Cornwall Kitesurf Guide No. 5: Fistral Beach
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.
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.
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.
You can launch at high tide, there is space, but your escape route will be non-existent. Mid to low (dropping tide) is best.
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.
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.
NEXT GUIDE: The River Gannel