Surfing Centre at Fistral Beach

Surfing in Cornwall Cornwall is up!

It’s no secret that Cornwall is home to British surfing. With a near-Mediterranean climate, stunning beaches and the best waves in the country, Cornwall makes for a perfect surf haven.

Indeed the famously powerful swells of the Atlantic Ocean provide Cornwall with some of the best surfing conditions in Europe, no less, folding onto golden beaches which are overseen by miles of sheer cliffs and rugged coastal paths. British and foreign surfers alike have converged on Cornwall’s beaches for around 40 years and are surely seldom disappointed.

Surfin' UK

If Cornwall is British surfing’s home, then Newquay is unquestionably the capital. The ever-popular resort is well established as the centre of the surf industry in Britain, with surf dude cool permeating the entire town and reams of surf board manufacturers, surf stores and hire shops on hand for a pit-stop. The most famous of them all, Fat Willy’s Surf Shack, was established here in the mid 80s and continues to trade.

Cornwall’s eclectic shores have waves to suit all abilities, and the general rule of thumb is expert surfers heard north, novices and intermediates south. Newquay rests on Cornwall’s north coast and these waters lend themselves perfectly to the visceral thrill experienced by the expert surfer.  

Although the gentler waves of the county’s south coast are more renowned for sailing, beginners and intermediate surfers are generally advised to head south, with Falmouth especially suitable for newbies. There are exceptions to the rule, however, and the south coast’s Porthleven, for example, is categorically for experts only!

Absolute beginners are catered for by the abundance of surf schools all across Cornwall. Most of the UK’s top schools can be found here, providing tuition not just for beginners but for all abilities. If you fancy learning to surf then what better way to do it than with the finest instructors and in the country’s best waters?

Surf's Up!

When most people think of surfing, they think of Hawaii, Australia’s Gold Coast or California. With surfing becoming increasingly big business in Britain, it’s time Cornwall joined the party. It certainly belongs in such exalted company and, even better, and in stark contrast to the so-called holy trinity, it’s only a surfboard away. Let’s go surfing now...!

Sean Cummins

June 2010

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015