Surfing in Cornwall at Porthtowan Beach

Surfing in Cornwall and especially at Porthtowan has long been a favourite amongst locals and visitors alike.

Porthtowan is well-known amongst surfers for its beautiful curling waves when conditions are right and with RNLI cover and cafe’s nearby, it’s a great beach to experience your first surf.

The sea at Porthtowan changes on a regular basis and during the summer months the ocean is generally calmer and kinder with smaller swells. In the Winter months, the swells and conditions change and become a bit wilder. The surfing conditions are also dependant on wind direction and a South Easterly will get the locals checking out the size of the swell to see if it’s a perfect set up. The picture below shows an experienced surfer tackling some challenging conditions.

Anyone can have a go and the local shops will happily give advice. The lifeguards patrol the beach between Easter and the end of September and they will set up red and yellow flags for bathers and black and white flags for surfers, so you can feel reassured you are in safe hands.

Surfing in Cornwall Porthtowan

Surf Schools

Porthtowan has two great surfing schools – Tris Surf Shop and Pure Blue Surf Academy (specialising in classes for women). Both offer lessons and Ryan at Tris Surf will hire out surfboards, body boards and wetsuits. Tris Surf  also sells clothing, surf wax, sun block and accessories. St Agnes, a ten minute drive away offers another two surf shops.

At low tide there is the vast expanse of sandy beach, sometimes stretching as far as Chapel Porth and to the right as you face the sea. Even if you don’t surf you can watch experienced surfers finding a ‘peak’ all to themselves.

Surfing in Cornwall at Porthtowan
Dom Kent Pure Blue Surf Academy

Body Boarding

For belly-boarding and body-boarding (often called Boogie Boarding) enthusiasts, there are often opportunities to ride the waves with Body boards even when the waves are not suitable for surfing. All members of the family can try this from the very young to the more mature as it’s usually quite safe and easy to do.

Surfing in Porthtowan Cornwall

See Porthtowan’s surf cam mounted on the Blue Bar and also the SURF REPORT and tide times guide.

When you are at the beach we would encourage all beach users to follow RNLI safety precautions as the ocean can be very unpredictable. During high seasons the beach is patrolled by RNLI lifeguards from 10am until 6pm.

Your lodge at Rosehill has an out door lock-up that will accommodate approx three surfboards up to 7′ 4″ long. Longboards can be placed under most lodges.

surfer on big wave
Ben ‘Skin Dog’ Skinner – Longboard style. photo by Sarah Bunt