For those in the know, Cornwall is a surfing mecca. Surfing enthusiasts from all over the world come to Cornwall because it’s got some of the wildest riptides in Europe. You don’t have to travel to California to live like the Beach Boys – just grab your swimming trunks and get down to the Cornish coast. There are hundreds of beaches and bays dotted across the region. Some are fairly mild surf spots, more suitable for beginners and some can only be conquered by the most experienced guys and girls out there.
According to Waves surf school, Cornwall’s position in the Atlantic Ocean makes it perfect for surfing. It’s got miles and miles of golden beaches, a vast array of beautiful coastal paths and a diverse natural environment. What more could a budding boarder ask for? Here’s a guide to five of the best surfing spots in Cornwall.
Watergate Bay, Newquay
Nestled quietly between Newquay and Padstow is Watergate Bay. It’s popular with summer tourists but it tends to be a lot less packed than neighbouring beaches. Surfers love it because it gets some superb peaks in the summer. It’s got 3 miles of golden sand during low tide and it’s ideal for those who’ve got a grasp on the basics, but aren’t quite ready for the thrills and spills of Porthleven beach or Sennen Cove.
Lusty Glaze, Newquay
Lusty by name, but not too lusty by nature. Lusty Glaze is actually regarded as one of the safest surfing spots in the region. If you don’t quite have the confidence to go all out just yet – try a spot of surfing at Lusty Glaze beach. It’s privately owned and home to the Adventure Centre, which offers a range of outdoor skills and lifeguard courses. It does tend to get very busy in the summer, because it is a stunning natural environment. The beach is located 200ft below a bank of cliffs, says tourist website VisitNewquay.org.
Gwithian, St Ives
This beach tends not to get as busy as Watergate or Lusty Glaze, but it’s still very impressive. It is one of the longest beaches in Cornwall, so there’s never any worry about running out of surf at this location. Gwithian is usually quite a mild surfing spot with moderate rip tides, but inexperienced surfers are advised to check in with lifeguards before they make the plunge. From time to time, Gwithian gets much larger swells and swimmers can be overwhelmed if they’re not expecting them.
Porthleven, The Lizard
Situated on Cornwall’s Lizard Peninsula, this beach is one for surfers who’ve tried all of the other hot spots in the region. Porthleven is known as a real surfers beach, a beach where only the boldest and the bravest dare to take a dip. This is the expert’s beach of choice. It is notoriously challenging and should only ever be undertaken by extremely experienced and skilled surfers, say experts at the SurfDirectory.co.uk. It is difficult, but it certainly is pulse pounding.
Sennen Cove, Land’s End
Experts tend to think of Sennen cove as ‘surf indicator.’ There’s a well known phrase attached to it – ‘if it’s flat at Sennen, it’s flat everywhere else.’ This is because Sennen seems to be one of the most accurate natural surf forecasters in Europe, say the experts at the Sennen Surf Centre. The waves here are usually quite small and manageable, but like with Gwithian beach – they can quickly become large and punchy without warning. Again, inexperienced surfers are advised to chat with lifeguards before diving in feet first. Where Can I Stay?
Don’t get all excited about the quality of Cornish rip tides just yet. You’ve got to find a place to stay before you dash off down to Cornwall with board in hand. Fortunately, there are hundreds of top quality holiday cottages available for rent in Cornwall. Some are quite expensive to rent – Cornwall is a very popular tourist destination. However, a quick online search for accommodation that’s as little as a 15 or 20 minute walk away from a town centre, might just surprise you. Prices tend to fall dramatically if you stay on the outskirts of a town, so always look for holiday cottages that are a little further out. Most are luxuriously furnished, with their own fully equipped kitchen, pool and private garden. If you’re the type of person who craves the kind of privacy that a hotel just can’t provide – why not try spending your time on holiday in a Cornwall cottage?
Photo Credit: Flickr/Guzmán Lozano