Surfing in Cornwall // Part 1

Friday, March 24, 2017

A few weeks ago I received an email from a super stoked fellow surfer girl. Emma Fraser-Bell from the blog Salty Skin Sandy Toes was excited to share her passion with me and I asked her to tell us here more about her surf life in Cornwall.

Cornwall is a South-Western area in the United Kingdom which creates a peninsula. Surrounded by the ocean, the Celtic Sea, its coasts are renowned in the UK for welcoming oceanic swells all year round.

I was so happy to learn more about Cornish waves and Emma put all her stokedness (this word actually exists, I checked!) in this tale of her English surf experience. It was quite long, so we decided to split it in three parts, all of them equally enjoyable!

Have a read and enjoy these amazing pictures.


Text by Emma Fraser-Bell


I suppose, when you think of the UK you probably think of brown, muddy waters, windy cold slush, coastlines scattered with uncomfortable pebbly beaches and just an all over feeling of general cold and discomfort. You wouldn't picture pumping waves, offshore winds and clear waters at all…

The UK boasts some of the most incredible spots; we are an island after all, so we have endless opportunities to receive swells from all storm and weather conditions brought in from the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean. The UK is littered with spots, you just have to roll along the coast and you'll be sure to find a wave at some place or other.

But there is one place, one county, that for me, really boasts the best that our British lands have to offer... that place is Cornwall. I'm sure many British guys and girls would argue with this, but for me, Cornwall is my own slice of paradise on this usual grey, drizzly island. For those of you who haven't heard of it, it's the little boot shaped county at the very South-West tip of England. 

If you’ve never visited this little gem before, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to stumble across some of the most stunning beaches the UK has to offer. Picture cascading cliffs crumbling onto the softest, golden sands that then roll into crystalline blue waters; which more often than you'd think, develop into dreamy peeling waves...


Of course, you have to get it on a good day; not like today where I'm currently sitting at my kitchen table, writing this article, staring blankly outside at the howling wind that continues to relentlessly spew rain drops onto my salt encrusted windows. Of course the skies are grey, and the fog is looming ever closer, but I know that it's not always like this. Or at least, it won't always be like this! I'm really succeeding in making you want to visit Cornwall aren't I?! Alas, it isn't always perfect here, but these days of grey skies and wild oceans are so worth it when the swell and weather combine to deliver the goods...


Cornwall receives swell all year round. Generally speaking, we have wilder swells and storms in the winter, and calmer, cleaner swells in the summer. In the winter, you need the full neoprene get-up; the hood, the boots, the gloves and the 5mm wetsuit. In the summer months, all you need is a 3/2mm, a shorty and very occasionally you can get away with a bikini (a very rare occurrence to be honest, but there have been some very memorable moments in the rare instance of an English heatwave!)


Right now the water temperature is 11°c and the full neoprene outfit is still needed. However, this doesn't seem to matter as much when you know you're going to be treated to fun, peeling waves. As every European surfer knows, the winter months can be a little taxing on the mind and body, especially when you picture yourself getting out after a fun surf and losing all feeling in, well, pretty much every part of your body. 


Yet what keeps us going, is the knowledge that we will ultimately feel so much happier and more alive after a good session in that vast salty blue. It also makes you feel like you've worked ridiculously hard for that surf, so much so, that you REALLY DO deserve that drink in the pub afterwards!



Don't forget to check Emma's blog here

Surf pictures: Chris Hall Photography
Last picture: Clare James Photography

1 comment on "Surfing in Cornwall // Part 1"
  1. Surfing at beaches in the UK does sound incredibly uncomfortable considering its cold climate. But looking at your pictures and reading about your experiences definitely clears this misconception. Thanks letting everyone about the hidden beauty of Cornwall.

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