Surfing in Cornwall: 18 best surf beaches & breaks

Are you planning on going surfing in Cornwall? Take a look at our guide, which covers the best beaches, where to stay and surf schools in the region.

If it wasn’t for the source of the River Tamar being six miles from the north coast of Cornwall, the region would be an island. 

Sitting at the bottom of Britain, a finger-like shape protruding from Devon, Cornwall (or Kernow, as it’s called in the local lingo) is renowned for its beautiful beaches and dramatic cliffs. 

This coastline is so rugged thanks to years of being battered by Atlantic waves. And, any surfer knows what that means – surfing in Cornwall is incredible. 

On a global scale, it’s a bit of an underrated surf destination, but any UK traveller knows that Cornwall’s waves are something to shout about. 

My family is Cornish, and I live just over the border in Devon (which is also an excellent surfing destination!), so I’ve spent a fair chunk of my life in Cornwall.

So, here’s my full guide to surfing in Cornwall, including which beaches to head to, links to book surf lessons, what towns are best to stay in for surfing, surf camps and when to book your holiday!

Is surfing in Cornwall good?

Girl standing on beach with surfboard near St Ives, Cornwall


If you look at a map of Cornwall, you’ll see that the north coast, which gently moves further south, directly meets the Atlantic Ocean.

If you were to swim in a straight line, the first land you’d meet is the east coast of Newfoundland, some 3772 km or 2344 miles to the west.

This is why the coastline here is so jagged, and why there are frequent storms (particularly during winter). 

It also means that Cornwall has some of the best surfing in Europe!

If you’re a surfer, then Cornwall is definitely a destination you should consider.

With over 300 miles of coastline, Cornwall has some of the best surfing spots in the UK.

The county is known for its consistent waves and beautiful beaches, making it a popular destination for surfers of all levels.

One of the great things about surfing in Cornwall is that there is something for everyone, regardless of your level of experience.

Cornwall’s beaches offer a variety of waves, from gentle rollers to powerful barrels: so whether you’re a beginner or an experienced surfer, you’ll find a spot that suits your ability!

Another reason why surfing in Cornwall is so popular is the stunning scenery.

The coastline is dotted with picturesque fishing villages, rugged cliffs and sandy beaches with crystal-clear water, making it a beautiful place to surf.

When to surf in Cornwall

Of course, despite Cornwall having great surf, the water is decidedly chilly here year-round. 

Last year, I went for a swim at Porthgwarra Beach near Land’s End and it was absolutely freezing – and this is from somebody who frequently swims at Exmouth Beach, which is only 100 miles away (but is in the English Channel). 

To make Cornish surfing seem like an even chillier experience, the waves are at their biggest in the winter months – which calls for a very thick wetsuit – the average sea temperature in January is a chilly 8.5°C (47°F for my American friends!). 

However, that doesn’t mean that that’s the only time you can go surfing.

In fact, the waves are so big in the winter season that they’re only really recommended for surfing pros

If you’re an intermediate, surfing in spring and autumn could be a solution – the waves aren’t quite as gnarly as the winter, but they have a bit more oomph than the summer.

The water temperature usually sits at around 13°C, so still pretty chilly – you’ll need that wetsuit. 

To be honest, you’ll probably still need a wetsuit in the summer season, as water temperatures reach a maximum of around 17°C.

Waves are flatter in the summer, but certainly suitable for beginners. 

Best surfing beaches in Cornwall

One of the most popular surfing spots in Cornwall is Fistral Beach.

Located in Newquay, Fistral Beach is known for its consistent quality waves and ability to hold a big swell. It’s a great spot for surfers of all levels, with plenty of surf schools and shops nearby.

If you’re looking for a challenge, head to The Cribbar, Cornwall’s premiere reef break. While it may not be ideal for beginners, it can keep the pros entertained.

Other spots, many of which are beginner-friendly, include Praa Sands Beach, Widemouth Bay and Porthmeor in St Ives. 

Widemouth Bay Beach

beach in Widemouth Bay, North Cornwall, England

One of the first beaches that you’ll come to in northeast Cornwall, Widemouth Bay Beach, sitting just west of Bude, is a surfing hotspot

The expansive beach stretches for two miles along the coastline, with cliffs on either side. 

You’ll see people in the water here most times of day, and the entire place has a decided surfer’s vibe to it, with a beach cafe and plenty of surf schools.

On a sunny day, it almost makes me feel like I’m on the East Coast of Australia

OA Surf Club offer a range of surf classes for all abilities, with equipment provided. 

Crooklets Beach

Crooklets beach at Bude in North Cornwall, England, UK

Crooklets Beach is located in Bude and is a popular surfing spot on the north coast of Cornwall. 

One of the best surf spots in the northeast of the Duchy, Crooklets is quite small but has hefty waves that’ll impress beginners and advanced surfers alike. 

Crooklets is most well-known for a right-hand break that gives a hollow wave just before and after low tide. 

But don’t worry if you’re new to the sport – the beach is also home to the Bude Surf Lifesaving Club!

It’s also within walking distance to Bude, where you’ll find restaurants, shops and bars – it’s one of my favourite surf towns in Cornwall. 

Watergate Bay 

On the coast path overlooking the golden sandy beach at Watergate Bay near Newquay Cornwall England UK Europe

You can’t talk about surfing in Cornwall and not mention Watergate Bay – it’s where Boardmasters, UK’s premier surfing festival, is held each year! 

This lush sandy beach is constantly buzzing with holidaymakers throughout the summer months, giving the town a relaxed vibe. 

When it comes to surf, Watergate Bay works on more or less any tide (which is partially why the beach town is so popular!), although the best waves are usually mid or high-tide. 

If you’re a beginner or improver, it’s definitely better to do a lesson – Blue Surf School provides excellent lessons with knowledgeable staff. 

Crantock Beach

Crantock bay and beach North Cornwall England UK near Newquay with waves in spring and yellow gorse

The National Trust-owned Crantock Beach sits to the west of Newquay, and while parts of it are sheltered, it often provides some great breaks. 

The River Gannel often works as a sandbank, and you’ll usually find a left-hander at Crantock. Generally, you’ll find the best conditions at mid or low tide. 

Big Green Surf School operates at Crantock and offers surf lessons along with a range of other watersport sessions. 

Polzeath Beach

Polzeath Beach in Cornwall

While Polzeath certainly feels like a surf town, it’s not necessarily one of the very best surf breaks in Cornwall for advanced surfers – but, it’s excellent for beginners. 

The beach is more sheltered than other spots on this list which means that despite its north coast location, it has much more gentle waves than elsewhere. 

However, this is perfect for those who are just learning to pop up; or it works well on days when the waves are too big in other spots. 

If you’re looking for surfing lessons in Polzeath, Surf’s Up Surf School offers full instruction – or, if you’d like to hire a board, check out TJs Surf Shop.

Fistral Beach

Small waves roll into shore on a warm summer day at Fistral beach in Newquay, Cornwall. A popular surfing beach for people of all abilities

When you ask a Cornish local about surfing, they’ll almost undoubtedly talk about Fistral Beach

It’s hardly a Cornwall hidden gem, but Fistral has been delighting surfers for decades. 

Life revolves around surf here – you’ll find plenty of schools, board rental shops and strong surf culture

The waves can be choppy in winter, but if you’re visiting during the summer season – which most people are – you’ll be glad to know that the conditions are excellent. 

The beach is suitable for all levels of surfers, but beginners should stick to the south end of the beach where the waves are smaller.

I actually had my very first surfing lesson at Fistral Beach when I was a teenager!

For advanced surfers, Fistral is by Towan Headland which is home to The Cribbar, a break that can reach up to 30 feet. 

Towan Beach

Iconic Towan Beach in Newquay

There’s a reason why Newquay is possibly the most popular surf destination in the UK; it’s not only got the renowned Fistral Beach, but even its smaller beaches have something to talk about when it comes to waves. 

Towan Beach is within walking distance from the town centre and is one of my favourite beaches in Cornwall due to the scenic rocky outcrop sitting on the sand, which has a house on top and is connected to the mainland by a bridge. 

But beginner and improver surfers flock to Towan not for the scenery, but for the swell. 

Best-surfed at mid tide (there is a local bylaw that prevents surfing at high tide in the summer), Towan Beach is well-protected, which means that it produces flatter, more consistent waves than Fistral. 

Porthcothan Beach

Looking down the beach from the cliffs above Cornwall's Porthcothan bay on beautiful summer's day

One of the quieter surf towns on this list, but somewhere that’s still well worth your time, Porthcothan Beach sits between Padstow and Newquay. 

The waves can be immense here, but no big town ever built up around the beach, ensuring that it remains quiet. 

It could be worth heading here if the beaches around Newquay are too full of people! 

Waves Surf School operate at Porthcothan and generally hosts their surfing lessons on the beach there, or makes short trips to surrounding beaches if the surf conditions are better elsewhere. 

Booby’s Bay

Cornwall,England,United Kingdom-July 20 2021:During the warm sunny summer season,beachgoers,families and tourists sunbathe,swim,paddleboard and explore rockpools as they walk across granite rocks.

Yes, it’s a real place!

Booby’s Bay (a 15 minute drive from Padstow) is a beach and reef break that’s generally popular with experienced surfers. 

It’s not remote, but it’s not right by a town, which makes it a quieter beach than others on this list – plus it doesn’t really have the same infrastructure as surf spots elsewhere. 

Perranporth Beach

Perranporth beach taken from the south end of the bay.

Located just along the coast from Newquay, Perranporth Beach is a three-mile long odyssey that usually has plenty of breaks for all levels of surfers. 

If you’re a beginner, stick to the area closest to the town, take the advice of lifeguards and perhaps book on a session with Perranporth Surf School

If you’re experienced, Perran Sands is your oyster!

Check the daily surf report, choose a spot and surf to your heart’s content. 

Perranporth Beach is also one of the best dog-friendly beaches in Cornwallyou can see all of the best things to do in this fun town by clicking here!

Holywell Beach

sunset over Holywell Bay Beach Cornwall England UK

Holywell Bay Beach has a lot to offer, from jagged cliffs offering mesmerising coastal views (I once stayed in the caravan park here and jogged up the cliffs every morning!), a secret cave, Poldark filming locations and, of course, rolling waves. 

You’ll find more in the way of surf instruction closer to Newquay, but intermediate and advanced surfers can catch a break at Holywell Bay. 

While the waves look consistent, the breaks can be a bit fickle, with sandbar lefts or rights being common.

There are RNLI lifeguards here in the summer months. 

Portreath Beach

Portreath North Cornwall England UK between St Agnes and Godrevy on the Heritage Coast

Portreath is a chilled-out town between St Agnes and St Ives.

It doesn’t have quite the same fame as Cornwall’s larger holiday resorts like Newquay and St Ives, but the beach break here usually has some swell on offer for all levels of surfers. 

My gran was actually born here, so I’ve visited quite a few times when tracing my family history, and the waves have always impressed me! 

For lessons, equipment hire and advice, chat with Cornwall Surf Centre which operates in the town. 

Carbis Bay Beach

Carbis Bay Cornwall England near St Ives and on the South West Coast Path with a sandy beach and blue sky on a beautiful sunny day

I wouldn’t exactly call Carbis Bay a surfing beach, but if you’re searching for somewhere uber-beginner friendly where you can practice bodyboarding and one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire Duchy, this could be your place. 

Carbis Bay was my Cornish grandma’s all-time favourite beach, and when you’re in the bright blue water, gazing out over white sand and palm trees, it’ll feel like you’re surfing in Bali or another equally tropical destination!

Don’t expect swell of any size here, but if you just want to practice being on the board, Carbis Bay is sheltered and safe and ideal for very beginners. 

Gwitihan Sands

Gwithian Beach Cornwall

I’m constantly waxing lyrical about Gwithian Sands both on this website and in real life, but it’s a hidden gem of a beach that really has it all. 

Epic cliffs, an interesting lighthouse, seals (at nearby Mutton Cove) – and it’s a fantastic surf spot too. 

A three-mile beach, you’ll find flatter conditions towards the Hayle Estuary and more challenging waves around Godrevy Point

For instruction, get in contact with the Gwithian Academy of Surfing, who’ll take you to the best spot depending on your surfing abilities. 

Sennen Cove

Looking towards the breaking waves on the famous surfing beach at Sennen Cove in Cornwall, taken on sunny summer day in the south west of england.

If you’re looking for a great place to surf in West Cornwall, Sennen Cove is a must-visit destination.

This beautiful beach is located just a few miles from Land’s End and offers some of the best waves in the area.

With its long, sandy beach and consistent swell, Sennen Cove is perfect for surfers of all levels.

One of the best things about Sennen Cove is that it’s a relatively uncrowded spot, so you won’t have to worry about battling for waves.

The beach is also patrolled by lifeguards in the summer months, making it a safe place to surf.

When it comes to the waves, Sennen Cove is known for its powerful, hollow barrels, which can be challenging for beginners.

However, there are also plenty of smaller waves for those who are just starting out.

The best time to surf at Sennen Cove is during the autumn and winter months when the swells are at their biggest.

Porthmeor Beach

Evening light on Porthmeor Beach St Ives Cornwall England UK

When it comes to the St Ives surf scene, Porthmeor is where it’s at. 

This sandy beach is ever-popular with tourists, and it provides a consistent break with conditions for virtually every surf level. 

St Ives surf school operates from here, offering two-hour lessons for all levels. 

Oh, and if there are people in your group who don’t want to take to the waves?

The TATE St Ives is just behind Porthmeor Beach, so they can look around the gallery and enjoy a drink in the rooftop bar while looking out over the sand. 

Check out all of the best St Ives beaches in my full blog post!

Praa Sands Beach

On the coast path approaching Sydney Cove at Praa Sands Cornwall England UK Europe

This beach is one of the only south coast shores that you’ll find experienced surfers at; it sits in Mount’s Bay and faces the right way to get some swells. 

If you’re looking for a great surfing spot in South Cornwall, Praa Sands is definitely worth checking out. Located on the south coast, this beach offers consistent waves that are perfect for both beginners and more experienced surfers.

The beach is known for its long, sandy shore and clear blue waters, making it a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing as well. But when the surf’s up, it’s all about catching those waves.

When the conditions are right, it has a southwesterly swell and provides impressive barrels

It’s nowhere near as reliable as the beaches on the northern coast, but if you’re staying nearby and fancy a whirl – or if the northern beaches are too intimidating – then I’d recommend heading to Praa Sands and checking out the conditions. 

One of the best things about Praa Sands is that it’s relatively uncrowded compared to other popular surfing spots in Cornwall.

So if you’re looking to avoid the crowds and enjoy some peaceful surfing, this could be the perfect spot for you.

There are a few local surf schools that offer lessons and equipment rentals, so even if you’re a beginner, you can still enjoy the waves here.

It’s a lovely beach to relax on as well, and you can check out the best things to do in Penzance while you’re there. 

Seaton Beach

Seaton Cornwall beach near Looe England

Seaton Beach, located near Looe in South East Cornwall, is one of the only beaches in the area that provides decent surfing. 

It’s not a hugely popular beach with tourists, and it’s little-known that the surfing conditions here can be impressive, so if you’re looking for quieter surfing spots in Cornwall, definitely check Seaton out! 

Where to stay for Cornish surfing holidays

If you want to do an independent surfing holiday, you could stay in any of the towns that I mention below and take surf lessons.


Crooklets beach at Bude in North Cornwall, England, UK

One of the Duchy’s most popular destinations for surfing, Bude’s home to a variety of beaches which, between them, provide consistent waves for surfers of all levels.

The top two beaches for surfing are Widemouth Bay and Crooklets Beach, but there are some more remote spots to the east and Summerleaze occasionally provides decent waves (usually when it’s too windy to surf elsewhere!). 

The town also has multiple surf schools and shops offering equipment rentals.

More experienced surfers can challenge themselves at well-known spots such as Widemouth Bay and Crooklets Beach.

Bude has a vibrant surfing community, with events and competitions taking place throughout the year, along with plenty of restaurants to fuel up and bars to toast to a successful day on the waves. 

Accommodation recommendation

The Beach in Bude is renowned for being one of the town’s finest luxury hotels, offering stunning modern rooms adorned in a beautiful nautical theme.

Guests can enjoy the convenience of a superb bar and restaurant located on the premises.

Click here to read more about The Beach Hotel.


Coastal view towards New Polzeath, North Cornwall

A small surf town sitting at the top of the Camel Estuary, Polzeath has smaller waves than its counterparts, but it remains one of the best places for beginners to surf. 

Plus, the town has an immensely relaxed feel, with life revolving around the beach – it’s one of the dreamiest places in the UK to spend a summer holiday. 

Don’t want to stay in Polzeath? You could look at accommodation in Rock, Wadebridge or even Padstow (although you will need to cross over the Camel Estuary to reach Polzeath from here!). 

Accommodation recommendation

Overlooking the picturesque Camel Estuary and Atlantic Ocean, St Moritz Hotel offers stunning views and a range of exceptional amenities, including a spa with indoor and outdoor pools, a gym, and tennis courts.

Click here for more information.


The aerial view of Newquay beach, Cornwall, England, UK.

Is this the surf capital of the UK? 

The famous beach resort of Newquay is many things – a nightlife hotspot, a family-friendly destination, and is home to some of the best surfing beaches in the UK – if not the whole of Europe. 

Fistral Beach is the main jewel in its crown, with some of the biggest beach breaks in the country (although with plenty of smaller waves for less-experienced surfers). 

The town’s beaches have smaller, but still usable waves and it’s in striking distance to Watergate Bay, Holywell Bay, Mawgan Porth and Perranporth – all prime surfing destinations. 

In town, you’ll find a high concentration of pubs, bars, restaurants and hotels, making it an incredibly well-appointed place to stay in Cornwall.

Take a look at all of my favourite things to do in Newquay by clicking here.

It’s also conveniently in the middle of the north coast, making it fairly easy to get out and about if you want to explore more of the best things to do in Cornwall too. 

Accommodation recommendation

Perfect for backpackers and surf enthusiasts, Smarties Surf Lodge provides a range of accommodations including dormitories, double rooms, and triple rooms, all complemented by a welcoming communal space.

True to its name, this lodge is the ultimate destination if you’re seeking an unforgettable surfing vacation, as it offers organized surf trips and lessons for guests to partake in.

Click here for more information.


Portreath in Cornwall, SW England

Consistent waves and a small, relaxed atmosphere make Polzeath one of Cornwall’s prime surfing destinations for those looking for a chilled-out surfing holiday.

It’s a smaller town than others on this list, but there are still a few decent accommodation options, along with restaurants and pubs.

Accommodation recommendation

With historic roots dating back to the 1850s, Portreath Arms offers comfortable en-suite rooms, a pleasant garden, and complimentary amenities including free parking.

It also boasts a welcoming bar and restaurant where guests can enjoy delicious home-cooked meals.

Click here to read more about it.

St Ives

St. Ives, Cornwall, UK. June 30, 2019. The seaside town and harbor taken over the rooftops at St. Ives in Cornwall, UK.

There are a million reasons to stay in St Ives, and surfing’s just one of them. 

A popular destination for surfers of all levels, St Ives offers challenging waves at Porthmeor and Gwithian, and flatter conditions – perfect for practice – at its other beaches.  

Excellent tourist infrastructure means that you’ll never be without a board or full instruction, and there are countless incredible restaurants, pubs and attractions dotted around the town. 

It’s also one of the most beautiful places to visit in Cornwall, with an idyllic harbour and breathtaking beaches – you’ll visit St Ives for the surfing, but you’ll stay for its incredible holiday feeling. 

Accommodation recommendation

Located on the picturesque granite rocks of St Ives near Porthminster Beach, Pedn Olva Hotel stands as a highly sought-after accommodation option in the area.

With its 30 well-appointed bedrooms, adorned with abundant natural light and offering breathtaking sea views, the hotel provides a delightful stay.

Additionally, guests can indulge in delectable locally sourced cuisine at the on-site restaurant.

Click here for more information about Pedn Olva Hotel.


Sennen Beach In Cornwall, England

A small coastal village located in the extreme southwest of Cornwall, Sennen is known for its stunning beaches and excellent surf conditions.

Sennen Cove is more or less as far southwest as you can get in Cornwall.

This means that the beach is lovely and isolated, with some of the most relaxed coastal vibes that you’ll find in the entire country, but it can also be quite challenging to get to!

But it’s all worth it once you’re there – you’ll encounter breathtaking scenery and vibrant surf culture, making Sennen a must-visit destination for anyone looking to catch some waves and enjoy the beauty of the Cornish coast! 

Accommodation Recommendation

Situated in a stunning 17th-century building, The Old Success Inn boasts a restaurant and a bar.

Conveniently located, it allows easy access to the nearby Sennen Cove beach.

The inn offers charming and well-appointed 4-star rooms with modern amenities such as TVs, tea/coffee facilities, and hairdryers.

Click here for more information and to book.


Dramatic sky over Penzance Harbour Cornwall England UK Europe

South West Cornwall’s largest town, Penzance feels a lot more “local” than other spots in Cornwall, but that’s partially what draws me to it. 

It doesn’t have a crazy amount of surfing beaches – in fact, there aren’t really any beaches in Penzance proper – but Praa Sands Beach is nearby, which beginners can definitely enjoy a surfing lesson on!

Accommodation Recommendation

A four-star upscale establishment, Hotel Penzance offers contemporary and tastefully designed rooms, with a swimming pool and enchanting Mediterranean gardens and a guest lounge adorned with modern artwork.

There’s also a restaurant serving modern European cuisine.

Click here to read more and book your stay.

How Much Does Surfing in Cornwall Cost?

The cost of surfing in Cornwall varies on a few factors: 

  1. if you need a lesson or if you need to rent gear
  2. where you choose to stay in the Duchy and for how many days
  3. how you’re getting to Cornwall 
  4. remember to factor in other expenses like food and other activities

Most surf lessons in Cornwall cost no more than £50. If you do two over the space of a weekend, that’s £100.

Then, you may spend £200 on a hotel room (if there are two of you, this can be split in half). 

If you’re driving to Newquay from London, the cost of petrol would be around £100 (again, this could be split in half if there are two of you). 

Generally, I’d budget a minimum of £30 per day for food – so this would be £60

If there were two of you travelling together, the total cost would therefore be around £310 p.p for a weekend of surfing in Newquay. 

What Equipment Do You Need to Surf in Cornwall?

"Newquay, Cornwall, UK - August 11, 2010: Surfers on Fistral Beach, Newquay"

The good news is, if you’re planning a surf trip to Cornwall, you don’t need any specific equipment

Boards, leashes, and wetsuits are all rentable. 

However, there might be a few things that you’ll want to pack!

What to pack for surfing in Cornwall

How hard is the surfing in Cornwall?

It really varies on where you are!

The surfing conditions can be challenging in spots on the north coast, but there are plenty of calmer spots like Polzeath and Praa Sands that are suitable for beginners! 

What is the best surf spot for beginners in Cornwall? 

Praa Sands Cornwall England near Penzance and Mullion on the South West Coast Path with sandy beach and blue sky and white fluffy clouds on a beautiful sunny day

Polzeath and Praa Sands are great surf spots in Cornwall for beginners.

Polzeath offers consistent waves and gentle beach breaks and has several surf schools that offer lessons and equipment rentals.

Praa Sands has a wide, sandy beach and consistent waves that are ideal for learning to surf, and also has surf schools in the area. 

What is the best surf spot for intermediate surfers in Cornwall? 

Porthmeor, Perranporth, and Widemouth Bay are great surf spots in Cornwall for intermediate surfers.

Porthmeor offers consistent waves and different breaks, Perranporth has powerful waves at The Watering Hole and Penhale, and Widemouth Bay has both big and smaller breaks. 

What is the best surf spot for advanced surfers in Cornwall?

Cornwall has several great surf spots for advanced surfers.

Fistral Beach in Newquay is known for its powerful waves and challenging conditions, with the epic Cribbar wave being one of the best in the UK, while Booby’s Bay near Constantine Bay offers a more secluded option for experienced surfers.

Tips for Surfing in Cornwall

Silhouette surfer riding waves, Fistral, Newquay, Cornwall

If you’re planning a surfing trip to Cornwall, there are a few things you should keep in mind to make the most of your experience:

  • Check the surf forecast: Before heading out to the beach, make sure to check the surf forecast to get an idea of the wave conditions. You can use websites such as Magicseaweed or Surfline to get up-to-date information on wave height, wind direction, and tide times.
  • Dress appropriately: The water in Cornwall can be quite cold, even in the summer months, so it’s important to wear a wetsuit that will keep you warm. A 3/2mm wetsuit is usually sufficient for most surfers, but you may want to opt for a thicker suit if you’re sensitive to the cold. Don’t forget to wear booties and gloves if you’re surfing in the winter.
  • Be mindful of the environment: Cornwall is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the UK, and it’s important to keep them clean and free of litter. Make sure to dispose of your rubbish properly and avoid disturbing wildlife.
  • Take a lesson: If you’re new to surfing or unfamiliar with the waves in Cornwall, it’s a good idea to take a lesson from a qualified instructor. There are plenty of surf schools in Cornwall that offer lessons for all levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.
  • Be prepared for changing conditions: The weather in Cornwall can be unpredictable, and the surf conditions can change quickly. Make sure to bring a range of surfboards to suit different wave conditions, and be prepared to adjust your plans if the weather takes a turn for the worse.

Surfing in Cornwall FAQs

Surfing in Newquay, Northern Cornwall

Is North or South Cornwall better for surfing? 

With its wild Atlantic coastline and huge swells, North Cornwall is where it’s at in terms of surfing.

The south coast does have beaches with small waves, such as Praa Sands, but ultimately North Cornwall is definitely better when it comes to catching the best waves for all abilities. 

Do you need a wetsuit to surf in Cornwall? 

A wetsuit is almost always essential for surfing in Cornwall due to the cold water temperatures. It’s recommended to wear a 4/3mm or 3/2mm wetsuit, depending on the time of year and water temperature.

On very warm days, it may be possible to surf without a wetsuit for short periods of time – but make sure that you have a rashie to protect against sunburn. 

What time of year is best for surfing in Cornwall? 

Winter is the best time for advanced surfers, as the waves are bigger and more powerful.

The waters are colder, but Cornwall in winter is nearly empty! However, summer is a good time for beginners and improvers, as the water is warmer and the waves are generally smaller.

A good compromise to larger waves and warmer waters would be surfing in Autumn. 

Which beach is best for surfing in Cornwall? 

Fistral Beach in Newquay is the most popular surfing spot in Cornwall.

It offers consistent waves and a range of breaks that cater to different skill levels, from beginners to advanced surfers.

There are also several surf schools and equipment rental shops in the area.

Is Devon or Cornwall better for surfing? 

Cornwall has more breaks and is generally considered better for surfing.

However, Devon has its own surf scene and is home to the North Devon surfing reserve – making it one of the best surfing destinations in Europe!

You can read my full guide to surfing in Devon by clicking here.

Is Cornwall or Wales better for surfing? 

Both Cornwall and Wales offer great surfing opportunities. Cornwall has a wider variety of breaks and more consistent waves, while Wales has more secluded and uncrowded surf spots.

So I’d say that the surfing culture is better in Cornwall, but you might just find some more hidden gems in Wales!

Are you ready for Cornish surfing?

Whether you want to hit the big breaks of the north coast or try some of the smaller waves in the south, Cornwall’s surf scene delivers.

Complete novices and seasoned pros are all welcome – there’s a swell for everyone here!

Be sure to check out the rest of my Cornwall posts for more information or if you have any questions, feel free to reach out on Instagram!

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