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
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.
With a lack of certainty surrounding the future, being and feeling healthy may help bring the security that you need during these unpredictable times.
When it comes to your health, there is a direct relationship between nutrition and physical activity that play an enormous part in physical, mental, and social well-being. As COVID-19 continues to impact almost every aspect of our lives, the uncertainty of the future may seem looming. Sometimes improvisation is necessary, and understanding how to stay healthy and fit can significantly help you manage your well-being during these times.
Tip 1: Communicate with your current wellness providers and set a plan
Gyms, group fitness studios, trainers, and professionals can help you to lay out a plan that will either keep you on track through all of the changes and restrictions or help you to get back on the ball so that all of your health objectives are met.
Most facilities and providers are setting plans to provide for their clients and customers to accommodate the unpredictable future. The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C. An enormous amount is on the table for this coming fall and winter; if your gym closes again, what is your plan? If outdoor exercising is not an option due to the weather, what is your plan? Leaving things to chance will significantly increase your chances of falling off of your regimen and will make consistency a big problem.
The key to remaining consistent is to have solid plans in place. This means setting a plan A, plan B, and perhaps even a plan C.
Tip 2: Stay active for both mental and physical health benefits
The rise of stress and anxiety as a result of the uncertainty around COVID-19 has affected everyone in some way. Staying active by exercising helps alleviate stress by releasing chemicals like serotonin and endorphins in your brain. In turn, these released chemicals can help improve your mood and even reduce risk of depression and cognitive decline. Additionally, physical activity can help boost your immune system and provide long term health benefits.
With the new work-from-home norm, it can be easy to bypass how much time you are spending sedentary. Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity. Struggling to find ways to stay active? Start simple with activities like going for a walk outside, doing a few reps in exchange for extra Netflix time, or even setting an alarm to move during your workday.
Tip 3: Start slow and strong
If you, like many others during the pandemic shift, have taken some time off of your normal fitness routine, don't push yourself to dive in head first, as this may lead to burnout, injury, and soreness. Plan to start at 50 percent of the volume and intensity of prior workouts when you return to the gym. Inactivity eats away at muscle mass, so rather than focusing on cardio, head to the weights or resistance bands and work on rebuilding your strength.
Be aware of your sitting time and balance it with activity.
Tip 4: If your gym is open, prepare to sanitize
In a study published earlier this year, researchers found drug-resistant bacteria, the flu virus, and other pathogens on about 25 percent of the surfaces they tested in multiple athletic training facilities. Even with heightened gym cleaning procedures in place for many facilities, if you are returning to the gym, ensuring that you disinfect any surfaces before and after using them is key.
When spraying disinfectant, wait a few minutes to kill the germs before wiping down the equipment. Also, don't forget to wash your hands frequently. In an enclosed space where many people are breathing heavier than usual, this can allow for a possible increase in virus droplets, so make sure to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Staying in the know and preparing for new gym policies will make it easy to return to these types of facilities as protocols and mutual respect can be agreed upon.
Tip 5: Have a good routine that extends outside of just your fitness
From work to working out, many routines have faltered during the COVID pandemic. If getting back into the routine seems daunting, investing in a new exercise machine, trainer, or small gadget can help to motivate you. Whether it's a larger investment such as a Peloton, a smaller device such as a Fitbit, or simply a great trainer, something new and fresh is always a great stimulus and motivator.
Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine.
Just because you are working from home with a computer available 24/7 doesn't mean you have to sacrifice your entire day to work. Setting work hours, just as you would in the office, can help you to stay focused and productive.
A good night's sleep is also integral to obtaining and maintaining a healthy and effective routine. Adults need seven or more hours of sleep per night for their best health and wellbeing, so prioritizing your sleep schedule can drastically improve your day and is an important factor to staying healthy. Make sure that when you do wake up well-rested, you are getting out of your pajamas and starting your day with a morning routine. This can help the rest of your day feel normal while the uncertainty of working from home continues.
Tip 6: Focus on food and nutrition
In addition to having a well-rounded daily routine, eating at scheduled times throughout the day can help decrease poor food choices and unhealthy cravings. Understanding the nutrients that your body needs to stay healthy can help you stay more alert, but they do vary from person to person. If you are unsure of your suggested nutritional intake, check out a nutrition calculator.
If you are someone that prefers smaller meals and more snacks throughout the day, make sure you have plenty of healthy options, like fruits, vegetables and lean proteins available (an apple a day keeps the hospital away). While you may spend most of your time from home, meal prepping and planning can make your day flow easier without having to take a break to make an entire meal in the middle of your work day. Most importantly, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
Tip 7: Don't forget about your mental health
While focusing on daily habits and routines to improve your physical health is important, it is also a great time to turn inward and check in with yourself. Perhaps your anxiety has increased and it's impacting your work or day-to-day life. Determining the cause and taking proactive steps toward mitigating these occurrences are important.
For example, with the increase in handwashing, this can also be a great time to practice mini meditation sessions by focusing on taking deep breaths. This can reduce anxiety and even lower your blood pressure. Keeping a journal and writing out your daily thoughts or worries can also help manage stress during unpredictable times, too.
While the future of COVI9-19 and our lives may be unpredictable, you can manage your personal uncertainties by focusing on improving the lifestyle factors you can control—from staying active to having a routine and focusing on your mental health—to make sure that you emerge from this pandemic as your same old self or maybe even better.