Our guide to the best surf beaches and breaks in Newquay
Although there is not much sun throughout the winter months, winter is usually the best time for surfing in Newquay and Cornwall.
Therefore, you will find most of the die-hard surfers lining up at the surf beaches and breaks in Newquay and all along the beautiful North Cornwall coast, just waiting to catch the wave of the day.
With Newquay being, by far, the capital of the surfing world in the UK, you will find most of the surf beaches concentrated around our wonderful famous area.
Regardless of the cold sea temperature and the need to wear the thickest of wetsuits, plus a good pair of booties, gloves and hats for surfing in Cornwall winter style, these surfers can not wait to paddle out the back to catch the good winter swells.
Once you get out there, surrounded by nature and becoming one with this powerful ocean, you can see why surfing is fast becoming such a popular and main steam activity to do all over the UK.
You can even go surfing in Cornwall in February!
Not only is it good for the soul but the mental health benefits are amazing. Its super fun and totally addictive. Most people, both boys and girls, of all ages, after their first go at this sport, get what is known as ‘the surfers bug’ and can not wait to get back out there again to improve from the last time.
Newquay used to be just a summer holiday destination but for a few years now our seasons have been extending either side of the summer months and the popularity of surfing has been part of this winter explosion. Having said that we still get plenty of waves throughout spring, summer and autumn too. Although wetsuits are still required, they are much thinner plus there is no need for boots and hats, so surfing around this time with the sun beaming down is a wondferful time to give surfing in Cornwall winter a go.
You don’t have to be a confident, experienced surfer or even own your own surfboard and equipment to be able to enjoy this wonderful sport of surfing in Newquay.
There are plenty of companies operating all year round, offering a wide range of different surf lessons, from absolute beginners though to advanced lessons, either in a group, private family sessions or one to one. All equipment is provided and included in the price, each lesson usually lasts about two and a half hours. Average price is £45 per person increasing for more private sessions and slightly cheaper for larger groups.
Smarties Surf Lodge provides surf beaches and breaks in Newquay and works alongside a wonderful company called Newquay Activity Centre, which is located right in the centre of town. Its is always best to contact us and we can do all the arrangements for you, even if you are not staying with us. If you have surfed before and just want to have another go yourself, there are plenty of shops hiring various types of surfboards and wetsuits either for the day, the week, at really reasonable prices. Again, most are open all year round.
Newquay is particularly high on any surfers map due to the diversity of different beaches facing different ways to the Atlantic ocean. This provides, on any given day, a choice of the size of the wave and the wind direction. This means that no matter what the conditions, you would usually be able to find a surf beach that suits you and is working better when the others are not. This makes it possible for all levels of surfers to find the right surf break for them.
Read on to find out more about the 3 best surf beaches and breaks in Newquay, in our guide below.
Starting with the most famous surf beach of them all, Fistral bay is bounded by two promontories – Towen Head (at the North) and Pentire Point East ( at the south ). The straight sandy beach faces West North West onto the Atlantic and is approximately 750m long. It is backed by beautiful steep sand dunes and is overlooked by the equally well known Headland Hotel. Its west facing aspect exposes it to Atlantic swells ensuring consistent waves all year round.
The various banks that break along Fistral from South to North, makes it possible to find the perfect break for you to surf whether you are goofy foot or natural or prefer surfing on your forehand or back. But be warned when Fistral beach is on top form, it is not for the faint-hearted! Only the more experienced surfer can handle Fistral at it’s best.
The Cribber reef at the North end of Fistral causes waves to break when the swell is really big. It is considered to be Cornwall’s ‘premier big wave’ with wave faces as high as 30 feet and spectacular to watch. Fistral Beach is the venue for major international surfing competitions including Boardmasters, plus it is the home for The British Surfing Association and Newquay Lifesaving Club.
Lifeguard cover: daily from Easter Bank Holiday through to the end of October.
Parking: There is a 250 space paid car park at the back of the beach, plus road side parking at South Fistral on the cliff.
Also known as Newquay town beach, this surfing hot spot is right in the middle of the action of downtown Newquay. The beach is boarded to the West by Newquay Harbour and at the east by ‘The Island’, a towering rocky outcrop which is connected to the mainland by a suspension bridge. Towen is overlooked by quite a few bars and restaurants and the Killer Court Green on top of the cliff.
The two beaches next door, Great Western and Tolcarne, can be reached at low tide forming one extended sandy strip. These three beaches are often used more by surf lessons, beginners and the less experienced surfers due to the protection the cliff on the left had side providing slightly smaller and more manageable waves.
Lifeguard cover: weekends only in April And October, daily cover from May 1st until the end of September and October half term.
Parking: in the main town with many small car parks around the high street.
Just slightly out of Newquay by car or accessible by foot Newquay side off Pentire Headland. This beach is a sheltered river bank that has pretty consistent surf and can work any time of the year. Crantrock tends to receive a mix of ground swells & wind swells. The cliffs at the south end of the beach provide shelter from SW winds and there is a good left hander to be found here. At the North end of the beach is the River Gannel, which can form a quality righthand sand break.
Lifeguard cover: daily from May 1st through till end of September.
Parking: Crantock side is a beach car park behind the dunes or the use of The Bowgie Inn pub car park. Alternatively park on Pentire Headland and walk down the cliffs.
So, as you can see, no matter what your level of surfing is, or indeed if you have never tried it and want to give it a go, Newquay has lots to offer surfers and others too. Surfing truly is a unique experience, not to be missed, and it will definitely have you hooked once you’ve surfed your first wave. So, what are you waiting for, pick one of the surf beaches and breaks in Newquay, go out there, catch a wave and get yourself some fun, for all the family!