Stay at a holiday cottage in Hayle or Gwithian, and you won’t be far from the popular surfing beaches of Gwithian and Godrevy. Situated at the eastern end of St Ives Bay, they make up part of the 3 miles of fantastic golden sands for which Hayle is famous, and are backed by a large area of sand dunes.
If you’re new to surfing, Gwithian is an ideal place to learn. The gentle sloping waves here are easier to catch than the waves further along at Godrevy, and if you want to give it a go under the supervision of a surf instructor, there are two main surf schools that operate from here; Shore Surf and Gwithian Academy of Surfing (GAS). Both provide lessons for all skill levels, but if you don’t require tuition, you can still hire all the equipment you need for a day’s surfing.
The beach at Gwithian/Godrevy is very wide and long with RNLI Lifeguards operating along the whole 3 mile stretch of the beach at Easter, and then between mid-May and mid-September. Experienced surfers tend to go to the Godrevy end as this has the largest waves, and when the waves are small in the summer most surfers can be found in the water at the this end of the beach.
The most well known landmark in this area is the Godrevy Island/Lighthouse which is just a few hundred meters off the headland. The Island is separated from the mainland by a channel which can have very strong currents during mid tide. The Island is also the home to a colony of seals that also frequent Seal Cove which is just the other side of the Godrevy headland. Depending on the tide the seals can be seen by walking to the top of the National Trust field car park and looking over the cliff.
The waves at Gwithian are best when the wind is from the east to south east. The beach picks up a lot of the incoming swell from the Atlantic and is one of the main beach breaks in West Cornwall, with a variety of different peaks to choose from. Due to the gentle sloping nature of the beach the waves can break a long way from the shore so there can be a long paddle out and many ‘duck dives’ needed when the waves are bigger.
Gwithian is a small village, so most people driving park in either the National Trust car park at Godrevy (free for NT members, or £5 a day), or the council carpark at Gwithian (£5.30 a day). Godrevy car park is a great place for a picnic on the grass, as is ‘Top Cove’ slightly further up the road which is also the perfect place to watch the sunset over St Ives.
Both Godrevy and Gwithian have cafes, and the Jam Pot Cafe at Gwithian is a popular spot with many local surfers for a mid surf snack. The Godrevy Cafe is slightly more refined with some great eating options and some indoor seating available.
Gwithian and Godrevy beaches are firm family favourites due to the wide sandy beach, great waves and a selection of rockpools.
Find out how the Aspects team got on, when they went on a surfing day out with Global boarders at Gwithian.
To find out more about surfing in Cornwall, check out our blog post: Ten of the best surf spots in Cornwall.