At The Headland Hotel

Stay ultra-toasty this winter when you surf with us, click to read how we're keeping you warmer than ever!

The Surf Sanctuary surf school is open all year round and we run the majority of our sessions from our base at Fistral Beach, arguably the most consistent surf spot in the UK. If the swell is running too large for Fistral, we are just a short walk away from the sheltered beaches in the Newquay Bay, where we enjoy 'resident school' status at Towan Beach.

We offer lessons to everybody aged 8 to 88 of all abilities and experience levels from the complete novice to the aspiring competition surfer. At Surf Sanctuary we prefer to keep class sizes to a minimum to allow our surf coaches to give you the ultimate surfing experience.


All equipment is supplied including wetsuits, boards, rashvests as well as boots, gloves and hoods during cooler months. We only use premium quality 5mm wetsuits for the highest comfort and warmth factor.

Our soft surfboards are supplied by the North Cornwall Surfboard company and provide the best mix of stability, durability and performance. For more advanced tuition we have a supply of custom shaped boards that are designed to excel in Cornish waters.

Lesson Structure:

All Surf Sanctuary lessons are tailored to each person or group, but there are some constants. Allow 2 hours for a one to one lesson and 2 ½ hours for pairs and larger groups. Each lesson begins with a surf assessment from the crow’s nest, and then on the sand a beach safety lesson followed by a surf specific warm up. After your surf lesson, your coach will take you through a relaxing warm down to ensure energy levels are restored as quickly as possible. All the stuff in between will be specific to you!


One to One: £90
Two to One: £120
Three to one: £150

Group Lessons (up to six clients per surf coach): £40 first lesson, £35 thereafter


Also provided in your lesson at Surf Sanctuary are warm, clean dry changing rooms and hot showers. Parking is also free for our clients, definitely a stress-reducer on busy summer days. We realise that surfing is an adventure, but there's no point roughing it 😉

We are able to deliver lessons all year round though encourage you to call or email in advance of dropping by as we may be booked up, or already on the water ☺


What do I need to bring? Just a towel and swimming costume / shorts or similar to wear under the wetsuits. Wetsuits, surfboards, and in cooler months boots, gloves and hoods are all provided and included in the lesson price. How long does the lesson last? Allow around two hours out of your day start to finish. Where and when do we meet? Please come to the Surf Sanctuary at the arranged time for your lesson, no need to come early 🙂 The weather looks bad, are we still going ahead? Safety and lesson quality are our prime directives. If we cannot fulfil these, we will postpone your lesson. That said, surfing is a very robust sport and can be practised safely and enjoyably in conditions that might seem adverse if you are not a regular visitor to the sea. The decision to run or postpone the lesson will be made by the lead instructor. Why do your lessons start at random times? We pre-plan all of our lesson start times through the year according to the tides; Fistral is best around the mid tide ranges so if you are surfing with us each day, the start time will change. How deep do we go? On beginner lessons, you can expect to be able to touch the sea floor with your feet at all times, typically it will be around waist depth. Advanced lessons are run 'out the back' in deep water. Is there anything nasty in the water? Cornwall is blessed with clean seas, largely free from biting things though you might see seals, jellyfish and even a dolphin. What's a weaver fish then? Weavers are small fish that lurk in the shallows around low tide. They sting if you step on them. The treatment is to immerse your foot in hot water to denature the sting. Do I need to be a good swimmer? Not really; much of the work will be done 'on foot', pushing the board out and then jumping onto it to catch a wave in. Being comfortable with your head going underwater and an ability to carry the surfboard down to the beach are more relevant skills. I have a medical condition that might affect my ability to surf, can I still go? Surfing is a wonderfully adaptable sport, you are definitely encouraged to get in touch to discuss your requirements with us once you have cleared it with your doctor as there is usually something we can work out.