The Atlantic Highway is a snaking road of asphalt, that cuts through natural beauty and connects Devon and Cornwall. But did you know about the places to go surfing in Cornwall and Devon?

Purveyors who deal in boards, wax and waves can be seen gunning up and down this highway, wild eyed and frothing at the mouths; in search of what the area has to offer.

Here are a few of the best surfing spots in Cornwall and Devon.

See also: Best Places to Visit in Cornwall and How to Find the Best Pasties in Cornwall

Surfers at Sauton Sands, Devon
Surfers at Sauton Sands, Devon

Where to go surfing in Cornwall and Devon

Join the local Cornwall and Devon surfers at these surfing hotspots.

Croyde

As many peoples favourite beach break to surf, Croyde in North Devon is the place to be when the swell is pumping. Both pro and amateur surfers will be there, but things can get a little hairy and heavy at this spot, with rips in big swell.

There is parking at both ends, with a nice café and board rental from the downs end car park – which is also a nice spot for photographers if you’re just there to spectate.

Further down the road in the little town there is a pub and surf shops also.

Saunton Sands

If you’re more of a long boarder that prefers more predictable pealing waves, this point break might be for you.

This beach is also long and is great for walking dogs and also popular for movie productions. The surf rolls in on the burrows which are like if you made the moon out of sand. There is a café and equipment hire and also beach hut hire.

Parking prices are reasonable and there are lots of it so you don’t have to hassle looking for a space.

The views of this beach are best from the road that winds along to Croyde and in-between the two beaches are some point breaks likely to be less crowded if you’re an accomplished surfer. There are good options for wind surfers too.

Puttsborough

Here, if the winds up, you’ll be somewhat protected and so will the waves.

It’s a little harder to get to but there is good parking available, although more expensive at £9 per vehicle in summer and £7 in winter.

The giant headland divides Croyde and Putts like a mythical whale is bearing down on you as you ride the waves back to shore. Good for all levels of surfer. There is also surf hire, camping and amenities.

Puttsborough Surfers in Devon
Puttsborough Surfers in 35mm.

Westward Ho!

Kitesurfing is the name of the game here. On windy days people terrorize the seas with kites at speeds that make the surfer’s wonder if they have got it all wrong.

Sporting to be the only place name in the UK with an exclamation mark in the title; its easy to see why on wild days!

There is a friendly kit hire shop that can suit you up and is reasonably priced and open all year round.

If you want to surf and then do some dinning, there are plenty of options for food here too including the renowned Hockings ice cream.

Westward Ho! sits on the south side of the dividing Bideford Bar which runs up to Appledore and then Instow, two other nice spots.

Surfer chilling on a wave at Westward Ho!
Surfer chilling on a wave at Westward Ho!

Bude

There are a few different spots to surf at including Sandymouth Bay, Crooklets and Summerleaze which make up this stunning coastline at Bude.

There is something exciting for surfers in the ever-changing look and feel of beaches that comes with the changing tides. Here at Bude the excitement is especially poignant. The way the tide comes in and engulfs everything up to the cliffs puts the nerves on edge but provides unique spots to surf. Between the jagged organism rock formations these sections are created and so are these different breaks to surf. Some time and experience will be needed to figure it out to make the most out of this destination.

If the there are no waves to ride its ok, man has made a sea pool, built into the natural rock that is a special bit of engineering. Bude also has a lot going for it in this community rich surf town.

Fistral and Crantock Beach

When you’ve reached the end of that dusty road, you’ll find yourself at Fistrel Beach, so take a breath and wax up the board as this is Cornwall’s most notorious surf spot. With Crantock beach on the other side of a glorious headland this is a must stop for any surfer.

Fistrel surfing in Cornwall
Fistrel surfing beach
Crantock Beach for surfing
Crantock Beach for surfing

Fistrel has four sections of surf:

  1. Cribber (big wave spot) can be paddled into or, on the big days, towed into by jet ski. It’s not for the faint hearted for advanced experienced big wave surfers only. This wave is named Cribber after the reef that the wave moves over.
  2. Little Fistral: This super local surfing spot that only works on big low tides. You’ll find strong rip currents by the rocks and when conditions are good it can be the real deal! Advanced surfers only.
  3. North Fistral: Usually bigger than South Fistral with more exposure to the swell. Works during all tides and gets very busy when good and can hold big swell- intermediate/advanced surfers.
  4. South Fistral: Fun left hander off the rocks, best place to find shelter on big S/W swells and winds. Works with all tides, advanced surfers will dominate the best waves off to the far left although all abilities will be found out here.
The different sections of surfing at Fistrel surfing beach
The different sections of surfing at Fistrel surfing beach

The bay is also the perfect place to learn to surf and get your first taste of surfing in Newquay. It’s always sheltered and smaller than the open beaches. Best during mid-tide as low tide tends to close out and on higher tides the bay stops working. 

When this is the case, the only place that will work is the wedge on Tolcarne beach. High tide is perfect for bodyboarders as the wave wedges up from the rocks to create ‘The Wedge’. Fistrel has a great energy and a lot to offer, so get out there and give it a rip!

Fistrel Beach
Fistrel Beach

Author

  • TheTravelGuest
    TheTravelGuest

    Former emergency nurse, now perusing travel journalism, photography and poetry - Recently gained diploma in travel journalism with British College of Journalism