Best Surf Spots In The Winter In Cornwall
When the Atlantic wakes up from its summer hiatus in September and October swells start to build in size and increase in frequency. Our typical go-to beaches like Fistral, Perranporth, Watergate Bay can get too big or too stormy - also known as “blown out” - so if you're grabbing your winter wetsuit, your wetsuit boots and wetsuit gloves, where should you head?
Here’s our top sheltered surf breaks in Cornwall during the winter months;
Newquay Bay, Newquay
Newquay Bay is made up of Towan, Great Western, Tolcarne and Lusty Glaze beaches. At low tide they all join up to make one big bay. Newquay Bay is very sheltered from big swells. Towan is typically half the size of Fistral Beach and offshore in the stormy SW winds. Warning it does get busy with new surfers. At low tide expect a big closeout but on the mid incoming tide some good rides are possible.
Pentewan, St Austell
Pentewan Sands is a beach located near St Austell in Cornwall, England. It's known for its beautiful sandy stretch and is considered a more sheltered location compared to some other surf spots in Cornwall. Facing straight East, it needs those big winter swells to push swell up the English channel and wrap into the bay. As such it’s offshore in stormy west winds.
Harlyn Bay, Padstow
Situated in a northerly direction and partially protected by the prominent Trevose Head, Harlyn showcases its true potential during substantial swells and south-westerly winds, particularly throughout the winter months.
During the summer season, Harlyn proves to be an excellent spot for novice surfers, offering decent swells for learning. However, it presents a challenging wave with a fast, sucky, and occasionally hollow quality. This break remains surfable across most tide conditions.
On the flip side, Harlyn may experience crowding, especially when the rest of the North Coast is adversely affected and experiencing sizable waves.
In conclusion, Cornwall's winter surf scene unveils a different character as the Atlantic stirs from its summer slumber, bringing larger and more frequent swells. When the familiar favorites like Fistral, Perranporth, and Watergate Bay become too formidable in the face of storms, surf enthusiasts seek refuge in Cornwall's more sheltered breaks.
Newquay Bay, comprising Towan, Great Western, Tolcarne, and Lusty Glaze beaches, stands out as a haven from imposing swells. Despite its popularity, especially at Towan, the bay offers a respite with offshore conditions in stormy southwest winds. While low tide may bring formidable closeouts, the mid-incoming tide presents opportunities for exhilarating rides.
Pentewan Sands near St Austell emerges as a serene choice, boasting a beautiful sandy stretch and a sheltered location that welcomes big winter swells pushing up the English Channel. Its east-facing orientation makes it offshore during stormy west winds, providing a peaceful haven for surfers seeking a break from the chaos.
Harlyn Bay, nestled near Padstow, reveals its true prowess during winter, benefiting from northern protection and thriving in substantial swells and south-westerly winds. In the summer, it transforms into a welcoming spot for beginners, although its challenging wave with fast, sucky, and occasionally hollow characteristics demands respect. Harlyn, however, contends with crowding, especially when the rest of the North Coast grapples with sizable waves.
As winter unfolds its dynamic waves along the Cornish coastline, these sheltered surf breaks offer both solace and excitement to surfers eager to navigate the changing moods of the sea.