The clear blue waters of St Ives and West Cornwall are a big attraction for many visitors. The location of our little town surrounded by beaches opens up lots of opportunities for varying watersports. It’s time to dip your toes in the sea…
Mention the “S” word to Sam and his eyes will light up. It’s an addictive sport and West Cornwall is great fun for everyone from beginners to experts. The team at Porthmeor, St Ives Surf School, are masters at getting people to their feet. We strongly recommend turning to them before heading in for the first time, you’ll learn faster, more safely and more than likely have a lot more fun.
For those who are more experienced, the nooks and crannies of our coastline serve up some of the most consistent surf in the UK. There are a very few days where we can’t surf down here. Beach breaks tend to rule, we have gentle breaks, hollow and fast ones and the odd reef break too.
For the latest surf report, advice on where to head or just a chat about all things surf, feel free to call Sam.
It’s a great way to explore the beaches, headlands and crystal waters on a calm day. With no motor it’s a quiet and peaceful way to see seals or if you are lucky dolphins.
Increasingly popular each year, this relatively new sport in the UK has well and truly taken off. In Carbis Bay at the crack of dawn you’ll likely see some keen locals heading out, all year around! Harder than it looks but easy enough to get the basics, you can hire the equipment in St Ives or Carbis Bay.
As well as a good exercise for your core, we think it is a marvellous way to explore the coast. Porthminster and Carbis Bay are great starting points as they are calm and give easy access to some lovely parts of the coast.
We’d recommend avoiding the waves and offshore winds, at least at the beginning.
Another relatively new sport to be taking off in Cornwall, it’s action and adrenaline fuelled! Jumping, climbing, splashing and swimming, it’s not for the feint hearted and must be part of an organised trip with professionals.
St Ives Surf School have a coasteering team, certainly worth a shout if you can muster the energy.
Open water swimming is challenging but great fun. Best accompanied with another person and where lifeguards patrol you’ll exit the water refreshed and full of energy. Carbis Bay and Porthminster Beach are great places to take a dip, if you are brave ditch the wetsuit.
For those who are already keen swimmers or like a challenge the ‘Sloop Slog’, the annual St Ives Biathlon is well worth entering. The pasty and pint at the end are always very welcome!
Sailing requires patience, skill and good conditions, but when you get it right it’s like riding a bike, the sensation is never forgotten. Our bay on the right day can be glorious for sailing.
Sam has seen several dolphins whilst sailing, being ‘chased’ by them on a few occasions whilst pottering in near silence, powered by only the wind.
There are two places to sail, Carbis Bay at Ocean Sports have some toppers and a catamaran. If you have previous experience then you could also head to St Ives Sailing Club on a Wednesday evening or Saturday afternoon, they’re located in the car park at the Sloop Inn.
With so much to do on the water, there is no excuse to not get involved and get out there. For more tips or help organising any of the above don’t hesitate to talk to the team.
Don’t miss… Winter Surf
Despite popular belief, winter is actually a really good time to surf in Cornwall. Beginners may find the summer easier going and better, but more experienced surfers will relish the extra swell in the colder months.
St Ives is a gem in winter, it’s beaches light up and is a go to for many of Cornwall’s surfers on the biggest swells of the year. Porthmeor, Porthgwidden, Carbis Bay and Hawkes Point have all been known to have good winter surf.
Bring a good winter wetsuit, boots and hood. With modern wetsuit technology you are unlikely to get too cold. The hire shops might be closed but the surf shops will still be open and ready to sell you a great warm suit, a block of wax or a new board.
Beat the crowds and enjoy the best waves of the year…