10 of the Best Surf Schools in Cornwall

The sun’s finally out and the sea is getting warmer, so why not have a go at learning to surf while staying at your dream Cornish holiday cottage? Cornwall’s surf schools are open from 29 March and our local surf-sperts have handpicked the best of the bunch. Whether you’re a complete beginner or a plucky improver, you’ll be amazed by the progress you can make in a few lessons. Expert tuition means you’ll be able to learn the best techniques and wave knowledge to rapidly improve as well as how to stay safe in the water. Opt for one-on-one or group lessons, for both kids and adults. Here are 10 epic Cornish surf schools to try.

1. George’s Surf School, Polzeath

A wide open beach, beautiful rollers and plenty of places to grab something to eat and drink to replenish your energy afterwards, Polzeath is a fantastic place to head to for a surf lesson. The inspirational George Stoy runs the Surfing England-recommended surf school, which focuses on improving your confidence on the board and in the water. George believes surfing should be accessible for all so the school takes children as young as four as well as adults. The school has also pioneered projects such as the Polzeath Ladies Surf Club, which brings together about 50 local women surfers each week. 


2. St Ives Surf School, Porthmeor Beach

You can surf, paddleboard, kayak and coasteer year-round at Porthmeor Beach, a pebble’s throw from St Ives’ narrow cobbled streets, quaint harbour and galleries. Book bespoke surf lessons and coaching for all ages at the St Ives Surf School and, after a morning catching waves (or at least trying to), recharge your batteries at the family-friendly Porthmeor Beach cafe. When you’re not splashing around in the sea, there’s the South West Coast Path to discover, as well as the St Ives Museum, the Tate and the St Ives School of Painting (later on this year, after Covid restrictions have been lifted).


3. Gwithian Academy of Surfing, near St Ives

Gwithian Beach is beautiful and gets year-round rideable surf. The gently sloping beach means the surf forms and breaks very slowly, giving aspiring surfers more time to get to their feet. Gwithian Academy of Surfing is an Academy of Surfing Instructors-accredited surf school – one of only three in Britain. All the coaches are fully qualified as surf coaches, lifeguards and first aiders and two have even coached the British Junior Surfing Team. Learn the basics of surfing or fine tune your technique, then visit nearby Hayle, St Ives and Penzance for a hearty lunch.


4. Tris Surf Shop, Porthtowan Beach

Tris Surf Shop opened its doors in the early 1970s and has been providing quality surf essentials and teaching on the beach ever since. This surf school is driven by a passion for surfing, the sea and the lifestyle that goes with it. Lessons focus on fun, beach safety and a healthy respect for the water. Class sizes are small with a maximum of eight people per group, which ensures you have one-on-one time with your instructor. All coaches are fully qualified, experienced, local surfers who are trained to teach you the basics or give you the right nudges to improve your style.


5. Grishka’s Surfaris, Newquay

Following competing and winning titles on the European professional circuit, surfer Grishka Roberts set up his surf school to fill the gap in the market for high-quality individual and small group surf lessons. Bespoke training, high-quality equipment and an ingrained passion for surfing mark out this unique surf school as the place to learn to surf at your own pace. 


6. West Country Surf School, Newquay

Enjoy epic views, tasty food, laid-back vibes and world-class surf instruction at West Country Surf School, run by siblings Joel and Naomi. Park away from the crowds, get changed in the spacious heated changing area and learn to surf in beautiful Watergate Bay. Replenish your energy levels afterwards in Naomi’s Hangout Cafe.


7. Global Boarders, Gwithian and Praa Sands

There is a lot going on at Global Boarders Surf School. It operates out of two beautiful beach locations, Gwithian and Praa Sands, both renowned for their family-friendly, uncrowded waves, and picturesque coasteering routes. The qualified coaching team are proud to have a 95% success rate on getting you to your feet on your first lesson and have experience in teaching all ages and abilities. If you still have some energy left over, GB also offers coasteering adventures and all-terrain ebike hire.


8. Dan Joel Surf School, Poldhu Beach, Mullion

Former pro surfer and big wave rider Dan Joel loves the thrill of surfing and set up his surf school so others could experience the exhilaration, too. Based at the beautiful National Trust beach of Poldhu, near Mullion, Dan Joel Surf offers safe, relaxed and friendly surf tuition for both adults and children. The school is next door to Poldhu Beach Cafe, where you can grab an excellent hot snack or drink after your session. 


9. Reubyn Ash Surf School, Widemouth Bay

‘My aim is to offer the best surf lessons and coaching available for all levels.’ Current English champion and twice European champion Reubyn Ash’s personal approach to surfing rather than mass classes means you will catch waves on your first session and stand up faster​ if you’ve already had a go. From how to time and catch a wave to how to stand on your board to how to duck dive, Ruebyn’s got it covered.


10. Waves Surf School, St Merryn 

Located between Newquay and Padstow, Waves Surf School is licensed by Cornwall Council to surf at Mawgan Porth, Porthcothan Bay, Constantine Bay, Boobys Bay and Harlyn Bay. Each beach faces a different direction and picks up more or less surf accordingly, which means there will always be somewhere breaking on the day of your lesson. There is consistent surf most days, and forgiving waves mean these locations are ideal for learning, improving and progressing more rapidly. Performance Xcel wetsuits mean you can surf year round, even on the chillier spring days.