Newquay has a number of different launch spots to choose from depending on conditions and paddling experience. Fistral Beach is the main spot. Between spring and the start of autumn it’ll usually be packed – particularly if the surf is good. High season will see large numbers of tourists, sun worshippers, surfers, bodyboarders and surf schools. The hordes can make launching tricky – snagging an uncrowded wave can be even harder. The usual course of action is to head out early and/or late, avoiding the middle part of the day. Big swells, when they materialise, will go some way to clearing the inexperienced, but don’t be surprised if they’re replaced with a frothing pack of hardcore locals.
Town beaches – between the harbour and Lusty Glaze – offer some form of respite in terms of crowds, but they still get busy during weekends, public holidays and when conditions fire. This isn’t to say that Newquay isn’t worth a visit. In fact, if you understand rights of way, have a grasp of surf etiquette and can control your boat then by all means head out for some fun.
During calmer periods you’ll be able to paddle along the coast and even past Towan Head which splits Newquay’s beach areas in two. Be aware of currents, know tide times and DON’T attempt during big pulses of swell. This is where the notorious Cribbar breaks and what might appear a calm day could transform into something a little more full on.
Out of the main Fistral sprawl you’ll find a number of alternative launch spots – but still part of the same borough. Crantock and the tidal River Gannel, to the south, offer sleepy alternatives to the bustle of Surf City while Watergate to the north is another popular beach that attracts a large crowd. There are a number of other tucked away nooks, ripe for discovery.
For après paddling shenanigans Newquay has plenty to offer. Rowdy nightclubs, bustling pubs, throbbing party spots, restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, family friendly eateries and higher end establishments – it’s all there.
Newquay has changed its spots over the years but still offers great conditions for a variety of watery pastimes. No longer is it the sole domain of surfers, the town is whatever you want it to be.
How to get there:
Trundle along the A30 towards Newquay; the town is well sign posted as it’s a popular destination. Once past Bodmin you’ll spot clearly marked directions.
Facilities in and around Newquay are extensive with plenty of amenities designed to service all comers.
Tides, surf and typical coastal dangers are all ever present in Newquay. The biggest hazard though will be the vast amount of other water users in summer. Picking your launch times is wise.
Ins and Outs:
All put in spots require a bit of a walk to the sand before dragging your boat to the water’s edge. The hike at the start could be long or short, depending on where you manage to park your vehicle.
Car parking charges apply all year round in Newquay but every summer thousands are still get caught out and penalised. Parking in general can be a bit of nightmare meaning off the beaten track beaches may be a better call. If you’re considering staying in Newquay then picking accommodation within walking distance of your put in (if possible) could be a good move.
Surf City UK (as Newquay is known) has, over the years, become a Mecca for anyone seeking thrills, spills and good times. During the surfing boom, Newquay enjoyed a fast rise to fame becoming the sport’s UK epicentre – as popularity grew so did the UK industry. Many surf related businesses chose to base themselves in and around this Cornish town and are still there to this day.
During the 90s the town gained a reputation as not only a great place to surf, enjoy some quality time at the coast and experience some (hopefully) good weather; it also began proving popular with a wider audience. Before long, a whole infrastructure had sprung up with servicing holiday makers’ needs the goal. As such, Newquay boasts a wide a varied choice of accommodation types, bars, nightclubs, restaurants, cafes and attractions.
Surfing still plays a big part in Newquay’s economy and the town hosts the Boardmasters event each year – bringing together high profile musical acts, surf stars from across the globe and visitors from wide and far.
Newquay isn’t just about riding surfboards though. The fabulous Fistral Beach, town beaches and surrounding area are great choices for any watery shenanigan. Kitesurfing enjoys a large following, windsurfers are attracted during the right conditions and increasing numbers of paddlers are spotted each year.
Staunchly hardcore surfers in the area will forever tell you about the ‘good ‘ole days’, but as Newquay’s popularity has rocketed the number of visitors heading for the surf has also ballooned. Love it or loathe it; voted the Which Holiday Survey ‘best family holiday destination’, Newquay shows no sign of slowing down with its booming tourist industry.