The 9 Best Surf Spots in the South West

Surfers in the sea at Croyde Bay

Scattered across the South West coast are some pretty incredible surf spots. Whittling them down to only nine is pretty challenging, especially as we’re aiming to only provide the best surf spots for you to scope out.

We’ll be exploring an array of areas that are great for beginner, intermediate and advanced level! If you are a beginner and you’re looking to suit up for your surf, buy wetsuits online from our store here, at Wetsuit Centre!

Sennen Cove Beach, Penzance

A reputable surf spot that’s favoured and famed for its consistency and picturesque quality. Sennen Cove is one of Cornwall’s most stunning beaches, it offers some of the finest surf in the UK.

The beach is only 1.5km from Land’s End and has two car parks for excellent accessibility. The beach proudly hosts the UK’s top surf school, so it’s perfect for beginners to check out!

For beginners, it’s advised to stick to the south end as it’s more sheltered with less powerful waves, whereas experienced surfers should check out the north side where the waves can top 6 ft.

Porthtowan, Truro

Thanks to the Atlantic swells, you can expect the waves at Porthtowan to be pretty big, powerful and hollow. We wouldn’t recommend beginners to paddle out for a surf, it’s probably best left to the more experienced surfers.

Beginners might find a close-by beach, Trevaunce, much more enjoyable as it’s sheltered.

Porthleven, Helston

Porthleven, Helston

This surfing spot is great for more experienced surfers due to the beach's strong breaks and undercurrents. The tough conditions lower the competition across the three-mile sandy shingle. However, keep an eye out for the submerged rocks.

Gwithian

Gwithian is situated in the North of St Ives Bay. The beach is protected from harsh winds, unlike other beaches in the country, which makes it one of our favourite surf spots.

The popular spot is very rarely flat, so you can be sure to catch a wave. As well as catering to more experienced surfers, it is also a prime location to learn how to surf.

If you’re keen to get involved with a surf school, there are a couple surf schools in the area that can help you advance. The waves are usually quite slow, which will help beginners to stand up and build their confidence.

The best conditions for surfing here are east-southeast offshore winds and the best swell direction is from the west-northwest. Be aware of rips and crowds as they tend to be the biggest threats when in the sea here. 

Woolacombe beach

Woolacombe

Situated in North Devon, Woolacombe’s beach is a three-mile expanse of glistening, golden sand that welcomes every surfer- from beginners to pros!

If you are a beginner or fancy a day out with the family, you can check out the surf schools in the area. Woolacombe was rated Britain’s best beach in 2015 and 2016, although its title has since been stolen, it’s still up there when it comes to one of the best surf spots in Britain.

The surf will work at all points of the tide. If the conditions aren’t ideal, you can head over to the far end near Baggy Point, where you will find Putsborough. Putsborough tends to be much more sheltered, but don't be fooled, it can provide heavy sets on the right day.

Bantham

Bantham is the home of surfing in the south of Devon, even prince Charles is said to have visited the beach for a day out riding the waves.

The surf has a consistent swell with quality waves that are highly dependent on the sandbanks. Because the beach is at the head of a river Avon, these can shift, and the summer tends to be quite flat.

Bantham is best around low tide and in the spring. The best conditions are when a southwest swell combines with an offshore wind from the northeast.

Croyde Bay

Croyde

Situated between a favoured climbing spot, Baggy Point, and a popular beach, Saunton, Croyde is increasingly popular because of its faster waves favoured by more advanced, shortboard surfers on a low tide.

But that’s not to say beginners can’t get in on the action too; there is an abundance of surf schools available for less experienced surfers. Or you can check out a much steadier surf with milder waves over at Saunton!

Croyde beach is best at low tide. Parking, toilets and outdoor showers are available.

Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay is favoured for its accessibility for new surfers, so grab your beginner’s surfboard and head straight in. Similar to Woolacombe, it provides many different peaks on its long shoreline and tends to work regardless of tides.

A boy riding a wave at The Wave in Bristol

Bristol

Slightly unorthodox when compared to the stunning coast of the South West. In November 2019, Bristol opened The Wave, powered by WaveGarden technology. It’s one of the top-rated artificial wave pools in the world.

The Wave can create 15-20 wave sets with only a few minutes intervals so you can grab 10-15 waves in one hour’s session.

Let us know about your favourite surf spots; we’d love to hear from you! You can also check out our social media channels to stay up to date!