Surfing in Wales is still fairly unknown outside of the surf community. I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve heard, “you can surf in Wales?” The brightside of this ignorance is its picturesque beaches are not too crowded. Here in no particular order are the top five places to surf in Wales.
Porth Neigwl/Hell’s Mouth, Llyn Peninsula
Don’t let the name fool you – it’s not that bad! But then, it can be hellishly cold there… This is the best surf spot in North Wales and it’s picturesque to boot – except when it’s raining. The four-mile-long stretch can get crowded, and the best of the waves tend to be beneath the cliffs to the south-east. However, if you are willing to walk along the beach for a wave, you can avoid the crowds. For the perfect surf-sesh, wait for a south-to-west swell and a northeast wind.
Voted the best beach in Britain in 2013, it’s a great beach for beginners. It’s a popular surf spot, but the three-mile stretch of sand means there is plenty of room for surfers of all abilities. It’s one of the most consistent spots in the whole of Wales, with good peaks. Its green waves have shape and power, and its best to go when the wind is from the east and the swell is from south-to-west.
Newgale is where many learn to surf due to the ease of renting equipment and forgiving waves at most tides. The two-mile stretch of sand offers some great rollers. The beach is also popular with kayakers, windsurfers and kite surfers. Go when the north-east wind blows and the swell in south-to-west during mid-tide.
A picturesque bay where you can surf under the shadow of a Norman castle, Manorbier has an advanced right-hand reef and mellower beach peaks near the castle ruins. However, there is a strong rip tide to the left. Optimal conditions are when the swell is from south-to-west and the wind is blowing from the north-east.
Close to Cardiff, Bristol, and a doable day-trip from London, Porthcawl is always popular with the UK surf crowd. Rest Bay has the most consistent break, providing well-formed peaks, while Coney Beach in front of the esplanade offers more shelter. The best time to go is when the wind blows from the east, and the swell coming from the south or the west.