The arrival of the colder seasons doesn’t have to mean the end of the surfing season in Cornwall. Autumn and Winter can be a great time to learn to surf, especially with the consistent swells and quieter beaches. We’ve got toasty changing rooms, warm showers and the best Rip Curl winter wetsuits, so don’t let the wilder weather put you off!
If you’re serious about learning to surf in the UK you’ll need to go in no matter what the weather and water temperature. But don’t fret- with the right kit and the correct knowledge on how to judge the sea conditions and safety before you go in, it’ll be a smooth transition into the winter season. Here in the south west, we are lucky to have relatively mild winters and the gulf stream keeps the water temperatures bearable throughout. Temperatures usually peak at Autumn-September time and slowly decrease across the winter months- surprisingly, the coldest waters aren’t until March-April time. So tog up and get in the surf!
There are so many reasons to learn to surf in autumn and winter. Firstly, being consistent with the sport will improve your ability to no end. If you ditch the board until next summer, you may find that your skills have lessened during the months of inactivity. Sticking to regular surfing keeps you constantly improving, helps with your physical fitness and gets you into a great routine.
Winter surfing doesn’t just provide physical benefits. Surfing, and being in the ocean generally, is an incredibly powerful tool for helping your mental health too. When it’s getting colder and the evenings are getting darker, it can be easy to feel down, and you’re guaranteed to be spending more time indoors, thus getting less natural light. But if you surf throughout the winter season, you will be getting out in the fresh air, no matter the weather. Recently there’s been an increase in people participating in cold water swimming, alongside booking winter staycations by the coast, and it’s easy to see why. Experiencing the ocean throughout all seasons, not just summer, can be incredibly enjoyable. You’ll gain a deeper understanding and respect for nature, and maybe even start to enjoy the colder temperatures!
With consistent swell, better waves and fewer crowds, you’re missing out if you’re a May to September surfer. Here at Newquay Activity Centre, we are fully equipped to help you learn to surf throughout winter, from our experienced instructors to our top quality kit and warm changing rooms. Below are some top tips to keep you afloat throughout the colder seasons.
If you learn to surf with us over autumn and winter, it will be an easy ride. Our centre is based on Fore Street, less than two minutes walk to Towan Beach, which is an excellent sheltered spot for safe surfing all year round. Our instructors will ensure you are surfing in the best spot, where you aren’t exposed to big swells or winds, and all winter surfing spots have been tried and tested by our team. You can also choose to hire kit from us and go it alone- we will provide the best quality Rip Curl winter wetsuits, and offer advice on the best spot to surf in for the day’s conditions.
Another bonus is that our centre is home to heated changing rooms and hot showers, meaning that you can get in your wetsuit whilst still in the warmth and get dry as soon as you get out. No fumbling around trying to get out of a wetsuit in the cold! This is particularly helpful if its your first time surfing, as being out in the weather will be much less daunting when you know you’ve got a warm changing room just moments from the water.
Here’s a few tips to help you enjoy surfing in the winter as much as possible.
- Wear a good quality 5/3mm wetsuit. You’ll need boots, gloves, and hood. A wetsuit hood not only keeps your head warm but also protects your ears and keeps in your body heat so you can surf for longer. We provide all of these at our centre if you book a session with us.
- Dry wetsuit. Hang your wetsuit up the day before so it’s as dry as possible. If you have 2 winter suits you can rotate them so you always have a dry one to put on.
- Don’t eat directly before going in the water. You will feel colder because your blood is being drawn away from your extremities. And there’s a greater risk of getting cramp.
- Warm up. Have a good, dynamic warm up before going in. Get the blood flowing to every part of your body. You should be able to surf better and for longer.
- Keep busy in the water, and don’t sit around too much. Paddle hard, catch lots of waves and you’ll stay warm. If you’re out with our instructors, they will keep you busy!
- It’s hard to think practically when the waves are firing and you’re desperate to get in the water ASAP. But preparing your clothes, towel and shoes ready for when you return will help you get changed as quickly as possible. If you’re surfing a little further away than our handy changing rooms, you don’t want to spend 10 minutes looking for those boxer shorts with just a towel around your waist in a bracing northerly gale. You could even invest in a Dryrobe, a handy bit of kit to jump straight into after emerging from the sea!
- Turn up the volume! Shortboarders might want to surf boards with a touch more volume than in the summer. With all that neoprene on you’ll be slightly heavier, and you might feel a bit sluggish, so a chunkier board can make life easier.