave, the wave can be hollow and powerful with the right conditions and sandbanks. The waves can be busy with locals, but the village has a lovely surfing vibe to chill in, with Blue Bar right on the beach with perfect window seats to sit with a hot chocolate and wave watch.
England’s most westerly beach, this large sandy beach bears the brunt of the whole Atlantic sea. In the winter months the swells can be massive, but there is potential, along with Gwenver beach which can be accessed at low tide to the right handside of the beach. There is also a strong chance of seeing dolphins here, so keep your eyes peeled!
Arguably one of the best reef breaks in the whole of the UK! The main wave is a right hander but there are left hand peaks nearby, when the waves are ‘on’ then surfers from all over Cornwall come to surf the barrelling reef break. The waves can become very busy, and it’s only really suitable for experienced surfers, although you can watch all the action from the end of the harbour wall.
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