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Surfing in St Ives is a great experience, whether you are a seasoned pro or on your holidays and planning a family day out on the water.

See where you hire a board or take your own and ride the waves to St Ives’ sandy shores.

1. Type of surf in St Ives

2. Learn how to surf in St Ives

3. Hire a surfboard in St Ives

4. The best surfing spots in St Ives

5. The best surfing spots near St Ives

6. Annual surfing events in St Ives

7. Surfing shops in St Ives

8. St Ives surfing webcams

Newquay, United Kingdom – August 21, 2007: Surfing off Fistral Beach at Newquay in Cornwall in the southwest of the United Kingdom

1. Type of Surf in St Ives

The favoured surfing location is Porthmeor.

This beach is semi-sheltered from southwesterly winds and faces more northerly than the other beaches creating mostly off-shore surfing conditions. Offshore winds create conditions that allow for ‘clean’ waves and minimal ‘chop’ in the water.

Simply, Porthmeor beach has conditions that make surfing easy and fun. See ‘Best Surfing Spots in St Ives’ for a more technical breakdown.

Which makes it a perfect spot for a Surfing School!

2. Learn How to Surf in St Ives

St Ives Surf School are based on Porthmeor Beach and have friendly and experienced staff who are ready to get you in a wetsuit and surfing. With a variety of surf lessons are offered: for absolute beginners, intermediate or advanced surfers.

  • Surfing lessons equipment = FREE
  • Private onsite, secure changing facilities
  • Male/female toilets and showers
  • Discounts for large groups
  • Private lessons offered
  • 3-5 day courses

St Ives Surf School Price List

Further afield is the Gwithian Academy of Surfing if you want to learn or hire on a different stretch of coast.


3. Hire a Surfboard in St Ives

Already have experience or someone to show you the surfing ropes? As well as offering lessons, St Ives surf school hires out surfboards and a variety of watersports equipment. Also, if you prefer to sit and watch the waves, there are deckchairs, windbreaks and parasols for the more tranquil beach users.

  • Surfboards (hard, soft, double)
  • Kayaks
  • SUP (Stand up paddle boards)
  • Wetsuits
  • …and more

Again, the Gwithian Academy of Surfing also offers surf hire.


4. The Best Surfing Spots in St Ives

For the surfer visiting St Ives, there are a few secret local surfing spots to note. Hawke Point and Break Water are suggested only for the more experienced surfers.


As already mentioned, Porthmeor Beach is THE go-to place to catch some easy, clean waves. Close to the iconic Tate St Ives, this beach is popular with surfers and swimmers, with St Ives surf school providing great facilities for customers.

RNLI Lifeguards (Porthmeor)

Daily: 6 April – 27 October 2019

Patrol times: 10am – 6pm

Evening light on Porthmeor Beach St Ives Cornwall England UK
Evening light on Porthmeor Beach St Ives Cornwall England UK

Hawke Point/ Dork’s Point

Head to the western end of Porthkidney and you will find a fairly exposed point break. On a good day, Hawke provides quality waves with long walling rights with the occasional barrel down the beach and a punchy, wedgey left at higher tides towards the point.

That being said the surf has no particular seasonal pattern and be wary of rips – they make surfing here dangerous. A good place to surf, but can get crowded as everyone gets down to Hawke when there is a big north coast swell and the wind is anything from due south to west.

RNLI Lifeguards (Porthkidney Beach)

Summer cover daily from 7 July to 2 September

Break Water

This spot is named so because it breaks along the St Ives harbour break-water and is popular with some of St Ives best surfers. Although there is no particular seasonal pattern at Break Water, the surf is inconsistent and water quality is a little suspect, this is a highly popular surf spot when the conditions are right.

The best wind direction is from the south with waves just as likely from local windswells as from distant groundswells. The optimum swell angle is from the northwest.

RNLI Lifeguards (Nearest is Porthmeor)

Daily: 6 April – 27 October 2019

Patrol times: 10am – 6pm

Porthminster beach St Ives Cornwall England with white waves and blue sea and sky on a beautiful summer day

5. The Best Surfing Beaches Beyond St Ives

It’s no secret that Cornwall has a range of surfing swells that attract some of the best surfers in the world. Namely the famous Fistral Beach just up the coast in Newquay. Here are a few more unknown spots closer to St Ives that we enjoy.

surfers guide

6. Annual Surfing Events in St Ives

Have you ever been to an annual fancy dress charity surfing event (that wasn’t over Christmas or New Years)?! The Swell Board Shootout event is spread over two days in June and it gives the St Ives Surfing community a chance to be silly, let loose and raise money for charity.

Raising money for the well-loved environmental charity ‘Surfers Against Sewage’ and run entirely by volunteers from the St Ives Surf School, the long weekend hosts a range of entertainment and activities:

  • Open-air beach cinema
  • Carnival and Paella night
  • Variety of Live Music
  • Main event: Sunday Surf Competition in Fancy Dress!
Biarritz, France – June 9, 2011: Lot of people taking surfing lessons on sandy La Cote des Basques beach.

7. Surfing Shops in St Ives

Wind and Sea,

25 Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 1AB

Wind and Sea is a surf shop where you can find all the equipment you will need to go surfing. They hire out boards and wetsuits as well as selling hte latest clothing of many surf brands.

Off the Beaten Track

2a Fore Street, St Ives, Cornwall, TR26 1AB

Selling your surfing essentials with surfboards, wetsuits, hoods, boots and a range of other sporting/leisure wear.


8. St Ives Surfing Webcam

At Carbis Bay Holidays we have dedicated live webcams on beaches around St Ives so you can see what the surf is up to right now!

Porthmeor Webcam

Porthgwidden Webcam

Porthminster Webcam

Tate Reach Webcam

That’s a wrap for our complete guide on Surfing in St Ives. Whatever or wherever your plans are, enjoy yourselves on the water and be safe in the waves.