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