August bank holiday weekend. What better way to enjoy the 3 day weekend than grabbing a surfboard and finding some Cornish waves.
So to make the most of this extra day Joe and I booked a surf weekend in Perranporth. All the kit in the van we set off after work on Friday. Firstly the typical British weather hit us. Huge amounts of rain made the mood of the journey to North Cornwall a bit well, wet. Nevertheless, we drove on and by the time we arrived the rain had subdued. After putting up our shiny new Sheltapod awning we went to bed, adamant that by the morning we would wake up professional surfers.
Optimism Meets Reality
So did we wake up professional surfers? Err, no, of course not. Our “surfing” that day proved it too! Right, let’s get this surf weekend in Perranporth underway.
Day 1: The sun was shining over the surf town of Perranporth on Saturday morning. After getting a hire board from Piran Sands Shop, it was time to surf. Arriving at the waters around 12, the tide was low and just on the turn. 2-3ft surf with a moderate onshore wind. Ideal for a couple of beginners. Just needed to factor in the other keen surfers around us. Very very busy waters, loads of surf schools, board hire users, and more experienced surfers all out enjoying the waters and sunshine. I expected it to be very busy due to the bank holiday, however, my surfing skills were not quite up to dodging people yet! The surfers out there though made for a great atmosphere. So much enthusiasm for everyone catching the waves and getting wiped out by them.
Sticking to the shallow knee to waist height area I managed to get a feel for the board, a bit longer and narrower than the board I borrowed during my first surf lesson back in March. Managing to catch a few small waves (not standing up, more body boarding) trying to refresh my mind on what it was all about again. Great fun just being in the waters and giving it a go. Joe had a fair bit more success than me. Managing to get to his feet a fair few times. I took the opportunity to give surf photography a go.
For this surf, we spent around 1 1/2 hours out in the water. Heading back to the camper van we de-wetsuited then headed out for ice cream. The best post-surf snack. Looking forward to seeing what tomorrows surf brought us.
When The Rain Pours, Go and Play
Day 2: Rain. The weather took quite a turn, gone was the glorious sun and the heavy rain made its arrival. So as conditions weren’t great in the morning we did the next best thing. Visit the surf shops. Just up the road from Perranporth is the UK surfing hub of Newquay.
The high street has many surf shops, mostly all small independent shops. Many nice surfboards in every shop, just too tempting to purchase. However, we restrained from buying surf kit, eyed up a few winter wetsuits to consider in the future instead. Then headed to do lunch the proper Cornish way with a pasty. Before heading off to see what the surf was doing at Fistral beach.
What a gorgeous beach Fistral is! It was my first time visiting, and in my opinion, the rainy drizzle just added to the beauty of the waves hitting the sandy shores. The wind was bracing, the rain not forecast to stop, but it was perfect to get out in the sea for a bit of fun. 3-5ft waves with a 19mph onshore wind greeted us on the beach. This time I did not take the camera with me. Joe was going to teach me to catch some waves then hopefully get me to my knees on the board. Can’t do that with a camera in your hands.
I had a lot more success on round 2 of our surf weekend in Perranporth because I did learn to time the waves correctly, learning to catch them. Also, I was able to catch nearly all the waves I went for. It’s a fantastic feeling to time it correctly then glide with the water. Almost magical!
Having mastered the art of bodyboard surfing it was time to progress. Remembering what I was taught in my surf lesson a few months before. I started to jump up to my knees on the board. In between some successful balancing on the board, I also took many splashes. If you’re not falling in you’re not trying hard enough! Hitting the water, getting back up and heading for the next wave, all while watching many other people getting wiped out by waves. Sometimes you just saw peoples feet in the air and a board in the water. Pretty funny to watch.
Rounding up our surf weekend in Perranporth
After finishing at Fistral that afternoon, we were pretty surfed out. Monday morning we headed back to Perranporth to return our board, heading over to the beach to watch some surfers. If you are just starting out and have never surfed before its worth getting at least 1 lesson. Just so you get the hang of the basic. There are plenty of surf schools in Perranporth, all with boards, wetsuits and raring to go. If surfing is not your thing then head out to the big sandy beach where you will find areas with rockpools to explore and the beach loops around the side to join with Perran Sands. So good for a nice walk. Bear in mind it is a very popular beach, especially over the summer. So will be busy. It is lifeguarded and good for everyone from families to those on a solo surf adventure.
Have you headed off for a surf weekend in Perranporth? Or anywhere else in Cornwall?
I am already looking forward to heading back out along the North Cornwall coast to go and surf again. Hoping to have another lesson too, pick up some more tips and advice to get me to my feet. One of my goals.
See you next time and happy adventuring!
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