Surfing in Cornwall
Unleashing The Surfing Potential of Cornwall: A Comprehensive Guide
Situated on the southwest tip of England, Cornwall offers a surfing experience that combines unrivalled natural beauty with some of the UK's best waves. With a coastline that stretches over 400 miles, it's no wonder that surfers worldwide are drawn to its enchanting beaches. This comprehensive guide explores everything you need to know about surfing in Cornwall, from top surf spots to when to visit and where to stay.
The Magic of Cornwall Surfing
To truly appreciate surfing in Cornwall, one must understand the allure of this unique region. Framed by the Atlantic Ocean, Cornwall, as the most southwesterly point of the UK, is blessed with an abundance of swell. Moreover, its mild climate and diverse coastline make it an ideal destination for surfers of all skill levels.
Its north coast, caressed by the Bristol Channel, boasts legendary surfing spots, while the south coast stretches along the English Channel, leading to Devonshire’s charming beaches. This contrast between the two coasts provides an exciting array of surfing opportunities, whether you’re a seasoned pro or a novice eager to ride your first wave.
Best Surfing Spots in Cornwall
One of the key attractions of Cornwall is the variety of surfing spots, each offering its unique surfing conditions.
Arguably the heart of Cornwall’s surfing scene, North Cornwall houses some of the most famous spots like Newquay, Bude, and Polzeath.
Bude: Home to Summerleaze Beach, this is a great spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. The winter beach breaks can be fierce, but it turns into a friendly beginner’s area by spring.
Polzeath: Known for its approachable waves and large lineups, it is one of the best surf spots for families and beginners.
Trevone: Sheltered from the full power of the Atlantic, Trevone is perfect for midwinter storm days, offering decent fat waves.
Newquay: With some of the most reliable beaches around, Newquay is the self-proclaimed wave capital of the county. Fistral Beach and Towan Beach are must-visit spots here.
While less known for its surf, South Cornwall offers some beautiful and rewarding spots like Marazion and Praa Sands.
Marazion: Offering a surf beach that’s a bit fickle, it can surprise you with its sets, especially in winter.
Praa Sands: Known for its golden sand and fun beach break, it’s one of the best surf spots on the south coast.
When to Surf in Cornwall
The best time to go surfing in Cornwall depends on your experience level. Beginners might find the summer months (June-August) more appealing when the waves are manageable and the weather is warm. However, for seasoned surfers seeking bigger swells, the autumn and winter months (September-February) could be perfect. The sea temperature varies from 8°C to 16°C throughout the year.
Staying in Cornwall: 8 Surf Lodges and Hotels
Accommodation in Cornwall caters to every budget and preference, from charming cottages to modern hotels. Some top options include Fistral Surf for stunning views over Fistral Beac
Oceanside Lifestyle Hotel in Newquay for a bohemian vibe.
Overlooking Fistral Beach in Newquay, the Oceanside Lifestyle Hotel boasts sea views. The hotel is within a 10-minute walk from Newquay town centre. Click here to see or book.
Blue Wave near Fistral beach
Set in Perranporth and only 500 metres from Perranporth Beach, Blue Waves offers accommodation with sea views. Click here to see or book.
The Old Dairy at Land’s End
For a cosy stay near the fantastic Sennen breaks and a 9.6 (!) in booking.com. Click here to see or book
Widemouth Bay Home
This modern home has four bedrooms and sleeps up to eight people; perfect for a surfing trip to Cornwall with friends.
The property is a five-minute walk from the beach and comes with decking, a garden, and a barbeque, so you can enjoy those sweet Cornwall evenings after a day’s surf. Click here to book.
Anchor Cottage Porthleven
The beautiful Anchor Cottage is a traditional fisherman’s cottage in Porthleven on the south coast and is the perfect place to for surfers to stay.
Two Onshore – Newquay
This stunning luxury two-bedroom apartment is located right in the center of Newquay with everything you could possibly need right on the doorstep.
It’s a short walk to Fistral, Towan, and other Newquay beaches; making it the ideal spot for keen surfers. The property comes with an outside tap which you’ll appreciate for being able to hose down after a day of riding waves. Click here to find out more.
Polzeath Beach House
This stylish new hotel (opened in 2020) is located a two-minute walk away from Polzeath beach making it the perfect option for surfers. All rooms come with an en-suite wetroom with a walk-in shower – just what you’ll need to wash of the sand from a day at the beach.
The onsite Atlantic Bar and Restaurant is a great place to kick back and relax after hitting Polzeath’s excellent surf, and has a beautiful terrace with spectacular sea views.
Although this hotel wasn’t open when I was last in Polzeath, I’ll certainly be staying here on my next visit. Click here to book.
This gorgeous ocean-front apartment is a stone’s throw from Perranporth’s surfing beach and has incredible views of the coastline.
The property sleeps two people and contains everything you need for your surfing holiday in Perranporth, including an incredible private decking for guests to take in the surroundings. Click here to find out more.
Getting Prepared: Essential Tips
Before embarking on your surfing journey in Cornwall, it’s essential to prepare and take note of a few key tips.
Safety First: While surfing is exciting, it can be hazardous, particularly during strong swells. Always check the local weather and surf conditions. Pay attention to lifeguard flags and signage on beaches and never surf alone if you’re a beginner.
Etiquette: Remember that surfing etiquette is essential. Don’t drop in on another surfer’s wave, respect the locals, and always help others if they’re in trouble.
Surfing Lessons: If you’re new to surfing, Cornwall has plenty of surf schools where you can learn the basics. They are often located in popular areas such as Newquay and Polzeath.
The Right Gear: Ensure you have the right gear for your surf trip. The water temperature in Cornwall can be chilly, particularly outside the summer months, so a good quality wetsuit is a must.
The Wave, Bristol
While Cornwall is filled with natural surfing opportunities, technology has opened up a new way to enjoy the sport: artificial wave pools. If the Atlantic is flat or you’re looking to try something new, consider heading to The Wave in Bristol, just a two-hour drive from the border of Cornwall. You can book in for beginner lessons or choose a session without lessons. It’s a unique experience and a chance to enjoy perfect waves, whatever the weather.
Whether you’re a seasoned pro searching for the perfect wave or a beginner looking to experience the thrill of surfing for the first time, Cornwall offers something for everyone. Its beautiful coastline, consistent waves, and welcoming surf community make it one of the top surfing destinations in the UK. It’s not just about the waves, though. Cornwall’s charming towns, historical sites, and outstanding natural beauty make it a fantastic destination for a holistic holiday experience.
Surf Shops in Cornwall
No surfing trip is complete without a visit to a local surf shop. Cornwall is full of them, providing everything you need from boards, wetsuits to surf accessories. Top picks include Down the Line Surf Co., Sunset Surf, Boardwalk Surf Shop, Ann’s Cottage Surf Shops, and Wavelength Surf Magazine in St Ives.
In addition to equipment, these shops often provide valuable local knowledge on where and when to surf, especially if you’re new to the region.