EUROPE / UK / CORNWALL / HOTSPOTS
Main image: Lee Harvey, Porthleven Photo: Jaanboy Photography
The UK’s most famous county for wave kiting offers huge beaches, great summer weather, lots of activities for the kids and family and fantastic conditions for either learning to surf, or paddling into really challenging waves. Always worth a holiday or a short trip whatever the season, here’s a guide to the key kiting spots by the local legend and UK wave champ 2013 - 2019, Lee ‘Pasty’ Harvey.
WHEN TO GO: Peak Season: Bigger Waves - Winter / Warmer Winds - Summer Air Temp: 0 – 30°C / 32 – 86°F Water Temp: 7 – 18°C / 45 – 64°F
St Michael's Mount providing a picturesque foiling session, Marazion Photo: Photolounge Kernow
MARAZION / LONG ROCK Marazion, near Penzance, is very picturesque, offering up waves and / or flat water. Westerly winds through to south-easterly work. Some rocky sections on a low-tide to be aware of but in a southwesterly you’ll get waves. Head to Long Rock on a southeasterly for cleaner winds. The beach is privately owned but the owners are happy for people to ride there, providing other beach users are respected. As with many Cornish spots, kiting at high tide should be avoided as there’s very little space to land your kite as it’s near a road. Beginners will love Marazion, but for more space and fewer people they should stay to the west of Red River, away from the sea wall. Long Rock is just up the road. A reef blocks the swell on lower tides, making for nice flat sections but watch out for some submerged rocks. NEVER ride there on a high tide as the launching / landing zone is close to the railway. Marazion has lots of cafes and restaurants.
Gwithian Photo: Pasty Adventures
GWITHIAN World-class north coast down-the-line spot! Gets very busy with beach goers in the summer months, so stay clear of the lifeguard zones and surfers. Best on a low- to mid-tide and with southerly winds through to north-easterlies. Watch out for the rocks in front of the car park and it can be challenging on a southerly. Park next to the beach next to the Sunset Surf shack-style cafe.
Sam, Tom, Lew, Aaron and Dan 'avin it at Gwithian in 2020
WATERGATE BAY One of Cornwall’s best known spots. This two mile wide sandy beach is great on a mid- to low-tide. The prevailing southwesterly wind hits cross-on from the left, however this spot also works in southerlies, westerlies and northerlies. The beach almost entirely disappears at high tide. On a proper swell, huge surf rolls in to The ‘Gate, so if in doubt, don’t go out. The Beach Hut is right on the beach and a great place for a post-session refuel. The Watergate Bay Hotel overlooks the spot, too. DAYMER BAY Daymer Bay is further north and closed to kiters from 10am to 6pm in July and August. Working in everything from a northeasterly back round to a northwesterly, the best place to launch is on the Polzeath side. On a good swell forecast you can score awesome waves at the north end of the bay but Daymer can also deliver fantastic flat water sessions. The ominously named Doom Bar sandbar crops up on a falling tide along with strong rips around the river mouth, which are best avoided. Keep clear of the passing fishing boats. The Mowhay Cafe is a short walk from the beach in Trebether and there’s a large car park at the north end of the bay.
Lee at a lesser-promoted spot... / Photo: Jaanboy Photography
PENHALE - PERRANPORTH AND PERRAN SANDS Another long beach in northern Cornwall that works in the same winds as Watergate Bay. It doesn’t hold quite the same size surf but still has a good fetch for Atlantic swells and you can score some nice flat sections between the waves. As a bigger beach it’s less crowded, especially the northern ‘Penhale’ end that you access via the Haven Perran Sands Holiday Camp (buy a parking ticket from their office). Stick to the kite zones in summer and there’s no kiting at high tide at the southern end of the beach all year. The Watering Hole pub is right on the beach. Park close to the beach and walk up to the kite zone. THE BLUFF It’s not all about waves in Cornwall and the Bluff in Hayle - the last spot on the peninsula before you round the corner to the southern side - is an awesome flat water location. North-easterly through to westerly winds work, but you need to have insurance and must buy a pass from one of the local kite or surf shops. Keep an eye out for boats and rips on a low tide in the channel. Buying an access pass gets you free parking at Harvey Towans which is just by the river mouth.
PAR One of Cornwall’s less-visited kite spots is tucked away between St Austell and Fowey. Working best on a south-wester, it’s also rideable on a south-easterly and, in general is quite beginner-friendly with cross-on winds and shallow water thanks to the gently shelving beach. Park by the beach in front of the caravan park, pump up and go!
Marazion / Photo: Joe Cockle Photography
There’s an airport near Newquay - fly into the heart of Cornwall and rent a car from there to make the most of all the spots.
SCHOOL / CLINICS PASTY ADVENTURES Lee Harvey runs lessons and coaching sessions across Cornwall, specialising in waves and foiling. www.pastyadventures.co.uk firstname.lastname@example.org
KERNOW KITESURF CLUB Thanks to Rory from Kernow Kite Club for helping with this feature. Always respect the rules of the spots in Cornwall to help local kiters maintain access. Head to www.kernowkitesurfclub.co.uk for more info on kiting around Cornwall. Click here to open the Covid Protocol info box and find out how the BKSA managed kitesurfing through Covid.