Top Cornwall Surfing Spots

Published May 6th, 2020 Top Cornwall Surfing Spots Published in: Sports

Cornwalls lies on a long peninsula, with an incredible and dramatic coastline stretching for more than 400 miles, the longest coastline in the country.

With more than 200 beaches dotted around the coast there is no shortage to choose from. North Cornwall is home to sweeping expanses of golden sand bays that is pummelled by giant Atlantic waves, creating swells and the perfect surfing conditions. For that reason many of best surfing beaches are located on the north end but, there are some excellent ones on the south coast also.

There is no shortage of epic and reliable surf spots and if you speak to the locals and they will give you their preferred surfing destinations. However, being the helpful team we are, we wanted to let you know some of our favourite surf spots. Surfing is an essential past time in Cornwall.

For the best surfing destinations grab your board and get to these amazing spots. Nothing beats the exhilaration of riding a perfect, glassy wave. The joy of surfing is that no two waves are ever the same. Come and perfect your technique in this surfing mecca.

Constantine, Padstow

It has a reputation as one of the best surfing beaches in Cornwall. Constantine is probably not the best spot for beginners, it is more suited to the highly experienced surfer. It is an exposed beautiful big beach, with a sweeping arc. The main beach, is named Booby's Bay and the Slab, a reef break is popular with body boarders. The reef break here is very reliable, with top quality waves all year round. Waves at the beach break both left and right and there is also a left hand reef break. Providing good surf at all stages of the tide. In the middle of the bay at high tide is a good peak producing rights and lefts with fast and sucky waves. When the surf is up, it can get quite busy in the water.

There are numerous hazards here, reefs, rips, beach shelves quickly at high tide and the breakers are huge. Watch out for dangerous rips and there is an overhead swell. Not for the faint hearted.

Constantine is suitable for experienced surfers.

Fistral Beach, Newquay

Probably Cornwall's best surfing beach with its consistent quality waves together with the ability to hold a big swell, creating a great spot for surfing and body boarding. This beach caters to both beginners and experienced surfers. A wide sandy beach, with large Atlantic swells providing consistent waves throughout the year, and a beach break peak that occasionally gets epic, can be rippy when overhead. Always busy so can get crowded.

There are good surfing waves through all states of tides, producing powerful, hollow waves.

The northern end of the beach is more popular with advanced surfers, the sand banks here provide steeper faster waves with peaks that break left and right. Beginners can make use of middle to the southern end which is slightly sheltered resulting in right hand breaking waves.

Advanced surfers can be seen jumping off the rocks on Pentire headland to avoid paddling out.

Englands only big wave spot, the legendary Cribbar is strictly for very experienced surfers only, it is extremely dangerous to surf or swim here. The wave here is unpredictable and only appears with high swells and breaks extremely close to a combination of rocks and inlets. A real challenge to the best surfers.

Fistral is home to a number of National and International surfing competitions during the year. Lots of surf schools here so can enjoy a surf lesson and then enjoy the lively atmosphere of the beach and all its facilities.

Fistral Beach is suited to all level of surfer from beginner to professional.

Godrevy, Near Hayle

Godrevy Beach is an exposed expanse of beach and backed by a large area of sand dunes, it is another popular surf haunt owing to its consistent surf, it can work throughout the year. It does not have too powerful waves but works through most tides. Although at low tide the waves can pack a punch, producing a fast hollow wave. Peak shifts around so that everyone gets some. It is known for being a soft breaking wave therefore being good for learner surfers. A disadvantage here is conditions do tend to be affected by any winds coming from the west, the waves are best when the wind is from east to south east, as there is no shelter here. However, with the right conditions the waves can be epic with long left and right handers.

It picks up a lot of the incoming tidal swell from the Atlantic, and is known for its clean up sets they literally come from nowhere and have a tendency to catch surfers out. The peak also moves about a lot, so you have the choice to chase it or simply sit and wait for the wave of the day to come and find you. The waves give long rides and there is plenty of space for cutbacks and turns.

Godrevy has a gentle sloping nature causing the waves to break a long way from the shore so there can be a long paddle out. There can be dangerous rips.

It does have a tendency to catch weird forms of surf craft like kayaks and goat boats. You can often find yourself surfing alongside local seals.

Godrevy is suitable for surfers of all abilities.

Perranport Beach, West Of Newquay

A popular surfing hotspot but with its massive expanses of sand does not feel too busy, with three miles of golden sands there is room for everyone. The waves are consistent on a good day owing to a rip tide. The best waves here tend to be at the Penhale end and at low tide. Although, the beach picks up plenty of swell providing a number of uncrowded peaks which function well at most tides. There are generally big enough waves to surf throughout the summer. When the conditions are just right it gives some of the best surf in the UK. Rips can be a problem here, present at either end of the beach so be aware.

Home to The Watering Hole, the only pub in the UK found on a beach.

Perranporth Beach is suitable for beginners as well as experienced surfers.

Polzeath Beach, Padstow

This is a popular hotspot for tourists so can get quite crowded in the summer months. You will find the waves are a bit smaller and weaker here than other exposed beaches, this is owing to the gradually shelving beach. Prevalent here are constant, slow, intermediate-friendly walls that fan out along the beach as well as to the north. There are moderate right breaks off Pentire Point at size.

Outer banks on either side of Polzeath Beach do appeal to the more experienced surfer in the quest of larger peaks when an imposing swell is rolling in, but honestly this is a beach offering tranquil surf conditions.

There are plenty of facilities surrounding the beach after you are finished in the water.

Polzeath Beach is most suited to beginners and intermediaries.

Porthleven, Near Helston

Not the best destination in the summer, a swell from the south is required to liven the waters here. Not really one for the beginners either but will keep seasoned surfers entertained. The reef break generates plenty of power, with hollow waves and the deep channel can maintain up to 12ft waves.

For the perfect waves it requires a big westerly swell along with a north-easterly breeze, which does not happen very often. The best waves are from mid to high tide, it is dangerously shallow at low tide, must be over 4ft to break clear of the rocks.

Hazards here are the rocks.

Porthleven is a fantastic place for competent surfers ride the waves.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

A beautiful beach with golden sands and turquoise waters, it is a stunning surf destination. It has more shelter than other beaches along the north coast and picks up a good swell resulting in smaller waves. There can be a number of flat days in the summer however, there will be some swell, so is safe for those new to surfing.

Offshore southerly winds throw in good punchy lefts and rights all through the tide.

Porthmeor is suitable for beginners and intermediaries.

Porthtowan Beach

This has to be one of the most consistent spots along the north coast, and is further west from Perranporth. Featuring sand banks it is home to steeper and heavier waves, that are more suited to capable surfers. When the sand bars line up it can produce an excellent tubing wave at all stages of the tide. The waves here appear to provide additional power compared to other spots, you will find them to be fast, sucky and hollow on a good day. If the wind is south-easterly it tends to rush forward to the valley and delivers good off-shore winds which maintains steep waves.

Beware it rips when over 3ft.

Porthtowan beach is suitable for intermediary to proficient surfers.

Praa Sands Beach, Helston

Although on the south coast, Praa Sands offers everything needed for top surfing conditions. With a large expanse of golden sands bordered by rugged headlands at either end. Head to the west end for the best surf. The waves break over sand but are classy and fast with a tubular beach break. Producing a fast hollow and punchy wave which is especially good at high tide. The best waves are during mid to high tide when you can get a powerful, fun wave that breaks near to the beach. Can be rippy at low tide.

When the surf is good here there will be multiple peaks the full length of the beach.

Praa Sands is suitable for all level of surfer from beginner to competent.

Sennen Beach, Near Land's End

Is a peaceful cove and a little further afield that other options but, is well worth travelling the extra distance. A beautiful glorious golden sandy beach with crystal clear waters awaits you here. Being exposed the waves are some of the most consistent around. The beach break works left and right and caters to most abilities. It does not get as busy as some other surf spots so that is a big bonus. The beach picks up any swell from the Atlantic, so generally has waves during the summer months.

The South end of the beach is sheltered by the break water producing smaller waves, they are less steep and with less power so are more suited to beginners. The waves here are generally smaller and faster. Whereas the North end collects more swell creating more power for the more advanced surfers, waves here can reach 6ft high.

Beware of the occasional rip.

Sennen is suitable for beginners through to top surfers.

Stay Safe

Make sure to never surf alone. The sea warms during the year so it tends to be warmer later in the year, December can be as warm as May, so you can surf all year round, just make sure to wear the correct wetsuit teamed with boots. Autumn is a great time to go surfing, the beaches are much quieter and the waters are still nice and warm. Tides make a difference to surfing conditions so best to know these before you head out, so you get a swell size suited to your ability.

Now go have some fun and enjoy the waves.