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Thursday, 20 August 2009

The joys of Cornish surfing

For British surfers the journey down to the county of Cornwall to catch a few waves is almost a right of passage, at some stage in our lives we all travel there at least once and for many of us its an annual event. Its true that Cornwall is one of the better UK surf locations and picks up plenty of swell on both its North and south coast, there are some waves of real class and the scenery is stunning however Cornwall isnt quite a surf paradise some may believe and every trip is going to be laced with highs and lows. Heres a few of the peaks and troughs of a visit to Cornwall:
  • Wherever you live in the UK, it will take a sizeable slice of your life just to get there. Cornwall funnels the overwhelming masses of summer traffic down an ever narrower strip of land, down ever narrower roads, resulting in endless traffic jams
  • Prevailing North coast winds are westerly.... its onshore a lot!
  • Every man and his dog feels the need to join the Cornish surf vibe during their 2 week holiday so EVERYONE brings a wetsuit, a bodyboard, foam surfboard etc and dives into the Atlantic with reckless abandon. The main beaches are like Zoos, but their "surfing" stories make great anecdotes during dinner parties back in Chelsea!
  • Everyone who owns a Caravan and or a four wheel drive, will be on the road at the same time you decide to drive to Cornwall
  • Not one single beginner knows about or is taught about dropping in. They will watch you ride a wave directly towards them, still try to paddle in front of you and then look surprised when they get run over!
  • Does the AA own any yellow VW T5 vans anymore or have they sold them all off to surfers?!
  • Every main beach especially in Newquay will have at least 3 surf schools running at any one time, whatever the weather and even if its flat. Some schools have 20 plus beginners in their classes!
  • It does go flat!
  • The water can be beautiful, with great visibility through crystal clear green waves
  • It is a big enough county to find your own wave away from the crowds if youre prepared to search
  • When the wind and swells do come together there are some quality waves to be had including, big wave spots, a rare reef or two, the odd point and plenty of barreling sand bars
  • If you are under 25 the nighlife in Newquay is legendary
  • If you are over 25 the nightlife in Newquay is a nightmare!
  • In the main surf towns every plot of land has been bought and developed with modern apartments for city boys to spend their ill gotten bonuses on...want to buy a "Surf pod" anyone?
Love it or hate it, Cornwall is the hub of the UKs surf culture and although there are plenty of other areas with better waves I dont think thats ever going to change.


Elise said...

Hello, I wanted to leave you a comment to say that I absolutely love your blog. I've so enjoyed looking at your pictures too. Everything is really interesting and well written.

Thanks so much for sharing and best wishes..

Dave said...

As a fellow surfer from Australia and soon to be UK long term tourist I find this Cornwall experience hard the swallow... I am extremely fortunate that I live close to the beach so at worst I may have 1 set of traffic lights that hold me up for an extra 3 mins to get down to the beach. When I get there if its been once again an extremely unlcuky day both surf school that run out of the area will be there with there 10 students each. So i will have to walk the extra 100m of a endless beach as far as the eye can see to find a quiet spot...

What frightens me about Cornwall is that I am more than motivated, enthusiastic and crazy enough to make the journey down there along with the masses, no knowing full and well what could be waiting for me.

I appreaciate your headsup and forwarning when I do make my eventual pilgrimage down there.

Great article,
Dejvi M

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