As the waves roll in and the swell rises at Watergate Bay, all types of surfers find their rhythm and place on the shoreline. Both beginners and professionals alike ride a combination of elements as tides, swell, and wind direction come together to create the conditions ideal for surfers.
Unlike many other beaches in Cornwall, Watergate Bay is a surf spot that works on most tides, and knowing how this affects the waves at the Bay is a bonus. You’ll find the best waves at mid to high tide – and there are not that many places on the north coast that work that high. Visit at low and you’ll find two-miles of space to play with and hopefully a peak to yourself – just take care during big swells.
Facing straight out into the Atlantic, Watergate Bay picks up a lot of groundswell and is a safe bet during small waves. It also takes advantage of working on most swell directions, although a westerly swell is best. If there’s not much swell around then low tide is your best bet.
The Bay works best on a light south-easterly offshore wind, but the best thing is that waves are sheltered at high tide by our big imposing cliffs. If everywhere else in Cornwall is blown out, it’s always worth checking for a sneaky high-tide dip. At the other end of the spectrum, low tide can be quite exposed. But once the wind picks up past 20 knots then it’s time to get the kites out for a kitesurf.
A centre stop on the UK Pro Surf Tour, the Bay plays host to the English National Surfing Championships with Surfing England every year. This year, hundreds of the UK’s best surfers will battle it out to be the best in the country. The final of the Rip Curl Grom Search also landed at Watergate Bay. If it’s good enough for the pros, it’s good enough for us.