Where to Surf in Cornwall for Beginners

Discover top beginner-friendly surfing spots in Cornwall with our curated list. From the iconic waves of Newquay to the tranquil shores of Polzeath, we've handpicked beaches for surfers of all levels.

The number one question we receive after a surf lesson is ‘Where else is good for surfing in Cornwall?’. While there are tons of great surfing beaches, we have narrowed the list down to a few of our favourites. Make sure to incorporate beaches that not only accommodate experienced surfers but are perfect for beginners to intermediates also. Choosing family-friendly, local spots that will be perfect for all. Cornwall hasn’t received its reputation as a surf destination for no reason and below are five of them! 


The original Cornish Surf town, Newquay’s vibrant surf culture will indulge your surfing needs. With multiple surfing spots such as Towan, Tolcarne, Lusty Glaze, Great Western and the local favourite Fistral Beach. Fistral offers the perfect spot for beginners of all ages, with multiple surf schools and a fun wave, learning to surf has never been easier. Fistral is a lifeguarded beach, surrounded by family restaurants, public loos, easy-access car parks and a host of surf shops to stock up on new gear. If you keep an eye out on local news, Fistral often hosts surf competitions from Surfing England’s Nationals to Boardmasters surf competition.

Then, sitting on the outskirts of Newquay is our favourite Watergate Bay. With everything Fistral has to offer also at Watergate Bay, the fully accessible beach has been a local favourite for many years. Learning to surf with us at our Watergate Bay location allows you to practice in the comfort of a safe beach, with highly experienced surf instructors and the most up-to-date surf hire equipment. Take advantage of our changing rooms and showers, by enjoying a surf lesson then dining at the local restaurants followed by a surf again! The opportunity to spend the day in the ocean as if it were the comfort of your own home is unbeatable. While we may be a little biased, our goal has been to create a surf school for all and we have done just that. 


Now onto the next spot a little further up the coast, Perranporth beach. With its expansive sandy beach, Perranporth offers a wave for all from beginners to intermediate to advanced surfers. Perranporth’s changeable conditions assure you that not every surf is the same, from small breaking waves to large surf that challenges and invigorates your surfing experience. While Perranporth offers slightly larger waves than most beaches, it is lifeguarded from Easter to November making it as safe as any other spot. The gentle sandy slope into the beach creates a beautiful rolling wave that will allow beginners to excel in their skills. But if someone needs a little more guidance, head to one of the many surf schools operating on the beach, such as Stoked Surf School, to ensure a fun, safe introduction to surfing. 

Porthmeor, St Ives

The popular holiday location St Ives doesn’t just offer beautiful buildings, cobbled stone roads and quaint shops, it is also another surfing spot! Porthmeor beach, a popular north-facing location that often offers shelter from Southerly winds, allows a more consistent offshore wind. Perfect for creating those clean, glassy waves. Porthmeor offers simple, small and fun waves for all abilities, which is why it has landed a spot on this list. Looking for a bit of extra support when in the water? Head over to St Ives’ surf school, their expertise will show you how to fully enjoy their local wave and guide your surfing to the next level.

Widemouth Bay

Widemouth Bay Beach will take your breath away with its open, expansive sandy beach lined with exposed rocks, showcasing the rugged cliffs that shape it.  From beginners to experienced, this beach offers constantly breaking peaks across the whole of the beach, whether you prefer turning left or right, this wave has something for everyone- especially at high tide. With parking a 10-minute walk away, this is an accessible beach for all. Don’t forget the lovely cafe near the beach for the coffee refuel before heading in for another surf session! If you are still feeling a bit nervous about surfing alone, head over to OA Surf Club, with over 20 years of experience they will ensure your surfing session is safe yet enjoyable offering you the secret tips for surfing at this popular spot. 


Save the best for last? Of course, this is only sometimes true as all beaches offer different waves, food and experiences but having run a surf school at Polzeath Beach for 20 years, it holds a special place for us. Due to Polzeath’s sheltered beach, the gentle wave that rolls in is beginner-friendly, creating the perfect place to learn skills that can often feel daunting for a beginner. Turtle rolls, Duck diving, catching your first unbroken/green wave and turning can all be safely practised on this beach. Polzeath is hugged by the beautiful north coast cliff with rocks lining the beach on either side. With its gently sloping beach, the surf can be enjoyed at most tide heights be it 2-3ft or 8-10ft, Polzeath will always have a safe wave. The car park is on the beach and sits in front of 3 cafes that offer healthy and fun snacks while on the beach. Our Polzeath location is situated on the beach and rents out high-quality equipment from Easter to November. The team will expertly advise you on where to surf, when to surf and what equipment is needed for the day. We have every aspect of your surfing needs covered. 

Beginner Surfing Spots in Cornwall

As you can see, there are a fair few reasons why these locations are great for beginners, from being safely covered by lifeguards, highly experienced surf schools operating on all of them and the fun small waves each beach offers. There is always a gentle wave to be found even on the bigger stormier days. We always encourage beginners to explore the different locations to add to their surfing experience. It’s never been easier to venture across the coast, with excellent surf hire shops dotted everywhere there is no need to worry about lugging your kit around either! 

As we have done for many years, we want everyone else to also explore what the Cornish coast has to offer. The thrill of finding a suitable wave for you can become a morning of exploring different beaches, watching the surfing and then seeking a wave further down the coast. Visit us at Watergate Bay and build your surfing foundation with a lesson, then venture to Polzeath, a vastly different beach with our team ready to help guide you. Our schools offer top-quality surf gear available for hire that can be used at any location or chat with our team who will use their experience to show you the best location that day or week. Our goal is and will always be to ‘get you out there’.