North Cornwall Surfing Guide
THE GOOD BEACH GUIDE
From quiet nooks and coves to exciting surfing
venues, all flanked by magnificent coastal scenery, North Cornwall
has some of the cleanest beaches in Cornwall - and that's official.
The North Cornwall area is home to
some of the best beaches in Cornwall, which are perfect for family
holidays. There are also some excellent surfing beaches, such
as Polzeath and Harlyn Bay. Polzeath Port Isaac
Beach Safety In North Cornwall
The wild and rugged coast of north Cornwall with
its shining surf and golden beaches, holds both immense natural
beauty and hidden dangers for visitors to the area. Beach safety
is essentially an exercise in common sense, and if you and your
family take note of the advice that follows then you will enjoy
a happy and safe holiday in north Cornwall.
The 14 main tourist beaches in the district are
covered by lifeguards throughout the summer season and their instructions
should be obeyed at all times. Remember to listen for their whistle,
you may be in danger.
Where there is no lifeguard, please seek local
advice and always read warning notices before entering the water.
Lifeguard patrolled beaches employ the tried and
tested flag system, which is easy to understand and very hard
not to notice. The simple rules are that you should always bathe
between the red and yellow striped flags and must, on no account,
enter the water when the red flag is flying. A major hazard of
bathing in the ocean is the rip current. This is the seaward movement
of water caused by natural drainage of water brought in towards
the beach by the tide. These currents test all but the strongest
swimmers and are invisible to an inexperienced eye. The best advice
is always to bathe only on patrolled beaches. These currents,
along with offshore winds also dictate that inflatables should
never be taken into the sea. It is all too easy to loose control
and be swept out.
There is a large rise and fall of tides in north
Cornwall and the times of high and low water, as laid out on this
page, should always be checked before you set off on long walks
on the foreshore. The incoming tide rises rapidly and consequently
it is very easy to find yourself cut off. We want you to enjoy
your holiday, so please do not take any unnecessary risks. If
in doubt, seek expert advice - remember, it is not only your life
but the lives of the emergency services that can be put at risk
by you not taking the time to think!
Beach Safety Officer, North Cornwall District Council.
SAFETY ON THE COAST.
EMERGENCY AT SEA OR ON CLIFFS:
Be alert to people who may be in distress. You
could save a life. If you see a red flare, orange smoke or a craft
or person in difficulty, find a phone quickly, dial 999 and ask
for the Coastguard.
ON THE BEACH:
- Spot the dangers:
If in doubt stay out! Look for a beach patrolled by lifeguards
with zoned areas, i.e.
RED over YELLOW FLAGS for swimming, belly and
boogie board riding.
BLACK and WHITE CHEQUERED FLAGS for surf craft.
A RED FLAG means do not enter
the water DANGER.
- Know the difference:
You may be used to a nice warm indoor pool, but its not so easy
in cold outdoor water
- Check new places:
New places, may have dangers that you do not know about.
Ask the lifeguards, the locals, somebody who knows.
- Take Safety Advice:
Special flags and notices warn you. Know what they mean, do
what they tell you.
- Do not go alone:
Children should always go with a grown up, even at lifeguard
patrolled beaches, lifeguards are not babysitters.
- Learn how to help:
You may be able to help yourself and others if you know what
to do in an emergency, "so" join a lifesaving club at most swimming
pools or at a beach surf lifesaving club near to you.
For details contact the Beach Safety Officer on 01208
- Strange Objects:
Don't touch strange objects.
Dangerous items such as flares or canisters of chemicals may
sometimes be washed ashore.
Tell the Coastguard or the Police.
- Keep well clear of the cliff edge, it may be unstable and
even dry grass can be slippery.
- Before walking along the beach under cliffs, check the tide
times, you don't want to be cut off.
- Don't climb on cliffs unless properly equipped. You should
always notify the local Coastguard of your intentions.
- Don't dig into soft cliff faces. They could collapse and bury
- Don't sit on or walk close over rocks about to be washed by
the sea. You could be swept off.
SURFING BEACHES, TUITION AND
Unsafe. Picks up any swell hitting the North Coast. Badly affected
by westerly winds.
Dangers; Unsafe north side. Unsafe low water + 2hrs . Very experienced
Good beginners beach. Faces west, works best with the easterly
Typical Beach break with no defined peaks.
Wave quality alters with the tide and position of sandbanks.
Usually surfed low to 1/4 tide, with fast hollow waves.
Dangers Watch out for unsafe currents at low water + 2hrs. Rocks
at high water. Ferocious rip currents in surfover 5ft.
Southern end of Sandymouth. Rips make it unsuitable for beginners
unless surf is small. Best surf low to mid water.
Dangers Unsafe low water + 2hrs.
Works well in easterly winds, low tide through to high tide. Five
minutes out of Bude, popular with the locals, crowded in Summer.
Good right off Wangles Point to the north.
Dangers. Rips can be strong at low tide.
2 minutes from the town centre. On low tide a fast left hander
breaks outside the harbour wall. As the tide rises, a right hander
off the breakwater develops and short lefts off the swimming pool.
Dangers. Rip at low tide by the breakwater in surf bigger than
Good beginners beach. Works well on all stages of the tide. Popular
with all kinds of craft and abilities.
Dangers. Currents around rocks, especially at low water.
Good left break off rocks at southern end.
Best low water to 3/4 tide. Cliffs give shelter from the wind.
Dangers. Strong rips at southren end at low water. Rocks at high
No beach at high water. West facing picks up a lot of swell.
Northern end protected from north winds.
Dangers. Watch the tide!
SAFE. Good beginners beach break. Right hander off Pentire Point
headland at low water.
Popular with all types of surfcraft. Can get crowded in summer.
One of the U.K's most popular wave sailing venues good for all
Good right hander at most stages of the tide. Wave size often
increases as the tide rises.
Dangers. On big high tides a nasty shore dump can develop, best
avioded by beginners.
West facing bay one of the best swell pullers in North Cornwall.
Mid to high tide a wave breaks left and right in most swells.
At the southern end a left hander breaks over the rocks. Any wind
not from the east can ruin the wave.
Dangers. Notorious rip currents , be careful ! Not suitable for
beginners, rocks at the west end.
Northern end of Constantine. Excellent right hander for experienced
surfers only off the the rocks at the northern end of the beach
from mid to low tide.
Dangers. Not suitable for beginners. Strong rips and dangerous
West facing often above average beach break waves. Can be a left
hander at the southern end of the bay.
Dangers. There is a strong rip round and out of the bay.