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West Cornwall Surf Guide

West Cornwall is the UK’s most popular surfing area due to consistent swells and generally better climate compared to the rest of the UK. Newquay lies at the very heart of this region and is also the accepted home of British surfing with a number of big surf competitions held there throughout the year as well as a big party scene. Outside of Newquay, less manic, high quality surf breaks can be found if you know where to look. As a visiting surfer, please respect the local surfers at all times.

1.Harlyn.

Small, crescent-shaped bay which faces north. Can provide fun hollow waves (and quite a few closeouts) when a big swell is running and nearby beaches like Constantine are onshore and maxed-out. Best from low to mid tide.

2.Constantine Bay.

West-facing beach with rocky outcrops at each end. Picks up any swell going but is adversely affected by any wind other than from the east quadrant. The central stretch of beachbreak is best from mid to neap-high-tide. For advanced surfers, there’s a low-tide righthander at the northern end of the beach called Booby’s Bay which can be good as well as a mid-tide left at the southern end. Both break over sand and rocks. X Rips when over 3ft, rocks.

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3.Treyarnon.

Narrow west-facing beach, best around low tide. X Rips when over 3ft.

4.Mawgan Porth.

West-facing beachbreak, best from low to mid tide.

5.Watergate Bay.

Popular west-facing beachbreak just north of Newquay, often crowded during the summer if the waves are good. Works on all tides and is one of the few beaches in the area which is good around high tide. X Rips when over 4ft.

6.Whipsiderry.

Low to mid tide beachbreak which is submerged at high tide. Partially sheltered from south-westerly winds.

7.Newquay Bay.

The town’s three north-facing beaches- Tolcarne, Great Western & Towan, join up at low tide to form a mile-long stretch of sand which is submerged at high tide. Always popular and often crowded during the summer, despite the fact that most of the waves are closeouts. Best around mid tide, with a light westerly cross-shore wind. Tolcarne Wedge is a high tide cross-wave at the southern end of the beach, popular with bodyboarders.

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8.Fistral Beach.

North-west facing beachbreak, works on all tides, with fast hollow waves at low tide under ideal conditions. Good rights along the northern headland when the sandbars are lined up. Always crowded when good. Britain’s most famous surfing beach and the venuw for several major contests each year. X Rips when over 4ft.

9.Crantock.

Low tide sandbank at the southern end of the beach which is sometimes good for advanced surfers on big swells. X Rips.

10.Holywell Bay.

North-west facing beachbreak, best around three-quarters tide. X Rips when over 4ft, parts of metal shipwreck exposed in the middle of the beach at low-tide.

11.Perranporth.

Two-mile stretch of beachbreak. The cliffs at either end give some protection from cross-shore winds. Waves at the southern end of the beach, Droskyn, are predominantly slowish lefts, best around three-quarters tide. The middle stretch, Perran Sands, can be reached via the holiday camp on top of the dunes, and offers peaky waves, best from mid to neap high-tide. Penhale Corner, at the northernmost end of the beach, can be a good low-tide righthander when the sandbar is lined up. X Rips when over 4ft, MOD firing range at the top of the cliffs at the northern end!

12.St Agnes.

North-facing beachbreak which works on big swells and is sheltered from westerly winds. Predominantly rights breaking away from the rocks in the middle of the cove. Best around low tide on a small swell, or around mid-tide when it’s over 4ft. Always crowded when good.

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13.Chapel Porth.

West-facing low-tide beachbreak which is submerged after mid tide. X Rips when over 3ft.

14.Porthtowan.

Northwest-facing beachbreak, works on all tides and is one of the few beaches in the area which is good around high tide. X Rips when over 3ft.

15.Portreath Harbour Wall.

Short wedgy righthander breaking over rocks at high tide. Faces north and needs a big swell to work. Expert surfers only. XX Rocks.

16.St Ives Bay.

Three miles of beachbreak stretching from Godrevy round to Hayle. At the northern end, Godrevy faces west and picks up any swell going. It works on all tides up to neap high but it will be affected by any winds other than from the east quadrant. Gwithian, the next spot along, works under similar conditions. X Rips when over 4ft.

17.Porthmeor.

St Ives’ main surf spot, a beachbreak which faces north and requires a biggish swell. Works on all tides, best from mid to high tide. Always crowded when good. X Rips when over 4ft.

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