Tides of adventure

Date Posted: 6 Jun 2024

You don’t have to travel far in Cornwall to get your surfing fix in one of the county’s beautiful beaches and coves.

Although the North Coast tends to dominate, there are plenty of great places on the South Coast too.

Newquay is often referred to as the Surf Capital of the UK – a title it carries with pride.

Tom, from the Fistral Beach Surf School said: “Newquay is known to be the home of British Surfing due to its history of major surfing competitions such as the Boardmasters and National events.”

 He has the following tips for beginners:

  • Check the surf forecast! 
  • Make sure you look at a surf forecast site before your surf or talk to the local surf school/ lifeguards for advice. 
  • Make sure you have the right equipment. 
  • As a beginner you want a foam board with a lot of volume to help you catch waves and balance on the board.
  • When surfing for the first time try not to over think the standing up or put too much pressure on yourself. 
Fistful Beach, Newquay

Tom from Fistral Beach Surf School said: “Fistral faces out towards the west so it gets the most swell from the Atlantic ocean which makes the surf consistent and rarely flat. It’s perfect for beginners to advanced surfers and is thought of as the best surfing spot in the British Isles.” The beautiful sandy beaches make it look even more picturesque and it attracts a lot of visitors every year.

Sennen Cove Beach

Just under a mile from Lands End, Sennen Beach is one of Cornwall’s most stunning beaches – and a great place to surf too. Dave Muir, Head Coach and Owner at Sennen Surfing Centre said: “Sennen is one of the most unique beaches in the UK.

The waves get bigger as you head towards the furthest part of the cove which allows surfers to choose the wave size.

It also has beautiful clear water and relatively uncrowded waves compared to many Cornish beaches.”

Widemouth Bay, Bude

Widemouth Bay on the North Coast is a large stunning beach and very popular with surfers – meaning it does get very busy during peak season. Because of its slightly sheltered position, the waves are slightly smaller and less powerful making it an ideal bay for beginners and intermediate surfers. More advanced surfers tend to head along the beach to Black Rock – which joins Widemouth – to take advantage of the hollow and powerful reef break that makes for BIG waves.

Crackington Haven

Beautiful Crackington Haven has a reasonably consistent surf and offers ideal conditions throughout the year – with the spring being particularly good. Because of its location there is a lot of shelter from the wind and the waves are usually pretty clean, even on windy days. It is pretty rocky so it’s best at low to mid-tide when the rocks aren’t such a problem.

Trevone, Padstow

Don’t let Trevone’s beauty lure you into thinking it’s an easy surf. It has a vicious rock formation known as Round Hole on the eastern side of the beach and isn’t suitable for beginners – due to those pesky rocks and the powerful rip on the northern end of the beach. The waves can be pretty good from low to mid tide if you know what you’re doing – and during the summer it’s a bodyboarder’s paradise.

Watergate Bay

Watergate Bay hosts the English National Surfing Championships with Surfing England each year which has seen the bay become more and more popular throughout the year. Surfers enjoy the fact that it works on most tides although the best waves are found at mid to high tide. Apparently the wedgey peaks and light winds consistently make the conditions ideal. It does get busy, but as the beach is so vast, there is usually room for all.



With its rugged cliffs, white sands and turquoise waters, Porthcurno, which is just a ten minute walk from The Minack Theatre, is one of the most photogenic beaches in the county. It’s pretty flat in the summer but during the winter the southwest swells produce hollow waves making for a quality break for surfers and bodyboarders.

Mawgan Porth


Locals love Mawgan Porth, because tourists tend to travel up the road to Watergate Bay and Fistral Beach so it’s often wonderfully quiet. It’s consistently good all year round – but due to its swell magnet status it can be treacherous if you don’t know what you’re doing. Siobhan, who’s head of operations at KingSurf Surf School said: “Mawgan Porth is great for surfing as you can surf at any tide, it tends to pick up more swell when the other nearby beaches are small and/or flat because of the direction it faces. Although it is suitable for all levels, beginners would just stay in the white water.” 

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives


Porthmeor Beach is one of the few beaches in Cornwall that is both sheltered from the predominant South Westerly winds and still receives a lot of swell. This gives consistent clean conditions when most other places are either messy or flat.

Ben, who’s the assistant manager at St Ives Surf School said: “St Ives is also the centre point betweenSennen/Gwenver, Gwithian/Godrevey, Praa Sands and the fabled reefs of Porthleven, all of which work on different winds/swell conditions, ensuring that you can usually find a good wave on any given day. More than anywhere else, St Ives is the ideal base for a surfing holiday.”

Crooklets Beach, Bude


Crooklets Beach is a popular surfing spot and because of the variety of waves, it attracts all levels and has earned the nickname the ‘Bondi of Britain’. Gill from the Big Blue Surf School said: “Cornwall is not like most well known surfing destinations worldwide and like most of the UK is at the mercy of the unpredictable North Atlantic. Bude has the benefit of its geographical position to enhance smaller conditions, and its physical location, situated within a harbour with a breakwater, to deal with larger and more drastic swells providing a sheltered surf break in such conditions.”

Related Adventure, Sport & Lifestyle Activities, Cornwall Watersports, Surfing in Cornwall