Crackington Haven is a small beach a few miles south of Bude on Cornwall’s North coast, it’s only a small village but its position within an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty makes it a popular spot with tourists.
There are very few buildings on the coast here giving it a rugged feel and the towering cliffs on either side of the beach make for quite the spectacle when you’re heading out to surf.
Surfing Crackington Haven is a relatively hassle-free experience with a car park only metres from the beach and easy access to the ocean.
Let’s take a closer look at what it’s like surfing here and some local tips on how to score the best conditions for a shred.
Can you surf at Crackington Haven?
Yes, Crackington Haven gets waves all the way through the year and is exposed to any swell arriving from the North Atlantic Ocean.
It’s offshore in Easterly winds and works best with a Westerly swell direction, the large cliffs on either side of the beach make for some great protection when you want to get away from light to medium-strength onshore winds.
Because the cliffs are so large on the right-hand side of the beach you even get some shelter from north-westerly winds which is incredibly hard to find on Cornwall’s north coast.
What are the waves like at Crackington Haven?
The waves are never as big here as the other west-facing surf spots on this stretch of the coast like Widemouth Bay or Crooklets, but it can provide some great shelter that other waves don’t.
Thinking of surfing Crackington Haven? You’ll find the best waves here from low to mid tide when an A-frame peak breaks in the centre of the bay, and short lefts and rights break towards the rocks at the side of the bay offering waves of varying quality.
It’s predominantly sand bottom with rocky reefs bordering either side of the bay. On clean offshore days, you’ll often get channels on either side of the peak making the paddle out pretty easy.
On high tides, the beach starts to fill up with water and you’ll be surfing onto the rocky shelf that runs down to the sand. When this happens the waves quickly get worse, making for wobbly backwash surf until it becomes too high for it to even break.
You can surf waves here up to about head high, much bigger than this and the waves start to close out across the whole bay.
If spots like Widemouth and Summerleaze in Bude are looking a little bit blown out or choppy, Crackington Haven is well worth a look. Even though it may be a foot or two smaller the wave face will be considerably cleaner.
On massive swells there is a rumoured big wave spot close by, we’re not going to tell you where but it’s well worth a look next time a very large ground swell arrives alongside favourable offshore winds. This is strictly for the most experienced surfers only and shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The rest of this area is littered with beaches and bays just waiting to be discovered by those willing to look so don’t miss out on a chance for a surf adventure.
There’s even rumoured to be a slab that kicks out some pretty square barrels when the conditions line up.
Thankfully surfing Crackington Haven still remains fairly unknown so you can actually get some really quiet waves here when other waves up the coast are bustling with summer surfers.
Waves here aren’t particularly powerful so they’re suitable for all kinds of surf craft including short boards longboards and stand-up paddle boards.
As long as you head to Crackington from low to mid-tide you should be set for fairly good surf.
Learning to surf at Crackington
There isn’t a surf school that currently operates out of Crackington so you’ll have to teach yourself to surf. You can rent some equipment for the day from one of the surf rental shops at Widemouth Bay and head down the coast for a day of sun and waves.
Other surf spots close to Crackington Haven
If Crackington Haven looks too small you can head up or down the coast to find a more exposed beach break and some bigger waves.
Bude is a surfing hub, there’s a variety of breaks to choose from, Summerleaze has a gentle peeling right-hander that’s great for learning to surf or you can head up the beach to Crooklets which is great from low to mid tide.
Check out our guide to surfing at Bude for the low down on all the waves in the area and when they work.
Polzeath is a relatively user-friendly beach break not far from Wadebridge, and only a short drive from Crackington Haven, it also offers much more in the way of facilities like surf shops, cafes and bars.
Head over to our page on surfing Polzeath for a snapshot of what it’s like to surf here and some helpful tips on how to score it.
Is Crackington Haven a sandy beach?
Yes, from low to mid tide the centre of Crackington Haven is predominantly sandy, there are rocky patches on the left and right-hand side of the bay but you can still surf for a relatively good distance before they become a risk.
As the tide pushes up the bay becomes much smaller and the water moves up to a pebbly slope which can cause the waves to become jumbled.
Can you bodyboard at Crackington Haven?
Yes, Crackington Haven is great for bodyboarding. Just avoid high tide and stay in the middle of the beach and you’re all set for great surf.
If you’re an experienced bodyboarder there are some great reef setups in the local area that can provide slabbing challenging take-offs, alongside heavy barrels. Search and you shall find!
Where can you get some well needed grub after surfing Crackington Haven?
The Cabin Cafe located just above the beach has got some epic food with perfect views to watch the waves after your surf.