Cornwall LivingIssue #86
From wetsuits to dinner suits
Make the most of Newquay’s world-renowned surf breaks with a stay at The Headland Hotel, perched above Fistral beach.
There’s a uniqueness to surfing in Cornwall that very few places around the world can match. While the archetypal surfing dream is one of board shorts and bikinis against a backdrop of palm fronds swaying in the warm trade winds. Each year more and more people are discovering the delights of the cool, revitalising north Atlantic waters, paired against the charming contrast of comfort and foodie flavour back on land.
“fall asleep to the sound of the ocean outside your window, dreaming of what the next day will bring”
If Cornwall is a unique place to surf, then Fistral beach, below The Headland Hotel, is even more so. The connection with the sea begins the moment you arrive, with views directly overlooking the famous peak at north Fistral – home of the Boardmasters Surf Competition and other world tour events, and location of the infamous reef break with its often-gigantic waves, The Cribbar. At night, you fall asleep to the sound of the ocean outside your window, dreaming of what the next day will bring.
At breakfast, the sea conditions reveal themselves and all you have to think about are such things as whether to go for the mellow reforms in the white water, or the glassy peelers outback.
Situated below the Hotel you can find the Surf Sanctuary, a surf school offering superior views of the Atlantic waves, as well as racks of warm 5mm wetsuits and boards of all sizes to kit you out for any surf situation. So, simply put on your wetsuit, grab a board, choose your peak, paddle out and let the magic happen!
The cooler waters of the Atlantic help keep the crowds low compared to warmer locations with similar quantities of waves, and when you’re equipped to deal with the colder temperatures, you may well find that it offers another element of addiction to your surfing. Indeed, the feeling when you step out of the cool ocean, the salt water on your skin, glowing as your blood pumps to warm your body, is one of the great pleasures of life by the sea.
Back on land, drop your board back in the rack and head for The Headland Spa for a spell in the Cornish salt steam room or sauna, as you contemplate a relaxing evening ahead.
Watch the sun set into the Atlantic, as the same swells you were riding earlier continue to roll in from the horizon, bringing a distinct sense of contentment. Enjoy that tired but relaxed feeling that only a cold-water surf, followed by a steam and sauna, can bring.
As the austere Cornish cliffs contrast with the soft golden sand and turquoise sea, so too does the chill of the raw and wild ocean with the cosy modernity of the hotel.
For us, the only way to improve on the entire experience would be to select yourself a glass of award-winning Camel Valley Dry, from grapes watered by the very same rain clouds that pass over The Headland on their journey up the coast, partnered with some local shellfish, brought in by local fishing boats on the same tides that set the rhythms of your surfing adventures.
So, if our cover feature this month has got you in the mood to hit the surf this spring and summer, then a stay at Newquay’s Headland Hotel, as a base from which to launch your hunt for waves, comes highly recommended.
The Headland Hotel
"fall asleep to the sound of the ocean outside your window, dreaming of what the next day will bring"