Cornwall LivingIssue #140

Our favourite surf spots in Cornwall

Words by Lily Meyers

Not only is Cornwall one of the most beautiful tourist destinations the UK has to boast, but it’s also home to some of the most incredible surf spots imaginable. Wave chasers and surfing fanatics have been visiting this rugged southwestern county for decades and have managed to make it a popular meeting point to take advantage of some of the best waves on offer. Let’s take a look at some of our favourite surf spots in Cornwall.


Beginning at Newquay, the heart of the town is arguably Fistral beach. With its golden sands and reliable waters, it’s a pilgrimage site for surfers of all skill levels. The beach isn’t just a hotspot for riding waves; it’s a testament to Cornwall’s profound connection with the sea. It’s no wonder that international surfing events often grace the shores. I’ve stood many a time at the sandbanks of this amazing location, and there’s nothing quite like the feeling of being swallowed up by the fresh salt in the air and the gentle crash of the Atlantic waters.


Next on any wave lover’s list should be Gwithian, especially if you’re looking for more of a relaxing surf spot. If you come here, you’ll be met with an extensive beach lined with towering cliffs that represent the untouched beauty of the Cornish seaside. When you’re at Gwithian, it’s like time slows down. The worries of the world fade away with each wave, and you’re left with nothing but the serenity of the moment and the gentle caress of the breeze. It’s a place where reflection comes easy, where the lull of the tides invites you to contemplate life’s mysteries or simply indulge in the art of doing nothing at all.


Polzeath beach is also a strong contender for a surfing break, with its crystal clear waters and gentle waves. The village surrounding it adds to the allure, offering a charming backdrop to your adventures. The beach break, characterised by a gently sloping sandy seabed, forms the foundation of Polzeath’s surf friendly environment. It’s known as “one of the north coast’s best surfing destinations”.

 Sennen Cove

If you’re looking for a more challenging adventure, you might want to wander over to Sennen Cove in Penzance, where the Atlantic waves will give you something to surf about. Situated at the southernmost tip of Cornwall, just under two miles from Land’s End, Sennen benefits from a substantial influx of swells. As an added bonus, it tends to catch southerly swells that wrap around its shores giving it two rather large opportunities for some serious surf. Typically, the waves are larger towards its northern extremity (referred to as North Rocks), often notably so. During higher tides, this can create an advantageous shore break.


Lastly, if you’re looking for both a stroll and a surf, head to Porthmeor beach which is nestled into the one and only St Ives. Its strategic location along the coastline allows it to catch consistent waves, making it a favourite spot for both beginners and experienced surfers. Its topography and positioning relative to the Atlantic Ocean contribute to its reputation, not to mention giving it a Caribbean feel. And if you’re hungry after? St Ives is home to some of the most fantastic belly warmers, perfect for an after-sea treat.