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MY top 5 places to learn to surf in Cornwall



Surfing was only popularised in Cornwall in the 1960s, but since then the sport has swept the North Cornish Coastline. Cornwall boasts a large number of well-equipped surf schools available for any ability. To help you get your surfing journey started we’ve compiled a list of our five favourite beaches to surf and the surf schools they have to offer.


1. Polzeath

Polzeath is one of the safest beaches for surfing Cornwall has, with seasonal lifeguard cover and achieving blue flag status for its water quality. The waves here can range from 0ft to upwards of 20ft in a storm swell, so always check online before heading down. Polzeath has quite a few surf schools, including:

Wavehunters – We teach surfing lessons in Cornwall for all abilities on our beach in Polzeath and Watergate Bay. If you’ve never tried it before and are keen to take the first leap to your feet or you’re looking to master a manoeuvre or perfect your style, we can help.

Surfs Up – We’re a home grown ‘grassroots’ family business that has established itself as the number one surf training centre in the UK through reputation, recommendation and a track record of safe operation. And it’s our attitude to surf coaching that is unlike any other surf school in the UK – Innovative and progressive methods make the learning process fun and we’ve had time to develop our ideas over time. We offer the highest level of instruction through the most experienced coaching team in the UK.

George’s Surf School – We have created a culture around how we believe surfing should be taught. This is underpinned by friendly, welcoming, professional instructors and supported by an investment in a diverse range of the best boards and equipment for you to learn on and progress with. We teach the most up to date techniques and information, adapted for surfers of all ages.

2. Fistral

Arguably Cornwall’s most famous surfing, Fistral hosts several other large, national competitions each year. This is due to the consistency of the waves; if you’re looking for guaranteed waves this is the best place to go. Regarding surf schools, Fistral has a large amount to offer, these include:

Quicksliver Surf School – Our priority is delivering fun, professional surf lessons to get you catching waves, up and surfing with good technique, confidence and style. Our International Surf Association/ Surf England and Lifeguard qualified surf instructors will guide you through the basics using surf theory and in water practice to help you kick start your surfing journey.

Fistral Beach Surf School – With the UK’s largest dedicated surf hire we have got all abilities and conditions covered. Lessons for all abilitiesgroupsfamilies,individuals and more available.

3. Watergate Bay

Just up the coast from Newquay, Watergate Bay offers 2 miles of stretching sandy beach, at low tide. The rolling waves provide the perfect place for learning to surf. Lifeguards patrol the beach over the summer months meaning you can be assured you are in safe hands. Watergate also hosts a large number of competitions, including Boardmasters. Regarding surf schools, there are plenty of surf schools to choose from, including:

West Country Surf School – Offers lessons to any age group, with a maximum of 6 students per instructor. Whether you’re looking for a family surf lesson, want to get competitive in the ocean with your mates, or you want a one-to-one session with an expert, the team at West Country Surf School are experienced surfers and qualified lifeguards who will put you at ease during your session.

Blue Surf School – We believe in the power of the ocean; surfing is an amazing way to connect with it and is something that we think everyone should experience. At Blue Surf School we take great pride in making sure that each lesson is as good as it possibly can be. It is our aim that if you haven’t surfed before that you will walk away with a new passion that will stay with you for the rest of your life, keeping you fit, healthy and connected with nature

4. Mawgan Porth

Just north of Watergate Bay this a quite little village, with phenomenal beach. Set around four miles from Newquay, it allows you to escape the hustle and bustle of the town, and enjoy Cornwall at its finest. The waves are perfect for beginners and more experienced surfers alike. This beach has a more limited choice of surf schools, including:

King Surf – Kingsurf surf school provides fun, professional & safe surfing lessons for all abilities. From one lesson taster sessions to week long progressor surfing courses, we are the areas number #1 provider of quality surf tuition! Kingsurf surf school has operated in Mawgan Porth, Newquay, Cornwall, as a B.S.A and Surfing GB approved surf school since 1997, giving us the knowledge & experience to help you progress both quickly & safely. Our base offers warm, dry changing facilities and is ideally situated opposite our own privately licensed beach – guaranteeing uncrowded perfection in a unique, unspoiled location.

The Surf Club – The Surf Club Cornwall is a leading provider of surf lessons in Cornwall. For 2020 we are facilitating surf lessons for Married To The Sea surf shop in Mawgan Porth near Newquay. The Surf Club Cornwall is a Surfing England approved surf school, founded in 2006 by Nick Tiscoe who has expertise in private surf lessons. He is a current UK Pro Tour surfer and expert ISA Level 2 Instructor. Our qualified instructors will help you feel confident riding the waves, with as much fun as possible!

5. Harlyn

Harlyn is wide bay, that provides a sheltered beach with more gentle waves that are perfect for beginners. There’s also a large amount rock pools that can keep the rest of your group entertained whilst you’re in the sea. This is closest surfing beach in proximity to Padstow, making it convenient if you’re staying in this area. There is one main surf school that operates from this beach:

Harlyn Surf School – Harlyn Surf School, described by the Sunday Times as the ‘best surf school on the North Cornish Coast’ & now stepping into our 25th year of operating. Please click on our Covid Care logo for the latest customer arrival info, kit hire info and changes that will be in place for season 2020. There may be no better location in England to experience surf lessonsstand up paddleboardingcoasteering and kayaking than Cornwall. Harlyn Surf School in Cornwall is the go-to choice for a range of water sports activities.