Let me admit straight away that I have never actually surfed. I know, I know, how can I call myself a Cornish girl if I’ve never tried surfing? I do body board though. Not as much as I would like to these days, mainly due to being situated near the south coast; you need the north coast, where Cornwall meets the Atlantic Ocean, for decent waves.
Based on childhood memories and popular opinion, here are my suggestions of the best beaches in Cornwall to catch some waves.
Bude is great for anyone living in East Cornwall who’s looking for a bit of wave action. Bude has a massive beach with a sea pool and the sea is popular with surfers. A beloved tourist destination, Bude has lots of cafés and restaurants which are great for refuelling after an energetic day in the sea.
One of the best known surfing beaches in the UK, Fistral beach in Newquay can produce swells of up to 8ft. Home to the Boardmasters surf competition, which has become a popular music festival, Newquay is very busy during the summer. The waves here can be a bit daunting for newbies; I have memories of clinging onto my bodyboard for dear life, trying to dodge people as the forceful waves sent me flying towards the shoreline.
My favourite beach from childhood, Perranporth is a vast beach with its own bar next to the sand dunes. Always packed with people in the summer months, you can guarantee some fun wave action here. There’s plenty of space for the surfers and body boarders; it doesn’t get as chaotic as Newquay. When you’ve had enough of the sea, why not explore some of the caves and rock pools or enjoy a pint at The Watering Hole bar?
This is a quaint little seaside village but don’t let that deceive you: Porthtowan produces some pretty epic waves. This was a popular spot for me and my dad when we used to go body boarding after school/work. We would catch as many waves as possible – often the waves are surprisingly fast here – until we were really hungry and then head to the Blue Bar for some amazing food.
Situated near Hayle, Gwithian is perfect for anyone living or staying in the Penzance or St Ives area. A beautiful beach with soft dunes, Gwithian has a very long stretch of sand so the waves vary in size along the beach. This beach can be effected by strong winds, so sometimes the conditions are better for windsurfers.
Finally, always surf or body board at a beach that’s manned by lifeguards; Cornwall can get some very strong and unexpected rip tides, check tide times and surf forecasts before you head off and, most importantly, have fun!
Do you agree? Which Cornish beaches do you surf at?