As the British watched the Wimbledon final with baited breath a few weeks ago, two questions were on everyone’s mind. Firstly, could Andy Murray win it? And secondly, where was Prince William? Kate was watching from the royal box, but viewers were informed Will had a prior commitment – which turned out to be bodyboarding in Cornwall. The great thing about bodyboarding is that anyone can give it a go and catch a wave or two. Surfing requires quite a bit more time and skill due to the additional concern of staying upright. Either way, Cornwall is often considered the best spot in the UK to try your hand at them both. Traveling by car is an ideal way to explore the county, and means you can take all your beach gear with you wherever you go. Compare car hire online before you set off to get the best deal out there.
You can fly from London Gatwick into Newquay Cornwall Airport, where it’s easy to hire a car and get your trip started. The airport is just outside the seaside town of Newquay on the
north coast, itself famed for being a fantastic surfing location. The UK’s most prestigious surf competitions are held on Fiscal Beach here, and there’s a surf school to help teach complete beginners right up to people who can stay on the board and look like they know what they’re doing. Lessons start at £15 (about $23) for a couple of hours training, and you can book an instructor for your group so that you can laugh at your friends (or have them laugh at you). Alternatively, grab a bodyboard and get straight in the sea. Boards and wetsuits can be rented at the beach, and although Cornwall has one of the mildest climates in Britain expect the water to be chilly, even in summer.Around a forty minute drive up the coast you’ll find Polzeath: a great beach for beginner surfers and bodyboarders (and where William and Harry were spotted during the tennis). The waves are generally gentle so you’re less likely to get dragged under the water as you can with rougher tides. You’re also less likely to go cruising into the back of unsuspecting people’s legs while they’re looking the other way. I crashed into the same man several times in Newquay, like some kind of floating hit man. On that note, there are lessons available here too. The beach has some really good camping facilities, and occasionally dolphins can also be spotted around the bay.
More advanced surfers could head to Constantine and Booby’s Bay (no comment), also on the northern coast. The waves here are powerful and much quicker than at Polzeath, and there are shallow rocky reefs. Booby’s Bay can only be accessed by climbing down the rocks off the coastal path, or over the sand from Constantine Bay during low tide. When the tide’s low you can also see the remains of a ship wrecked in 1917 – something to definitely avoid when you’re on your board!
Katherine likes to a get a feel for the history of the places she visits, and seeks out the bits which reveal something about the culture in different areas of the globe. She has traveled in four different continents and is looking forward to exploring the rest.
[Image courtesy of Dave Hamster on Flickr]