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Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, surfing in Cornwall is something you must experience.

With a reputation as one of the world’s best surfing spots, there’s plenty of beaches to try out and explore.

England’s sunny southern county enjoys its warmest sea temperatures in the summer months. Despite this, you’ll find most surfing beaches in Cornwall enjoy the best surf in autumn and winter. 

Read on to find out our top beaches for surfing in Cornwall to help plan your coastal adventures…

1. Fistral Beach, Newquay

fistral beach
There’s a reason this amazing beach plays host to Boardmasters each year!

With barrel-capable beach breaks, Fistral Beach is at the heart of the surf scene in Newquay. Arguably Cornwall’s best surfing beach, it’s a must-visit for both beginners and experienced surfers.

The Cribbar is a reef sitting at the northern end of Fistral Beach. This reef causes waves to break when the swell is high, with the highest wave ever reported at 30 feet high!

Beginners can look forward to lessons with Fistral Beach Surf School. Keen surfers should visit during winter in February when the surf is at its cleanest and swell is high.

2. Widemouth Bay, Bude

widemouth bay
Staying in the northern area of Cornwall’s surfing spots, next we have Widemouth Bay in Bude. This long, sandy beach enjoys exposed conditions with consistent surf year round.

Home to the only designated surfing area in Bude, Widemouth Bay is great for beginners thanks to the sloping sandbanks and low swell.

Black Rock reef to the south and Camel Rock reef to the north produce quality waves. Plenty of surf schools reside at Widemouth Bay providing you with lots of choice.

3. Towan Beach, Newquay

Catch some of the sandy beach breaks on another of Newquay’s finest, Towan Beach. The beach stretches from Newquay harbour to the neighbouring Great Western Beach.

Towan Beach is another of the excellent surfing beaches in Cornwall for beginners. It enjoys a less fierce swell and calmer winds than its close neighbour, Fistral Beach.

Catch the somewhat fickle Fly Cellars wave at the far left corner of the beach. Enjoy one of the best things to do in Newquay with some fantastic left-hand breaking waves, best at spring low tides.

Practice your skills here before upgrading to The Cribbar’s more exciting offerings.

4. Gwithian Towans Beach, Gwithian near St Ives

surfers on gwithian towans beach
Heading southward, we come to Gwithian Towans Beach. The waves coming in from St Ives Bay gradually increase in size the further towards Godrevy you go.

This dog-friendly beach is one of the best surfing spots thanks to the possibility of barrels at low tide, and some long walling lefts and rights.

Check out our top dog-friendly beaches in Cornwall to find more beautiful beaches to visit with your pup.

5. Sennen Cove, Sennen

sennen cove
Less than two miles from Land’s End, Sennen Cove sits at the toe end of Cornwall. Settled in a crescent shape, the beach has board hire and is suitable for learners.

Picking up as much swell as the north coast beaches, you’ll find bigger waves towards the northern end of the beach at North Rocks.

Experienced surfers can head in search of Cowloes, a reef resting around 100m from the shore. Definitely one for those who know the area, you can find excellent surf here but beware of the semi-submerged rocks.

For more extreme sports here, why not try some rock climbing in Sennen Cove? It’s on our list of best places to go climbing in Cornwall.

6. Seaton Beach, Seaton near Looe

seaton beach
Representing the south-eastern Cornish surfing scene is Seaton Beach. This small, little-known location near Looe enjoys some of the best surfing in Cornwall when it comes, but it isn’t often!

Find the best conditions at Seaton Beach in February. Make sure to be mindful of the powerful rips and the pull from the mouth of the River Seaton.

At low tide you can walk all the way down to Downderry Beach, while Seaton Valley Country Park is a lovely spot for a post-surf picnic.

7. Crantock Beach, Crantock

crantock beach
Offering one of the more idyllic surfing spots is Crantock Beach. Owned by the National Trust and sitting between rugged cliffs, it’s a haven for wildlife too.

Crantock rests alongside the River Gannel, across from Newquay. Flanked by the Pentire Headlands, it offers a sheltered river break.

Enjoy Crantock Beach’s consistent surf throughout the year; Fistral’s quieter and calmer neighbour.

8. Praa Sands Beach, Praa Sands near Marazion

praa sands beach
Praa Sands Beach is another south coast spot representing some of the best surfing in Cornwall. This popular beach can get quite busy, but it’s worth trying to squeeze in to enjoy those barrel waves near high tide.

Visit Praa Sands Beach in Spring, specifically April, to get the best surf. Walk out along the mile-long golden sands to Hendra. Here you can pick up a little more swell, a favourite amongst bodyboarders too.

Surfing in Cornwall is just one of the ways to enjoy the ocean. Why not embark on a sea adventure on a Cornwall boat trip, whether a sea safari or fishing excursion?

Take your pick from the many Cornwall cottages by the beach for some amazing surfing in Cornwall with Cornish Cottage Holidays.

Image credits – Steve DanielsCC BY-SA 2.0; NilfanionCC BY-SA 3.0; Ian KnightCC BY-SA 2.0; Rod AlldayCC BY-SA 2.0; Reading TomCC BY 2.0; Nigel WassellCC BY-SA 2.0; Reading TomCC BY 2.0; Lawrie CateCC BY 2.0.