With the Atlantic Ocean providing Cornwall with some of the best surfing conditions in Europe, it isn’t hard to see why the county remains a popular destination throughout the year for many surfers seeking the best breaks and rides available.
But which are the best beaches in Cornwall to head to when seeking out some surf?
Below is a list of our favourites for great surfing in Cornwall.
Due to the swell that the Atlantic constantly hurls at Gwithian, the surf here rarely goes flat, making it a popular spot for surfers of all abilities. When heading into the water it is handy to find that the further you move down the beach towards Godrevy, the bigger the waves you’ll discover – making it easy to find the right level of surf for your ability. In addition, owing to the gentle slope of the beach, the waves form far slower here giving you more time to get to your feet and enjoy the ride.
Parking is available with a path leading from the car park down to the beach.
With a 3-mile stretch of beach, there’s plenty of space to enjoy at Perranporth - whether relaxing on the sand or heading into the sea. Very popular with surfers of all abilities, the waves here are suitable for learners up to advanced surfers – with the waves reaching up to 6ft before the rips become too strong.
Parking is available with the beach to one side and the village to the other, with all three becoming very busy during the summer months. It is also essential that surfers are aware of the strong rips here that can cause problems.
Offering consistent surf all year round, Watergate Bay is a popular place to surf in Cornwall for all levels of surfer.
The waves are often powerful but not too imposing, with the surf becoming messier the bigger it becomes. Watch out for rips at both the west and eastern sides of the beach.
It is also wise to be aware that parking can be limited during the busy summer period when the beach becomes a favoured destination for many.
Situated just west of Padstow, Harlyn beach offers surfers in Cornwall options when big winds and waves mean the surf is inaccessible at other locations across the county. Waves can rise to 6ft here at mid tide, however it’s best to leave the water when high tide brings with it regressive rips and other challenges.
The bigger waves can be found towards the east side of the beach, although they can be inconsistent.
(Photo credit: Lee Gardner. License)
One of the longest beaches in the South West, Whitsand offers plenty of peaks for beginners and intermediate surfers in Cornwall.
Requiring a strong south west to west swell in order to gain a bit more power, at high tide when the beach breaks into multiple smaller bays you’ll often see more advanced surfers hitting the water in the race for a great wave.
Access to Whitsand Bay can be tricky with narrow, steep paths leading down from the parking areas.
A small west facing beach, Crooklets offers the best surf when south east or east winds are blowing with waves reaching up to 6ft. Suitable for surfers of all abilities including beginners, with a great choice of rideable waves. However, the infamous shore break that can take place during high tide is something to watch out for - breaking straight onto the pebble beach in front of the Bude Surf Lifesaving Club.
Due to its close proximity to Bude town centre the beach can become crowded, especially at high tide.
As one of the most consistent surf spots in the UK, Sennen offers up great surf all year round due to its exposure to the Atlantic Ocean. The north end of the beach offers the more powerful waves, reaching up to 6ft - whilst towards the south end you’ll find the surf is less steep and powerful, making it ideal for beginners.
Parking is available, with easy access to the beach.
Home to the Rip Curl Boardmasters’ competition as well as many other international surf competitions, Fistral Beach offers great waves all year round, attracting surfers of all levels.
More challenging waves can be found here for advanced surfers, whilst beginners have plenty to tackle too. However owing to its massive popularity the beach can become hugely crowded during the summer months, being one of the busiest beaches in the country.
Parking for 200 cars is available. Alternatively the beach is a 20 minute walk from town.
Boasting powerful surf that favours any tide, Porthtowan is favoured by many surfers of all levels and abilities. A great place for a surfing holiday in Cornwall with choices of accommodation nearby, two car parks are also available just behind the beach.
If you’re looking for more challenging waves then high peaks can often be found at the southern side of the beach, sought out by more experienced surfers in Cornwall.
Another popular place during the summer, Porthtowan can become very crowded during the peak months but does offer plenty of space to surf during autumn and winter.
Not one to be tried by any but the most advanced surfers seeking an adrenaline fuelled ride.
Whilst it may be the most challenging surf spot in Cornwall, it’s argued that Porthleven does offer the ‘best right hand break in the UK’, occasionally providing the perfect tubing wave on an extremely clear day.
Mistakes are definitely not an option here with many dangers associated with taking to the waves. Advanced surfers like to paddle along the harbour channel to get to the reef, which works before mid to high tide.
This really is not for the faint hearted however and certainly not one to tackle unless you are an extremely advanced and capable surfer.
When it comes to surfing in Cornwall, there are plenty of beautiful beaches to choose from, each offering its own unique advantages and challenges. If you’re thinking about venturing down for a surfing holiday in Cornwall, then why not take a look through the different places to stay that are available around the county?