Absolutely’s favourite UK surf spots for when you want to catch a wave on the UK coastline. All you need is a sense of adventure (and a wetsuit)…
Words by Pendle Harte
Polzeath might not offer the best surf in North Cornwall but it’s certainly one of the most popular spots. It’s a long beach and a friendly town with countless surf schools, surf shops and eateries aimed at surfers – non-surfers are in the minority here. Even David Cameron has been snapped catching waves in his wetsuit here. Sign up for a lesson with Wavehunters and they’ll provide you with all the kit and instruction you need.
Walking on Waves
One of the best beginner surf beaches in England, Saunton has manageable walls at all stages of the tide and is considered one of the premier long board waves in the country. These long, slow breaking left and rights dish out the perfect conditions to learn to surf in England, with 5-miles of open beach you can always find a peak to yourself.
This popular surf spot forms part of Pembrokeshire’s St Bride’s Bay. It’s one of the longest beaches in the area, stretching out for two miles of soft sand backed by a bank of pebbles. Surf conditions are usually reliable but it’s best to avoid high water when the waves hit the pebble bank. It’s suitable for beginners, and there’s always plenty of space. Newsurf is the only surf school situated on Newgale Beach but it’s perfect for all abilities, from beginners attempting to catch their first wave to those looking to improve their cut back. The school offers group and private lessons with a team of coaches who are all qualified surf instructors and qualified beach lifeguards. Other compelling factors include warm showers, a spacious car park and an on-site surf shop.
Are you prepared?
You will need…
1. A WETSUIT
The UK is not Mexico. You’ll need a wetsuit, even in summer, and probably a winter weight one. There’s nothing worse than freezing in cold water and for much of the year, surfing in the UK is eminently possible if you have the right kit. That will often include gloves, shoes and even a balaclava.
2. A BOARD
Dick Pierce’s stylish wooden belly boards are handcrafted in Cornwall and designed to last a lifetime. The classic boards rediscover the heritage of surfing and come in a wide range of stylish contemporary shades as well as the original wooden finish. Wooden boards are simpler than the newer stand-up boards; until the 1960s, no family holiday to Devon or Cornwall was complete without one.
It’s a long drive from London to Cornwall, and even further to Pembrokeshire, so weekending urbanites need to make sure that their cars are reliable and comfortable. There’s a lot of kit to carry and you may find yourself changing into a wetsuit in the back seat, and transporting surfboards on the roofrack. The Mazda CX-5 is spacious enough to transport a family plus kit to even the remotest surf spots.