Perranporth Beach is two miles of golden sand backed by large sand dunes and flanked by cliffs at either end. The town here is a busy surfing hub, with cafes, surf shops and restaurants all operating along the busy main street.
Check out our comprehensive guide to surfing in Cornwall for more great surf breaks along this coast.
It’s relatively close to Newquay and can get busy with surfers and tourists during the summer but the beautiful beach and stunning views more than make up for it.
Thinking of surfing Perranporth Beach? Read on for all the tips on when to go, the best tide and some local knowledge to help you score on your next surf trip.
Can you surf at Perranporth Beach?
Yes, Perranporth is exposed to the full force of the North Atlantic’s swell. It’s offshore in any wind from the east and works in any swell arriving from a westerly direction.
Best surfed from low to mid tide the waves tend to lose quality at higher tide even though they are still surfable.
Is Perranporth good for surfing?
Yes, Perranporth is a quality beach break by Cornwall’s standards and attracts surfers from all over the local area. Thankfully the large playing field means it’s always easy to spread out and find a quiet wave to surf.
Surfing Perranporth means you’ve got a choice of lots of different waves up and down the beach. From the low tide drainers of Droskyn to the swell exposed Penhale let’s take a look at all the different setups you can surf.
Right out front at Perranporth can offer some great waves on its day. It prefers a ground swell from the waist to just above head high range with light easterly winds.
There’s a combination of lefts and rights breaking across a sandy bottom with a slight tendency for closeouts. The banks can change quite quickly as the tide moves here so don’t be afraid to relocate to a new bank mid-surf to maximise your wave count.
Droskyn sits at the south end of Perranporth sheltered behind Droskyn Point and offering moderate shelter from southerly winds. This small bay is only exposed at low tide when the sandy bottom starts to appear.
When this happens Droskyn can provide some truly excellent waves, favouring a solid ground swell, the cliffs here often create a bank that chucks out some serious freight train lefts. Large barrels are not unusual when it’s on and the standard of surfing is normally very high.
As the tide starts to push back up the wave breaks closer and closer to the cliffs making for some scary moments and a potentially exhausting swim if you lose your board.
*The large headland at the south of the bay here can mean Droskyn doesn’t get as much swell as other more northerly parts of the beach, this effect becomes, even more, severe if there’s any south in the swell direction.
One of North Cornwall’s best swell magnets, Penhale Corner is the large golden stretch of sand at the north of Perranporth. Well known for providing an extra foot when compared to other beaches in the area it’s a go-to spot when you’re trying to squeeze the most size out of a dwindling swell.
A predominant right-hander breaks off Ligger Point before pealing into the beach with long peeling rides that offer up multiple sections for turns and manoeuvres. Being exposed to swell here it’s also open to winds coming off the Atlantic so try to aim for light offshore winds to score this spot at its best.
Other surf spots around Perranporth
Perranporth sits nestled amongst a heap of other quality surf spots so if you don’t fancy the waves here it’s only a short drive to check out some other quality waves nearby.
Newquay is Cornwall’s surfing capital, boasting a wide variety of surf shops it’s the home of many UK surf brands and UK-based surfboard shapers pumping out gear on a daily basis.
It’s got a wide variety of beaches that can offer protection from south westerly winds and Fistral is one of the best beach breaks in the UK on its day. Check our guide on surfing Newquay for the low down on where you can surf and what the waves are like.
Porthtowan is a small beach at high tide that opens up to form a large stretch of sand at low tide. There are great waves to be found here from low to mid tide but it can get busy at high.
Head over to our guide on surfing at Porthtowan to find out more about this quality beach break.
If heaving right-hand barrels are your thing then Portreath is the perfect surfing destination. A large powerful reef break off the harbour wall before peeling forcefully down to the beach.
Commonly surfed by local bodyboarders and the occasional stand up this wave is quite the spectacle and should be left to experienced surfers only. Sound like a winner? Don’t miss our breakdown of surfing Portreath with some local tips to help you score an epic session.
Can you surf Perranporth at high tide?
Yes, the main beach at Perranporth is still surfable at high tide even though the quality of the waves can decrease somewhat. Droskyn to the left of Perranporth is only durable from low to mid, after that the waves start to break directly onto the cliffs making surfing impossible.