Best surfing beaches in west Cornwall

The north coast is often seen as Cornwall’s surfing capital. However, the west of Cornwall has plenty of fantastic surf spots to offer, including large sandy beaches perfect for families, and hardcore surfer spots that will satisfy the seasoned surfer. Here is a round up of the beach surfing locations in west Cornwall.


Porthmeor is the best beach in the St Ives area for beginners. This long stretch of sand is gifted with strong surf from the Atlantic. With a surf school and lifeguard service, this beach is well equipped for the learner surfer. 

Being located in the main town, Porthmeor has fantastic facilities including beach cafés and toilets. If you aren’t staying in St Ives, it might be good to park in St Erth and get the train, as parking in St Ives is notoriously difficult.


Perranporth provides good surf for beginners in most sea conditions, with five or six easy peaks forming along the beach. This beach is extremely well-attended, and understandably so. The break has multiple peaks that are all fairly manageable, and beginners, shortboarders and longboarders alike can find their perfect spot. 

The Watering Hole bar, right on the beach, is unique in British surf culture and a must-visit establishment. Being close to Perranporth town centre, this beach has all the facilities you would need for a day out surfing.

Rinsey Cove

Located between Penzance and Heltson, just around the headland at the south end of Praa Sands beach you’ll find Rinsey Cove, also called Porthcew. It’s a tough descent down from the Rinsey car park, so probably not the most family-friendly if you have young children.

Here we find the same size waves as Praa Sands, but more hollow - reminiscent of the mighty Porthleven, but far less busy. A sweet point break forms near Rinsey Head at low tide on a big swell. This beach is suited to the more confident surfer looking for that clean wave and not recommended for children.


The famous ‘Leven wave is a fast, hallow, often right barrelling peak just west of Porthleven harbour. This spot is often crowded with local surfers so you’ll need to know how to hold your own here. 

With rocky shelfs and a tricky rip, this is one for the experts. A smaller, tamer reef is located nearer the pier which is better suited to the everyday surfer. Waves here are also great for bodyboarding. 

Chapel Porth

Chapel Porth produces a variety of waves from fast, hallow beach breaks perfect for shortboards, to cool, outside longboard waves. This once secret small cove has gained in popularity, so can get quite busy in the summer months. 

An alternative on busy days with big waves is the neighbouring Trevaunance Cove. There are some some rocks and sometimes a strong rip, so keep can eye out for these. RNLI lifeguards cover Chapel Porth during the summer period. 


This is a lovely family beach. The beach-break can potentially be good for all surfers, but the real deal is known as “The Vortex” which peels off the harbour wall in a big swell. The main dangers are rips, the wall, the reef next to the wall, and submerged rocks. However, a full lifeguard service is present throughout the summer. 

This beach is best in a north-west swell and south-east winds. Geared up for families, the facilities include toilets, shops and cafés. 

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