Skip to content

Where to watch, learn and go surfing in Cornwall

The country’s top surfing talent is coming to Perranporth over the May Bank Holiday weekend when our local beach hosts the English National Surfing Championships. The event puts the spotlight on Perranporth as a first-class surfing destination – not only for the professionals, but for beginners and improvers too. To welcome this major surfing event we’ve put together this guide on where to watch, learn and go surfing in North Cornwall.

Where to Watch Surfing

Go to any beach in Cornwall, at any time of year, and you’re likely to see surfers in the water. When conditions are ‘on’, the cliffs above Droskyn Point in Perranporth are as good as any place to watch some surfing action.

This is one of the main reasons why Perranporth was selected to host the English National Surfing Championships – as well as great beach facilities and potentially good waves, there are great vantage points to watch and judge the contest.

The English championships from 4-5th May will see the best surfers from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and other coastal counties compete at this beautiful beach for the coveted title of English Surf Champion. As such it is one of the UK’s largest surf competitions with entrants in many categories from the under 12s to veteran surfers.

Then a month later, Fistral Beach in Newquay will host one of the UK’s most exciting and unique surf events. At the Night Surf contest, which this year falls over the weekend of 7-8th June, the surfing action starts in the late afternoon and continues late into the night when the beach is illuminated by floodlights. It’s quite a spectacle and is backed by live music and entertainment.

Cornwall’s best known surfing contest takes place at Fistral Beach in August when Boardmasters comes to town. Over the weekend of the 7-11th August, pro surfers from the UK and some top level competitors from other countries battle it out for the Boardmasters title, during this huge surf, skate and music festival.

If you’re in Perranporth later in the year, surfing of the more genteel kind can be enjoyed at the annual World Bellyboard Championships on Sunday 8th September. Here you can enjoy a party atmosphere as masses of wave riders take to the water in old-fashioned swimsuits and attire on original wooden bellyboards in this quirky but fun contest.

Where to Learn Surfing

There are surf schools at many of the main beaches in North Cornwall. It’s such a popular holiday activity that it’s not rare to see hundreds of beginners on the beach learning to surf at the same time. To ensure water safety and quality tuition, try to pick a surf school that has surf school accreditation from Surfing England, a scheme that is backed by the International Surfing Association (ISA).

Here in Perranporth we have two excellent surf schools, both with Surfing England accreditation. The Perranporth Surf School is open all year-round offering surfing lessons on this beautiful sandy beach. Stoked Surf School also offer individual and group lessons for all standards of surfers.

If you’re staying closer to St Agnes, try Breakers Surf School which offers beginner lessons at Trevaunance Cove. Meanwhile the Porthtowan Surf School is a good option for small group surfing lessons at a relatively quiet beach.

Where to Go Surfing

Once you learn the basics of wave riding, the world is your oyster. Or rather, the Cornish coast is your surf playground. There are numerous beaches, coves, inlets and headlands which attract Atlantic swells and create fun, rideable waves to for all abilities.

If you don’t already have your own board, local surf shops Piran Surf and Bathsheba in Perranporth have a wide choice of surfboards and equipment to hire or buy.

If you’re staying with us in and around Perranporth you’re likely to spend a lot of time surfing at Droskyn at the southern end of Perranporth Beach. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, take the long stroll down to the other end of the beach for fun barrels and uncrowded surf at Penhale.

Neighbouring Holywell Bay is also a great spot for improving surfers. It rarely gets too busy at this dune-backed beauty spot. Next along the coast is Crantock with strong shorebreaks at low tide and long peeling waves into the Gannel Estuary at high tide.

Obviously no surfer can ignore the pull of wave-riding in Newquay which is the centre of the British surfing scene. Top of the list is Fistral Beach which often produces top quality waves but can get crowded with very good surfers and hoards of surf school beginners. On bigger days head to the more sheltered beaches of Towan, Great Western and Tolcarne beaches in Newquay Bay.

Book Your Surf Holiday in North Cornwall

These are just some of our favourite places to watch, learn and go surfing in North Cornwall. There are numerous other places where you can ride waves and get under the skin of the Cornish surf culture. Just grab a map or a local guidebook and go and explore the coastline for a true wave riding adventure.

Whether you’re heading to North Cornwall for a surfing holiday or just want to watch some surfing action while you’re here, we have a superb range of self-catering holiday accommodation at or near the beach in Perranporth, St Agnes and the surrounding villages.

Browse our collection of coastal cottages, houses and apartments for your next surfing adventure.

Share this Story

Also of