This is the definitive guide to Newquay’s famous surf beaches and the best surfing beaches in the rest of Cornwall.
We’re lucky enough to have been surfing the best Cornish beaches for decades, since we were barrel hunting groms having to beg for a lift from mum and dad. We’ve also been offering surf trips, bodyboard retreats and surf lessons in Cornwall for over 25 years, so there isn’t much we don’t know about Newquay’s surf beaches and the best surf spots across Cornwall.
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This guide covers more than 25 surf beaches in Cornwall,and is full of useful information about each beach, as well as insider tips and local knowledge that you won’t find on Surf Line or in any other guide. We are sharing nuggets of gold with you that we’ve accumulated from surfing these exact beaches hundreds if not thousands of times.
Our beach guides offer a dive deep into the local area and facilities including information on car parking, toilet facilities, the best food and drink options and other fabulous activities in the area, whether it’s embarking on scenic coastal hikes, exploring art galleries or spotting seals and dolphins.
Here are 11 in-depth profiles on the Newquay surf beaches, and our favourite surf spots in Cornwall.
We’ve curated these guides to include everything you need to know about:
There are many other beaches that we would be remiss in our duties if we did not highlight. We have summarised them below, and hopefully you’ll find the time to check them out. That’s the beauty of surfing, there is always a new beach to explore and another alluring wave to chase.
(near Penzance and Helston): One of the best known spots on the south coast, as everyone has cottoned on to the fact that when there is a northerly wind and swell on the south coast then Praa is pumping and often heavy, fast and hollow. Usually better at a higher tide, even on busy days, the 1 mile long beach offers enough room to find some space in the line up. Sandy bottomed Praa is just a few miles along the coast from Porthleven, so offers a popular alternative for the pros.
(near Hayle): There are few spots more beautiful than Gwithian, under the watchful gaze of Godrevy lighthouse, it’s a popular spot for wildlife fanatics, coastal walkers and of course the surf community. It is a long beach so there’s plenty of space in the lineup, it offers pretty consistent surf, and the surf varies in size along the beach so you can find a spot that suits you. Please note though that Gwithian is very exposed to the wind, and if the forecast is predicting anything west of due south then it’s a beach best left to the foilers and windsurfers. You’ve also got neighbouring beach Godrevy close by if you want to hit them both in one day…
(near Hayle): Separated by Gwithian by the Red River, Godrevy, well known for its lighthouse, is situated amongst the most stunning landscape. Access is a doddle with a handy national trust car park, toilets and cafe complete the trio of facilities, so it ticks boxes. Surf is consistent here, and not usually too chunky, although it can be powerful at low tide. The peak shifts throughout the tide so everyone will get a slice of the action. Like Gwithian, watch out for that westerly wind as it’s an exposed spot.
(near Lands End): Sennen is positioned in between Land’s End and Cape Cornwall, and due to this exposed westerly location gets some of the best Cornish swell. In winter, huge rollers surge in and crash upon the cliffs in dramatic style, and photographers gather to capture nature’s might. This is a popular place for advanced surfers to hunt down big waves. At the northern end, Gwenver tends to get the larger surf, and the conditions can vary down the beach, usually offering smaller waves in front of the car park. The cliffs behind Sennen curve offering shelter to the beach in a south-westerly wind. Watch out for the fickle banks at Sennen, they are notorious.
(near Bude): Widmouth is a stunning 2 mile stretch of golden sand just outside the surf town of Bude, in North Cornwall. Offering wonderful conditions for beginners, progressors and intermediates, you’ll find that Widemouth Bay has everything you need. There is ample beach car parking, handy toilets and plenty of refreshment and equipment hire options.
(near Padstow): Constantine Bay itself is a wide sandy beach, and looks fairly inviting, but please be aware that there is a reef, heavy shoredump and a lot of rips, so caution is advised for swimmers and beginner surfers. Constantine is really 3 spots in one, so has a huge amount to offer for advanced surfers. There is the main beach itself which at high tide offers fast lefts and right, then at the southern end there is The Slab, a reef popular with boogers which works really well at mid to high tide and offers lefts into the main beach. At the northern end, separated by a spit of rock there is the humorously named Booby’s Bay. Please be aware of submerged rocks, flash rips and the shore dump at high tide.
(near Redruth): Portreath gives off a working fishing village vibe, so it’s fitting that the harbour wall is also the centre of the surf scene. The harbour wall creates a reef break known as The Vortex, which is popular amongst hardcore bodyboarders more than surfers. The backwash produces an intense wedging wave, which is suitable for air drops and fast manoeuvres – this is not a spot for beginners.There is plenty of parking here, brilliant shower and toilet facilities and a nice selection of beachside pubs and cafes.
(in between Penzance & Lands End): Porthcurno is well known for its picturesque vista, and the cultural medleys offered up the hill at the Minack, but is also a contender on the surf scene. Not an obvious choice, but when it’s on, it’s on. There is consistent swell here, and northerly wind works well. Best around low tide so you’ll want to get your timing right, but on its day it offers barrels galore.
(Bude): As Bude’s central beach and with all the facilities the town has to offer on your doorstep, surfing here is easy and convenient. It’s a wide beach, so offers plenty of space to escape the crowds and great and reliable surf year round. Waves can be chunky and powerful which is brilliant for surfing, but not ideal for small children. Summerleaze houses Bude Tidal Pool which offers a calm swimming spot year round for those who want to find a more sheltered spot. Please note that there are submerged rocks and there have been some nasty incidents involving surfers, so exercise caution.
(Bude): Another cracking spot that utilises the facilities and accessibilities of Bude, Crooklets offers waves for all abilities. There is a buzz of activity here as Bude Life Saving Club is based here, and due to its proximity to town can get busy at peak times. It tends to be quieter the further north you go. At the north end there is a right off Wrangles Rock which can get big and hollow. In the middle of the beach the shore break gets pretty active at high tide, and at the south end there is a long left at Barrel Rock.