A Cornish SUP guide part 1: The Newquay Bay

A Cornish SUP guide part 1: The Newquay Bay

Ciao all, it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted, July was very busy what with wrapping up the latest issue of SUP Magazine, available now on iTunes and in all WH Smiths, and teaching lots of surfing, SUP, the occasional bit of kitesurfing (not so good for wind) and establishing Crantock Bay SUP Club. More on that later.

Well, since we’ve been doing so much paddling lately, I thought I’d start jotting down some standup paddle routes around Cornwall that I’ve managed to capture with the ol’ GoPro. Let’s kick off close to home with the deceptively interesting Newquay Bay…

Past the lost world on the way to Watergate Bay
Past the lost world on the way to Watergate Bay

Newquay Bay to Watergate Bay

Start: Newquay Harbour

Finish: Watergate Bay (one way), Newquay Harbour, turn back at Trevelgue (return)

Distance: 3 miles (Watergate one way), 2 miles (Trevelgue return)

Best tide: An hour or two before spring high

Best wind: SSW for a downwind push, light E for return

Highlights: The harbour seal; Towan Island; cafes at Tolcarne, Lusty and Porth; Porth Headland; the reef near Whipsiderry

Clear water paddle out from Newquay Harbour
Clear water paddle out from Newquay Harbour

Description

When you stand atop your board in Newquay Harbour and contemplate Watergate Bay in the distance, this seems a bit of an epic but it’s really quite short if you take a bee-line. I find the best thing to do is to hug the coast on a spring high tide and enjoy manoeuvring your board as you swirl through craggy rock gullies and explore the coves and vaulting cliffs that cannot be seen from the town.

Paddling round the rocky point from Tolcarne to Lusty Glaze.
Paddling round the rocky point from Tolcarne to Lusty Glaze.

In fact, as you make your way along you appreciate how despite being ‘in town’ how rugged and varied the Newquay coastline is. It’s like a lost world; nip round the corner from a beach full of sun-worshipers and suddenly you can’t see any signs of civilisation.

Pretty safe from traffic wardens, bank charges and energy bills out here
Pretty safe from traffic wardens, bank charges and energy bills out here

The water is typically a bit warmer in ‘The Bay’, being as it is not as exposed to ocean currents as Watergate and Fistral. I love diving off the board and having a good poke around, particularly in the second half of the paddle  around the rocky reef that extends out from the north side of Porth Island towards Whipsiderry Beach. Porth Island hides a magnificent cave with an open roof; you can paddle right into it on your board. You can paddle right around the Island at high tide passing down a rocky gully and under the footbridge that connects it to the mainland, proper treasure island stuff.

Does it need to be any clearer than this?
Does it need to be any clearer than this?
The remote beauty of Whipsiderry north
The remote beauty of Whipsiderry north

As you pass beyond the island at Whipsiderry beach things get really dramatic; huge rock stacks rise up, some quite purple in colour and empty waves break on lost beaches. This is a part of the coastline not many sea, accessible as it is by foot only around low tide.

Green dot marks the start, red dot marks a handy return point at Whipsy, blue dots show just some of the places you might want to check out. NB: This map shows the bay at mid tide, at high tide it's full with water and more interesting to paddle.
Green dot marks the start, red dot marks a handy return point at Whipsy, blue dots show just some of the places you might want to check out. NB: This map shows the bay at mid tide, at high tide it’s full with water and more interesting to paddle.

 

Next time we’re going to have a good poke around the Carrick Roads, Loe Beach to Truro. 

 

 

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