It’s finally warm enough to contemplate swimming in the Welsh sea without getting frostbite, which is good news for surf enthusiasts like me, as the country has some of the best beaches for the sport this side of Cornwall. The four listed below are beginner friendly and have surf schools on the beach as well as offering bigger swell as well for thrill-seekers. Check out Magic Seaweed for surf predictions and hit the sand.
A popular destination only a bus-ride away from Cardiff and Swansea. Rest Bay gets busy in the summer but has beginner friendly waves all year round on a beach fringed with beautiful grassy cliffs, away from the tacky shoreline of Porthcawl. Cressey’s Surf Academy are based here and offer a good range of classes for all ages and abilities. There’s a lifeguard station keeping an eye on people in the water, and you can hire gear from the fabulous Malc’s Cafe (boards £10/day, suits £5/day, a a popular surfer hangout with views out over the bay, tables made from boards and cosy sofas
A pretty, sheltered beach near Mumbles which is really beginner-friendly, as the surf is big enough to give you a challenge but small enough to stop you wiping out mid-wave. There’s year-round reliable surf, easy parking and a cosy little cafe serving amazing hot chocolate to get rid of the water’s chill. GSD surf school operate from here if you’re looking for a lesson – their instructors are all patient and knowledgeable.
Newgale, nestled in St Bride’s Bay in Pembrokeshire, is a gorgeous little picture-postcard beach – long, sandy and perfect for all levels of surfing. It’s in the national park, which means it’s well maintained, and it’s a few minutes’ walk to the village of Newgale which has some good coffee shops and pubs. The local surf shop, Newsurf, issues a daily surf report and hires out cheap boards and wetsuits to learners.
One of the most consistent surf breaks in Wales, this beach has it all – reefs, point breaks, sandy beaches and an abundance of wildlife. Outer Reef surf school operates from here, so if you’re unsure of your ability, it’s worth getting a lesson and some local knowledge from them before heading out, as the waves can sometimes be a bit overpowering – watch out for warning red flags on the beach which mean it’s unsafe to swim.