If you’re thinking of surfing Polzeath or planning a surf trip in the local area, you’re in the right place with our in-depth guide packed with all the local surfing knowledge I can give you.
I’ve spent more than a few years chasing swells around the UK, and Polzeath has been a trusty, consistent beach break you can always rely on.
Polzeath was a tranquil coastal village in North Cornwall, but in the last few decades, it has quickly transformed into a bustling seaside town with more holiday homes than actual residents.
Located just south of Port Isaac and tucked away behind Pentire Head, this idyllic stretch of sand is the perfect destination for beachgoers and tourists and draws massive yearly crowds.
Can you surf at Polzeath?
Yes, Polzeath gets great surf and fairly consistent swell pouring in from the Atlantic all year round.
The ideal swell direction is from the west, and offshore winds blow from the east, but I’ve had some epic sessions here when it’s onshore.
Due to its popularity, Polzeath has a wide selection of surf schools, rentals and shops to choose from, and you’ll regularly find surf lessons running in the summer months.
What is the surf like at Polzeath?
Polzeath will never be up there with the best high-performance waves in the area, but it makes up for it in other ways.
Thanks to the prominent headland at Pentire Head, Polzeath receives a little bit of shelter from the dreaded onshore north-westerly winds that destroy many of the other surf spots in the area.
It’s also slightly more sheltered from swell than other west-facing surf beaches like Bude and Constantine, so it’s a great option if the surf looks too big at other spots.
I’d recommend trying a surfboard with a little extra volume. There are always flat sections whenever I surf here, and a slightly wider or fatter board will help you glide across to the meatier section ahead.
Like in the video above, the waves are pretty mellow here for most of the year. On the rare occasions a good ground swell arrives accompanied by offshore winds, Polzeath offers some pretty good waves from low to mid tide.
Many surfers like Polzeath because of its user-friendly peaks that don’t break with as much power as other waves on this coast.
What’s the best time of year for surfing at Polzeath?
Polzeath can get swell all year around; it’s a little bit sheltered by Pentire Point, so it can be a little smaller than other beach breaks in the area.
Autumn’s the best time of year for surfing when clean, groomed waves start to arrive off the Atlantic Ocean, and water temperatures are still relatively mild.
It does get crowded, so I like to head here all year round. Winter is always a good choice, with way fewer surfers in the water.
Spring tends to see lots of onshores, but you can find windows of good surf if you’re lucky. Polzeath can have a bit of shelter from northerly winds, which are common at this time of the year.
The cold water keeps the crowds down, and you can still get the occasional sunny day with good waves.
Summer gets packed, with surfers, bodyboarders and holidaymakers all sharing waves at Polzeath.
Our advice here would be to steer clear of Polzeath in the summer if you’re surfing; hectic is an understatement! Check out some of our other surf spots nearby further down this guide.
The best time of year for surfing at Polzeath, large waves align with easterly winds to create epic sessions.
Autumn can be all-time all across Cornwall, but be prepared to battle out with the hundred other surfers trying to get a slice.
Winter is perfect for those willing to peel on a winter wetsuit and get stuck in.
With offshore winds and good swell, you can have great windows to surf through winter.
Polzeath isn’t great when it gets too big, so consider heading to Harlyn Bay. It faces north, so it gets less swell, but it’s offshore in the southwesterly winds that are all too common over the winter months.
Our Wetsuit Guide For Surfing At Polzeath
The water temperature changes a lot throughout the year in North Cornwall, so make sure you don’t cut your surf short with mild hypothermia by using our handy wetsuit guide.
I’ve added some rubber I love from Xcel Wetsuits that’ll keep you toasty in the deepest of winter.
|Season||Our Recommended Wetsuit||Hood||Gloves||Booties||Approx. Water Temp.|
|Spring||Infiniti 4/3mm||Yes||No||Yes||10°C – 12°C|
|Summer||Comp X 3/2mm||No||No||No||13°C – 17°C|
|Autumn||Drylock X 4/3mm – 5/4mm||No||No||Yes||12°C – 14°C|
|Winter||Comp X Hooded 5/4mm – 6/5mm||Yes||Yes||Yes||8°C – 10°C|
Learning to surf at Polzeath
Polzeath has plenty of surf schools, or you can hire equipment and learn to surf yourself if you don’t want to join a lesson.
Surf Camps In Polzeath
Surf camps are a great way to get stuck into surfing with like-minded people.
They’re perfect for solo travellers or couples; you’ll never run out of activities.
We don’t know of any surf camps in Polzeath specifically, but we’ve added some other great local options below:
- 3 Day surfing intensive, including a theory lesson to fast-track your progress + camping (All abilities welcome)
- 3 Days of surfing, coasteering and adventure with a unique wild camping experience (All abilities welcome)
- 3 Days of yoga and surfing to leave you feeling fresh and invigorated (All abilities welcome)
Surf spots around Polzeath
Just up the coast from Polzeath is the surf town of Bude, with Widemouth Bay and Crooklets having great peaks up and down the beach. Check out our guide on surfing the spots around Bude for tips on where and when to go.
Heading south, you’ll find Constantine Bay, the beach here is great through all stages of the tide and picks up a little more swell than Polzeath.
Surfing the beach break waves of Constantine Bay is a perfect alternative if you’re a short boarder or looking to escape Polzeath’s crowded lineup.
Can you surf Polzeath at high tide?
Yes, even though the beach does get considerably smaller at high tide, you can still catch waves until the tide is full.
If you’re a beginner or learning to surf, this is a great time to get out in the waves because they’re generally smaller, less powerful and considerably less crowded.
Can you surf at Daymer Bay?
Despite being tucked well and truly behind Stepper Point’s headland, Daymer Bay still receives swell and surfable waves during large groundswells with offshore easterly winds.
If surfing Polzeath isn’t an option because it’s too big, Daymer may be worthwhile checking.
Is it dangerous surfing at Polzeath?
Polzeath is a relatively safe place to surf. If you avoid the large rocks on either side of the beach and stay within the lifeguarded zones, you’ll be absolutely fine.