Cornwall?s best surf beaches

British surfers don’t have to head to California or Australia’s Gold Coast to find excellent surfing conditions, with Cornwall on the sunny south-west coast being increasingly recognised as a world-class destination a little closer to home for surfing and other water sports.

With its numerous beaches catching some of the best waves in the UK and local surfing schools and clubs offering a gateway into the sport for newcomers, Cornwall can rightly be called the UK’s surfing capital. During the global economic downturn, when domestic ‘staycations’ were in vogue, the region finally achieved the recognition it deserved as a competitive destination for surfing, attracting local and international visitors alike.

If you’re thinking of heading to Cornwall to take on its impressive waves, you’ll be spoiled for choice with its numerous excellent beaches, though you should bear in mind that some offer better conditions than others. This can be especially important when visiting shingle beaches, which are not recommended for amateur surfers due to the harsher surface. Newcomers should instead head to sandy, family-friendly beaches, such as Widemouth Bay in Bude and Hayle in Polzeath – the latter being ideal for learners and younger surfers.

If Cornwall is the UK’s surfing capital, then Newquay is its Mecca. The British Surfing Association bases its headquarters here for a reason, as it features beaches that face all directions from the coast to catch the very best breaks. It also helps that Newquay is the biggest and most developed location in Cornwall, making it easier for long-distance travellers to arrive with car hire Newquay Airport.

Beaches in Newquay range from the relatively low surf of Watergate Bay, ideal for beginners, to the changeable conditions of Fistral, beloved by expert surfers and the most famous surfing beach in Britain. Newquay Bay itself features three sandy beaches that are popular for all manner of beach breaks, from surfing to sunbathing, and it can understandably become a little crowded in the summer months.

Crowds don’t have to be a problem when you head to other beaches in the county, however, and you’ll never be too far from ideal surfing conditions wherever you’re staying in Cornwall. The north coast may be the most acclaimed, but you can still find suitable beaches on the south coast – including Kennack Sands and the more challenging Porthleven – and the east coast, home to Pentewan Beach and Whitsand Bay which are great places to brush up on your surfing skills.

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