Cornwall Kitesurf Guide No. 5: Fistral Beach

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Tight waveriding arena

Wave rating: 5/5

Flat water rating: 2/5

I think Fistral is one of the most dangerous beaches in Cornwall you could reasonably kite at. This is because in a South West or West wind, you are automatically pulled downwind towards the rocks at Little Fistral, or worse, the Cribbar reef. On a large swell, it would be too easy to get overwhelmed and smashed up, so I could only recommend sailing here if you are confident in your abilities in surf.

Bennet fades into a vague bowl

This beach is naturally popular with just about everyone, and kiters are at the bottom of the list when it comes to priority – don’t be surprised if you are loudly reminded of that fact by paddle in surfers. I only ride here when it’s wind-blown, miserable and no one else is around, I absolutely could not recommend trying to kite here when the wind is marginal and there are people around. Kiting is forbidden during lifeguarded hours.

Fistral Beach, filling up with tide on an offshore day

If you get it right, I think Fistral is a superb beach break for waveriding in Cornwall, though I think it’s twin tip appeal is limited because it doesn’t get those big flat sheets of water that Watergate or Crantock get. The peak stays well defined and the waves have got some real punch. If the wind backs off a couple of knots (as it does in the evening after the lifeguards have gone), it’s definitely worth landing your kite and going out for a paddle.

Looking North towards Towan Headland

Launching

You can launch at high tide, there is space, but your escape route will be non-existent. Mid to low (dropping tide) is best.

Winds

South West and West are good for left handers and upwind riding on rights. Works on a NW but there’s not much joy when it’s bang onshore.

Restrictions

No kiting during lifeguarded hours. Be sensitive to the large surfing population, if more than ten paddlers are out, it could be wise to try somewhere else.

The Cribbar breaking about 1.5km away from where we were stood. Click this photo twice to enlarge.

Fistral Beach faces WNW, catches and shapes a lot of swell.

NEXT GUIDE: The River Gannel

4 Comments

  1. Have plans Andrew, but it’s one of those things – it could be on next week, or next year. It would be no ‘big deal’ to ride out there and potter about in the area where it breaks when it is not working, but to ride it when it’s working properly, and worth riding and comparable to some other bigger wave spots around the world, there are a lot of variables that need to all come together. We know what we’d like the conditions to be before we try it, and we’ve got the kit, so for now it’s just a waiting game!

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