Learning to Surf in Cornwall: Global Boarders Q & A
Cornwall has been synonymous with surfing since it was formally brought to Cornwall by Australian surfing champion Charles ‘Snowy’ McAlister, when he gave a stunning demonstration on a beach in 1928. Today, scores of people now travel to the county to learn the art of surfing these foamy breakers. For your pleasure, we have picked the brains from Chris from west Cornwall-based surf school, Global Boarders.
Why is Cornwall so good for surfing?
Cornwall is recognised as the best place in the UK for surf, down to its impressive 250 miles of coastline offering up to 300 beaches where surf breaks. This array of locations makes for quieter line-ups and more options for every ability of surfer. Situated at the most southern point of the UK, Cornwall also boasts crystal-clear blue water, spectacular granite cliff backdrops and is often the mildest place to visit in the country.
So, what is it about surfing that makes people plunge into the cold Atlantic sea… all year round?
Surfing is unique in that you can have the same fun doing it right as doing it wrong. Whether you are a complete beginner or an advanced surfer, it washes life’s stresses away, even if it’s just for a couple of hours. There is no better substitute for both mental and physical health.
Why is Gwithian so good for surfing?
Gwithian is highly regarded as one of the best places to surf in Cornwall. Nestled in the heart of the Towans nature reserve, the beach and surrounding area remains timeless and unspoiled. Gwithian is part of St Ives Bay’s famous three mile beach, and therefore is one of the most spacious beaches around. Unlike the smaller beaches in St Ives and Sennen-Cove (near Land’s End), Gwithian guarantees plenty of room for all water users to share in its rolling waves.
What’s your biggest tip for beginners looking to master the wave?
Unfortunately, there is no quick route to mastering surfing. On average in a two-hour session you might (if you’re not wiping out) get to stand on your surfboard for a total of 5 minutes. However, this just give you more of an excuse to surf more! The secret to success is visit a surf school and learn the basics of good technique and how to stay safe in the ocean. After a course of lessons (3-5) you will then have the knowledge to practice in your own time. If you live in an inner-city area then you will be pleased to hear that at present Bristol and North Wales have inland wave pools, which now allows landlocked surfers the opportunity to continue practicing between visits to the coast.
When is the best time for surfing?
Surfing is now done from dawn to dusk 365 days of the years, come rain, shine and even snow… When you are first starting out, the best time of year to learn is from April – October, this is when the sea is nice and warm, and the wave are mostly gentler. April – October is also when the RNLI lifeguards are in operation, who generally operate between 10am – 6pm. I would always recommend for beginner and intermediate surfers to only use lifeguarded beaches between these hours. Gwithian has a large tidal range and parts of the beach are cut-off during high tide, therefore following the advice from the surf schools and lifeguard at each location is very important.
What type of lessons do you offer?
At Global Boarders we offer a wide range of lessons to suit everyone. We split our lessons into either ‘Open Group’ or ‘Private’. We like to gain further information on your experience, so that if you are booking an open lesson, we can place you in the correct group. And for both lesson types we have over 100 surfboards ranging in size and ability level, which after some feedback of your experience one of our instructors will assign you the best equipment for your progression. At Global Boarders we believe one size certainly doesn’t fit all and our experienced instructors reflect this. We make sure that the instructor’s strengths match the group they are taking. One lesson will leave you wanting more so we’d recommend booking a package for the full surfing experience.