Cornwall Kitesurf Guide No.3: Watergate Bay
All-terrain / big down the line waves
Wave rating: 4/5
Flat water rating: 3/5
Watergate is really the best beach to be heading to when you’re in the Newquay area and it’s where I do 90% of my riding. It works in anything from a South round to a North wind. When the wind is cross shore, you can get stellar waveriding conditions, and though days that the North wind combines with the swell are rare, they produce excellent down the line right handers.
South winds often come in with a decent swell and twin tip appeal is limited as the wind is quite gusty and the wrong angle for exploiting the flat sheets between the white water on the inside. This is also the riskiest direction because it pulls you towards the foreboding rocks and cliffs of the North End; approach the South wind days after conducting a good risk assessment, and preferably on a dropping tide, a couple of hours before low.
The steady West winds nearly always come with a thumping swell, 3m plus, and this opens up the whole beach for all types of riding. You can still get out the back for some exciting ‘tow-ins’ as long as you don’t mind a hefty swim in if it goes wrong.
The onshore days are good fun on a twin tip, but I find usually quite disappointing on a surfboard and there are other places I’ll head to instead. Learners and improvers will find that an hour after spring low, on a rising tide, huge sheets of water will rush in under these conditions which are ideal for honing skills.
Along this beach, the best area is directly out in front of the Beach Hut. The beach is widest here, the wind is strongest as it accelerates over the sloping cliffs (rather than buffeting around the vertical cliffs to the north and south) BUT it’s only accessible to kiters during off season or outside lifeguarded hours.
Head north of the rocks by the steps during lifeguarded hours. No kiting two hours either side of high tide, for your own good.
180 degree wind exposure at Watergate: South round to North, via West. Do not attempt in an offshore.
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