Surfing in Newquay
Surfing in Newquay, Cornwall started in the early 60’s, read this post for more on the early days of surfing, when American and Australian surfers travelled over from their swell-blessed homelands looking for new and exciting lifeguarding jobs. Having honed their skills in the surf of the home breaks, they surfed like no one else and it was a spectacle for the locals to see, catalysing surfing’s boom in the UK. Today the sport is one of the town’s biggest businesses and there’re surf schools, shops and lodges around every corner. Here’s a quick run through of where to find your best waves around Newquay.
1. Fistral Beach
Just a 5-minute walk from the town centre is Newquay’s best break, Fistral Beach. It picks up any north or northwest swell and breaks at its finest in clean punchy lines with south easterly winds. If the swell’s a decent 6ft, the town will be frothing. There’s parking at each end of the beach and places to grab a bite too eat when you’re out the water.
2. Newquay Bay Beaches
Towan, Great Western and Tolcarne are all beaches east of the harbour wall. They’re less exposed than Fistral to the Atlantic’s raw swells and at low tide, create a mile long stretch of sand dotted with mini lagoons and rock pools. If the waves are big and blown out at Fistral, the bay will be cleaner and slightly smaller. From autumn through to spring, the beaches can produce some of the cleanest wave faces known in Cornwall.
3. Watergate Bay and Constantine
Just north of Newquay are Watergate Bay and Constantine, two wide sandy bays facing Northwest with sandbanks that work best at big clean swells. A mid tide on the push will create the best waves at these beaches and barrels are known to grace their shorelines more often than others.
4. The Cribbar
Unless you’re a seasoned pro, this is one to watch rather than paddle into! But just off of Towan Headland is The Cribbar, Cornwall’s only big wave surf reef. It’s fickle, heavy and only gets good a few times a year, firing only when the swell is really big. Anything under double-overhead height will break on the rocks. You need the right combination of swell, tide and wave period for it to go off, but when it does the wave can rival Hawaiian sized surfing waves reaching 30-35ft.
So whether you’re a beginner surfer learning the step-up method on a foamy, or a professional level rider in search of British barrels, Newquay has the widest range of beaches to suit all levels in such a short distance! It’s not the Caribbean, the water can be really cold and a flask of tea is needed after a winter surf. But there are so many reasons to explore the beaches and get your hair wet. The Newquay Activity Centre Surf School has coaches that have local knowledge about each break and will tailor every session to your ability, it’s all about having fun. And you will, we guarantee it!