Surf’s Up in Cornwall

4min read

You don't have to know very much about Cornwall to know that it is famous for its stunning coastline, amazing beaches and world-class surfing.

Why is Cornwall so good for surfing?

Cornwall has two coastlines, the more sheltered coastline of the south is peppered with pretty coves and sleepy creeks but if you head to the north coastline then this is the real surfer's paradise.

The north coast of Cornwall faces straight out into the Atlantic Ocean and it is a total magnet for swell. Add to this the milder climate than other parts of the British Isles and a range of great, wide beaches and bays and you have the perfect recipe for a surfing heaven. Just to confirm this reputation, Cornwall plays host to one of the biggest European competitions called the Fistral Boardmasters, named after the famous Fistral beach at Newquay which is one of Cornwall's hottest and most popular surfing locations.

The best surfing beaches in Cornwall

Here are some of the best beaches, all bar two are on the Atlantic coastline:-

Fistral Beach, Newquay – the place to go to see the pros at work so expect Fistral to be crowded in the summer months. The surfing is first class with swells of up to 8 feet. There is also the famous or infamous, Cribbar, also known as the Widow Maker which is a reef off the Towan Headland in Newquay. Cribbar is a mecca for wave seekers from across the world and can feature waves in excess of 30 feet.

Gwithian Beach, Hayle – Gwithian is a popular surfing beach but probably less crowded than Fistral. It is a pretty long beach so there seems to be plenty of room, the swell is fairly consistent and there are waves of varying sizes along the beach so it accommodates a range of surfers. It is, however, a windy beach and is quite exposed.

Perranporth Beach – Perranporth is enormous but if you want the best waves, then head for the Penhale end.

Polzeath Beach – Polzeath shelves quite gradually and so the waves are less powerful than at Fistral and some of the other top surfing beaches so Polzeath is a good beach for beginners and the less experienced.

Porthmeor Beach, St. Ives – also called, 'The Meor', not a regular surfing haunt as St. Ives generally doesn't pick up the north coast swell compared to other beaches on the Atlantic coastline. But with the wind in the right direction, you can surf at The Meor

Porthtowan - Porthtowan picks up more swell than Gwithian and is described as having fast and hollow waves which is what surfers are always chasing

Praa Sands, Helston – this location is on Cornwall's southerly coastline and a good surfing choice when the wind is coming from the north so expect to see lots of other surfers in these conditions. However, Praa is a big beach with room for all

Sennen Beach – Sennen is near Land's End and is the most westerly beach in Cornwall and consequently, one of the most exposed. There is a variety of wave heights and so Sennen is popular with different types of surfer

For beginners

Many people claim that the Cornish experience is not complete unless you have ridden the waves of the Atlantic. If you have never surfed before or are a surfing novice then there are loads of surf schools to choose from which welcome surfers of all ages and abilities including family groups. Learn some basic skills or hone those techniques which have lain unused since last summer. Surf schools teach you how to be safe so it is also worth a refresher if you haven't surfed for a while.

What type of wetsuit do you need?

If you are a keen surfer and want to surf in all weathers then most people opt for the full wetsuit. Beginners are often surprised that even in the summer you should wear a wetsuit but despite the temperatures out of the water, the sea will still be cold. So most UK surfers choose what is called a 3/2 for summertime surfing, this will be a full wetsuit. Shortie suits are great for kids who are splashing around in the shallows but for adults surfing in Cornwall, you will definitely want a full suit.

A 3/2 wetsuit means a suit where the thickness is 3mm on the core body area – back, stomach, chest and kidneys to keep the wearer warm - and 2mm on the arms and legs which makes it more flexible for paddling and swimming. Pick a suit with glued and blind-stitched seams for a totally watertight seal and one with a back zip which is the easiest to take on and off.

A 4/3 wetsuit follows the same principle – the body is 4mm and the limbs are 3mm and these are the suits you would choose for surfing in the autumn and winter months in Cornwall. If you surf in other parts of the UK which do not enjoy Cornwall's mild winters, most surfers would require a 5/4/3 with built-in hood, to accommodate the colder water temperatures.

Some surfing safety tips

  • To avoid colliding with other surfers or swimmers, keep a distance of around fifteen feet away – that's around the length of you and your board combined
  • If you are a beginner, always wear a leash or leg rope tied to the surfboard
  • Never put the board between yourself and the oncoming waves
  • If you are a beginner or a novice then always surf with a buddy for safety
  • When you come up, try to face the oncoming waves and look for your board as quickly as you can – loose boards in the sea are very dangerous for swimmers

Whatever standard of surfer you are, Cornwall can accommodate your surfing holiday dreams. Enjoy surf school tuition or perhaps surfing is just part of your family time on the beach alongside swimming and beach games. There are lots of beautiful Cornish cottages available to hire all along the Atlantic coastline, many with tremendous coastal views and the perfect compliment to long days spent on a sunny Cornish beach.

How to Learn Much More From the Books You Read

It is one thing to read and another thing to understand what you are reading. Not only do you want to understand, but also remember what you've read. Otherwise, we can safely say that if we're not gaining anything from what we read, then it's a big waste of time.

Whatever you read, there are ways to do so in a more effective manner to help you understand better. Whether you are reading by choice, for an upcoming test, or work-related material, here are a few ways to help you improve your reading skills and retain that information.

Read with a Purpose

Never has there been a shortage of great books. So, someone recommended a great cookbook for you. You start going through it, but your mind is wandering. This doesn't mean the cookbook was an awful recommendation, but it does mean it doesn't suit nor fulfill your current needs or curiosity.

Maybe your purpose is more about launching a business. Maybe you're a busy mom and can't keep office hours, but there's something you can do from home to help bring in more money, so you want information about that. At that point, you won't benefit from a cookbook, but you could gain a lot of insight and find details here on how-to books about working from home. During this unprecedented year, millions have had to make the transition to work from home, and millions more are deciding to do that. Either way, it's not a transition that comes automatically or easily, but reading about it will inform you about what working from home entails.


When you pre-read it primes your brain when it's time to go over the full text. We pre-read by going over the subheadings, for instance, the table of contents, and skimming through some pages. This is especially useful when you have formal types of academic books. Pre-reading is a sort of warm-up exercise for your brain. It prepares your brain for the rest of the information that will come about and allows your brain to be better able to pick the most essential pieces of information you need from your chosen text.


Highlighting essential sentences or paragraphs is extremely helpful for retaining information. The problem, however, with highlighting is that we wind up highlighting way too much. This happens because we tend to highlight before we begin to understand. Before your pages become a neon of colored highlights, make sure that you only highlight what is essential to improve your understanding and not highlight the whole page.

Speed Read

You might think there have been no new ways to read, but even the ancient skill of reading comes up with innovative ways; enter speed reading. The standard slow process shouldn't affect your understanding, but it does kill your enthusiasm. The average adult goes through around 200 to 250 words per minute. A college student can read around 450 words, while a professor averages about 650 words per minute, to mention a few examples. The average speed reader can manage 1,500 words; quite a difference! Of course, the argument arises between quality and quantity. For avid readers, they want both quantity and quality, which leads us to the next point.

Quality Reading

Life is too short to expect to gain knowledge from just one type of genre. Some basic outcomes of reading are to expand your mind, perceive situations and events differently, expose yourself to other viewpoints, and more. If you only stick to one author and one type of material, you are missing out on a great opportunity to learn new things.

Having said that, if there's a book you are simply not enjoying, remember that life is also too short to continue reading it. Simply, close it, put it away and maybe give it another go later on, or give it away. There is no shame or guilt in not liking a book; even if it's from a favorite author. It's pretty much clear that you won't gain anything from a book that you don't even enjoy, let alone expect to learn something from it.


If you're able to summarize what you have read, then you have understood. When you summarize, you are bringing up all the major points that enhance your understanding. You can easily do so chapter by chapter.

Take a good look at your life and what's going on in it. Accordingly, you'll choose the material that is much more suitable for your situation and circumstances. When you read a piece of information that you find beneficial, look for a way to apply it to your life. Knowledge for the sake of knowledge isn't all that beneficial. But the application of knowledge from a helpful book is what will help you and make your life more interesting and more meaningful.