Surfing the Wild Cornish Winter
Finding good waves in Cornwall in the winter can be a bit of a challenge especially with shorter daylight hours to find the best time to surf. Getting motivated to go surfing can also be more of a challenge as it is cold, often very windy and predominantly large swell, which can create choppy and wild conditions. That being said there are a lot of good waves to be found around Cornwall in the winter.
During the winter season there are many big storms along the east coast of America, it is these storms that create the big swell that travels across the Atlantic finally reaching the Cornish coast providing us with big swell and some great waves. There are also far fewer people around which means the waves are much quieter giving you plenty of space to find the waves you want to catch.
With stronger winds it is important to find a spot in the water where you can shelter from the prevailing wind, such as a cliff, headland or harbour wall.
Finding waves sheltered from the wind will give you the best chance of getting some nice clean waves even if the rest of the beach is messy and blown out.
It is important to remember that there is very little lifeguard cover around Cornwall in the winter, usually only at weekends or bank holidays on a few beaches. Staying safe when your surfing should always be your first thought, to do this always try and surf with a friend so that you can keep an eye on each other.
It isn’t only the lifeguards that you will notice have gone from the beaches, you will also find that many of the car parks around Cornwall stop charging for the winter or have a cheap full day ticket to pay for instead.
With more powerful conditions at this time of year and the lack of lifeguard cover it becomes even more important that you take some extra time to watch the waves, before you get in the water and identify which areas to avoid such as rips, these can become harder to identify with more water moving around.
When you’re looking for waves in the winter don’t be a wave snob, if you lower your standards for the conditions you will go surfing in you can often be pleasantly surprised and catch some really good waves. Even if the waves are not as good you should still be going out in messy conditions, learning to react to choppier waves and waves closing out on you at more random times can really help your surfing.
You will notice the difference when you return to cleaner glassier waves; it can improve your reading of the incoming
waves helping you to position yourself better to catch them, once you have caught the waves your balance will have improved, your awareness of what the waves are doing and reactions to the changes can get better, even your turns and manoeuvres can become cleaner and more effective.