Schools out and Surfs Up
Hit the waves with a surf break in Cornwall...
So far this summer, Cornwall has been blessed with sunshine and swell – which means plenty of surfers are flocking here with their boards, ready to enjoy the waves from sunrise to sunset. Here are some of our favourite surfing beaches on the doorstep of our Beach Retreats:
The home of Beach Retreats HQ and one of the most consistent beach breaks in Cornwall, Watergate Bay is one of the most popular surf spots on the outskirts of Newquay. When the swell forecast is good make sure you’re up at dawn if you want to beat the crowds, or stay in until the sun sets over the corduroy lines peeling in from the horizon. If you need to hone your surfing skills you can book a session with the experts at the Extreme Academy, or hire any kit you need if you don't have your own. Check the waves from one of our apartments nudging the ocean.
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Hailed as the surfing capital of Britain, Fistral is where many of Cornwall’s pro surfers cut their teeth. Its world-class waves lure surfers from far and wide, with plenty of peaks for all abilities to spread out across the bay. With a line-up of surf outlets and surf schools to get you looking the part and chasing your own surfing career down the line, it’s the place to become a bona fide surfer. Between sessions you can eat and drink in swanky beach bars, or escape the crowds and soak up the action from one of our apartments overlooking this legendary surfing location.
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A short hop north of Newquay and much less crowded than the likes of Fistral, Mawgan Porth is home to a tight-knit surfing community. Its sandy runway is a swell magnet and the surf breaks on all tides, so whether you want to catch green waves or practise on the white water, there are always waves to be ridden. Get to your feet under the tutelage of one of Cornwall’s best-loved surf schools – Kingsurf – and grab any kit you need from the huddle of surfside hire shops and surf stores. When you’ve had enough of beach life, retreat to your beachside house, just minutes away and dry off in front of the log burner or bask on the balcony.
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While the south coast isn’t renowned for its surf, when the swell wraps around the tip of the rugged Rame Peninsula, Whitsand Bay’s four miles of golden sands are blessed with plenty of peaks where surfers can get their fill. From the decking or living room of Alpha, a two-bedroom cabin perched on Freathy Cliff, you can check the surf and wait for the waves while you relax on a sun lounger or on the sofa. And when the surf’s up, simply grab your board from the surfboard storage area and skip down the steps to the sea. If you need equipment or lessons tap up the Adventure Bay surf school, and if the waves are flat you can take the plunge on a thrilling coasteering trip instead.
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At the hub of Bude’s vibrant surfing community, Summerleaze beach offers a series of peaks to choose from and is a great location for beginners to hit the waves. In one of Cornwall’s top surf towns, it’s little surprise that it gets super crowded in summer, but if you opt for lessons with Bude Surfing Experience, Scott Marshall and his team will find the best peak for your ability, help you hone your surfing technique and offer you a hot shower at the end of your session. Veer just over mile inland from the crowds and enjoy the peace and quiet of your own family pile at Wychwood Lodge, where you can sink into the hot tub, curl up by the log burner and enjoy a luxurious lifestyle between surf sessions.
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Choose a self-catering house, apartment or penthouse at The Dunes behind Perranporth beach, and enjoy easy access onto a two-mile stretch of dune-backed beach. From the northern end of Perran Sands, all the way to the more sheltered Droskyn, which is protected by the cliffs at the southern end, there are plenty of peaks so you can spread out from the crowds. Just be aware of rips and if you need some know-how get some lessons with Perranporth Surf School.
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With easy parking, beachside amenities and peaks that work on all tides, Porthtowan is a popular spot with all levels of surfers. It can be a punchy break, but as the tide drops you can shift onto the (sometimes) more mellow waves at Lushingtons at the southern end. Tris Surf Shop has been in town since ’72, so it’s our go-to for lessons, gear and advice. Once you’ve got spaghetti arms and can surf no more, head back to The Beach apartments and while away the day watching the waves from balcony, or head to the surfside Blue Bar for a pint and a legendary burger.
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A short hop from Land’s End, Sennen Cove is the breeding ground of a tribe of committed and talented surfers. A series of sand-bottomed peaks (watch out for rocks at the southern end) pick up any swell, so you can often find a wave here when no other spots on the north coast are working. Hit the surf with the British pros at Smart Surf School and kick back at Sea Salt, our new property perched above Sennen Cove, where you can eyeball the surf and the turquoise hues of the ocean from the comfort of your living room.
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- Use lifeguarded beaches and surf between the black and white flags, as this is where the lifeguards have designated as safe to use. A red flag indicates that it’s unsafe to enter the water.
- Be careful of rips – strong channels of water that can drag you quickly out to sea.
- Don’t drop-in on other surfers – if there is a surfer already on the wave, don’t try to catch it. The surfer who takes off closest to the peak (where the wave breaks) has the right of way.
- Don’t get in the way and don’t ditch your board – if you let go of your board to dive under a wave it may hit another surfer.
- Respect the locals and be friendly in the sea – it makes surfing much more fun.