Porthtowan Is a relatively large beach located in the west of Cornwall, surrounded by towering cliffs and an old tin mine, this beach is the definition of stereotypically Cornish.
Inland from the beach is a small village with only a few shops and bars with the surrounding hills around the town slowly filling up with more holiday accommodation and second homes like many other surf spots around Cornwall.
Are you thinking of surfing Porthtowan? Don’t miss out on our detailed guide on everything Porthtowan has to offer, local surf tips and a breakdown of the waves here.
Can you surf at Porthtowan?
Yes, Porthtowan faces West so it’s very exposed to the incoming swell from the Atlantic Ocean. You’ll notice that the waves get bigger the further you go down the coast here, until you end up down at Sennen bay right at the end of north Cornwall’s coast
Offshore winds are from an Easterly direction and Porthtowan works with any swell out of the West. Ideal conditions here are in the 2-6ft range, anything much bigger and the waves start to close out.
Is Porthtowan Beach good for surfing?
Porthtowan is a solid consistent beach break known for its powerful waves and consistent sandbanks, local and travelling surfers from all over the UK head to Porthtowan to take advantage of its quality surf.
At high tide, Porthtowan is only a relatively small beach but as the tide drops out a large stretch of golden sand becomes exposed, with great waves all over the length of the beach.
At the far north end of the bay is Chapel Porth. Popular with local surfers this wave can have some great surfing conditions from low to mid tide and isn’t as busy as waves closer to the main beach.
At the far south of the beach, there is a bay overlooked by large cliffs that can create some amazing left on its day. Best at low tide you can’t see it from the parking spots so you’ll need to suit up and head around the rocks at the left-hand side of the beach.
The centre of the beach gets super wedgy on the right conditions with lefts and rights peeling down the sand banks with some serious punch.
Porthtowan does get busy during the summer months and is even still popular in winter due to its quality surf. Plus it’s lifeguarded through the summer months so it’s a great option if you’re learning to surf.
Learning to surf at Porthtowan
Surf spots close to Porthtowan
If it’s looking big and windy at Porthtowan you can head up the coast to go surfing at Newquay’s town beaches which are much more sheltered from south westerly which are onshore here.
If it’s really busy at Porthtowan consider surfing at Holywell Bay, the waves might not be as good but it’ll probably be heaps quieter.
If you want a wave that’s just as good as Porthtowan you’ll need to head to Fistral or even further up the coast and surf at Mawgan Porth between low and mid tide.
Can you surf Porthtowan when it’s onshore?
Yes, as long as the winds stay under 10mph Porthtowan can still produce some great waves all along the beach.
Can you surf Porthtowan at high tide?
Yes, unlike lots of other waves in the area Porthtowan is still pretty fun at high tide when the banks are in the right place. Just remember that the incoming tide significantly decrease the space you can surf so it can get busy as it pushes up.