In the UK, we don’t really have as much of an “on” or “off” season for kitesurfing the way a lot of other places do.
And if you’re heading for some kitesurfing in Cornwall during the winter, you’re guaranteed to have the strongest and most consistent winds!
Don’t let the cold deter you though. The UK has produced a ton of the best kitesurfers in the world for a reason.
In this article we’ll cover:
- Cornwall wind conditions
- The best kitesurfing spots in Cornwall
- Where you can take kitesurfing lessons in Cornwall
So, if you’re planning on making the most of it this winter and heading to do some kitesurfing in Cornwall, read on!
Wind Conditions in Cornwall
Cornwall is in a position that benefits from both of the UK’s strongest prevailing winds: Either south-easterlies, or north-westerlies.
The minimum knots you will need to kitesurf successfully is around 15, depending on both your kite size and bodyweight (and whether you know how to ride a foil).
However, these speeds can be achieved reliably in Cornwall during the winter.
Because Cornwall is a peninsula, you’ll need to know the best spots for kitesurfing, as well as which wind directions are compatible with them.
For example, Morazion and Longrock are iconic spots on the south coast, and have amazing conditions when the wind is southerly, south-easterly, or south-westerly.
Knowing the conditions is important not just for you, but for the safety of fellow kiters and others who want to use the water.
You’ll need to remember that some beaches in Cornwall aren’t really accessible in summer due to the flocks of holidaymakers. In winter, though, this shouldn’t be a problem.
Make sure to check the popularity of a kitesurfing spot, too, as many of the beaches have one or more kiting schools attached to them, which could cause problems.
If you find a beach you fancy heading to with a school attached, it’s best to call them up before travelling. They may require a fee to surf their spot, or have the area booked out for lessons.
Another thing to be aware of is how the weather forecasts present wind data, as many websites present data with a daily average.
If the forecast says the weather will be an average of less than 15 knots, don’t be discouraged! This can be greatly skewed by the low wind at night or in the morning, and wind speeds tend to pick up in the afternoon.
Top Cornish Kitesurfing Spots
This spot is iconic!
Watergate Bay hosts the annual ‘Legend of the Bay’ tournament for a reason!
Watergate Bay is a huge beach, and because it’s so expansive it gets great wind from the north, as well as through the north-west, west, and south-west.
Because this spot is such a kitesurfing destination there are plenty of hotels and B&Bs near the beach, as well as plenty of on-beach facilities.
In addition, it’s home to two excellent schools: Extreme Academy and Atlantic Riders.
Watergate Bay is popular with pros for good reason, with huge granite cliffs and epic waves.
If you plan on going out without lessons first, check out this PDF guide put together by locals, and stay safe!
Marazion and Longrock
Marazion and Longrock beaches can be grouped together because they’re both elements of what is essentially the same spot — Mount’s Bay — crowned by the beautiful St Michael’s Mount!
If you haven’t heard of St Michael’s Mount, look it up! It’s pretty special, and very uniquely British.
Marazion township itself has everything you need for food and accommodation, and the conditions in Mount’s Bay are beginner friendly.
There are two amazing windsurfing schools here, Ocean High and Pasty Adventures.
Of course, we’ve got to mention the striking castle in the middle of the bay: St Michael’s Mount.
Thanks to this unique island castle and gardens, there are plenty of tourists to watch out for in the summer. However, if you’re waiting for the wind to pick up, it can be pretty awesome to hang out in this spot.
Mount’s Bay, being a sheltered southern bay, gets the best wind from the south, south-west and south-east. Therefore, it’s a good location to head to if there’s an abundance of southerlies!
The Bluff, Hayle
The Bluff is known as a training ground for world-class kite surfers.
Located just outside the beautiful town of St Ives, the conditions here can be challenging, but are perfect for more experienced kitesurfers.
There’s a lot you need to know about launching here, however.
You’ll need a Bluff Pass permit from Kernow Kitesurf Club, and you’ll also need to learn the code of conduct for surfing these beautiful waters.
Once you have a pass, however, you can enjoy perks such as:
- Free parking at Harvey Towans
- Discounted lessons.
The winds here are amazing on the west coast, especially when coming from the north, north-east, or north-west, but it’s recommended that you’re careful with the often very powerful and gusty westerlies.
Additionally, there are a lot of obstacles to avoid, including boats, telegraph poles, a shallow sand bar, and the ever-present beachgoers!
Very close to the Bluff is another amazing west coast beach, Gwithian (or Godrevy, if you make it all the way up to the lighthouse).
One of the longest beaches in Cornwall, this spot is a bit more free range, and you won’t find any restrictions on who can kitesurf here.
According to other kitesurfers, there are two large, submerged rocks just below the high-tide line to watch out for– and of course there are the ubiquitous beachgoers.
There are less facilities here but you’ll find toilets by the beach, and cafés within walking distance.
The good news is that the wind is very flexible in this area, and you can get good performance from south-westerlies all the way through to westerlies, north-westerlies, and northerlies.
If you’re looking to practise your flat-water skills, Daymer Bay is one of the few areas in Cornwall that gets the best wind when there’s a prevailing easterly.
Sitting just near the mouth of Camel Estuary, Daymer Bay gets sheltered from most of the waves while still getting good wind.
A unique spot that won’t be too crowded, this is an excellent training ground for beginners and pros alike.
However, there are less amenities at Daymer Bay than some of the other places on this list.
There is a beach-side shop and some nearby accommodation, but no cafés or pubs. If you’re interested in camping, though, there are plenty of well-rated nearby campsites.
Daymer Bay isn’t overly popular amongst either kitesurfers or holidaymakers, so you’ll have fewer people to share the water with. There are also very few obstacles to watch out for, besides boats heading up or down the estuary.
The only thing to watch out for is a ban on kite-flying in July and August, between 10am–6pm… so basically the whole day.
Par Sands is another unique spot for kitesurfing.
It’s very beginner-friendly because it’s one of those bays that stays very shallow for a long time. It also has minimal obstacles and is less popular, so there will be fewer kitesurfers on the water.
This could be a good spot for someone who already has the bare basics down, and wants some time and space to level up their skills before moving to more challenging bays.
Par Sands is on the south coast, so gets the most south-east, south, and south-west winds.
The only thing to be aware of is that south-westerlies here can be quite gusty, and most definitely not beginner-friendly.
Just off the A390, Par township has plenty of accommodation options, and there are toilets and a café on the beach.
Perranporth & Penhale
Perranporth and Perran Sands beach is an amazing spot to play.
The beach is nearly five kilometres long and has sand dunes all the way across it, which means you can kitesurf all day without worrying about tides.
With powerful Atlantic Ocean waves coming in, these beaches benefit from winds coming from the north all the way around to the north-west, west, and south-west.
If kitesurfing the Atlantic waves wasn’t enough for you, this beach also creates natural flat zones with its twin rip tides.
Imagine flying for half a kilometre or more on almost completely smooth water, just to break out the other side into ocean swells!
Needless to say, this spot should only really be attempted solo by experienced kiters as it can be unsafe.
Additionally, there may be restrictions on which areas of the long beach can be used at different times, in the interest of safety.
If you’re worried your skills won’t quite be up to scratch, there are plenty of surfing and kitesurfing schools you can book lessons with!
Kitesurfing Lessons in Cornwall
Extreme Academy is located right in the middle of Watergate Bay.
Open seven days a week, they not only offer surfing, bodyboarding, kitesurfing, waveski, hand planing, and stand-up paddleboard lessons (whew!), they also hire out their gear.
They’re in an awesome location and, as they say on their website:
“…most importantly, we have hot showers to take off your wetsuit in.”
Atlantic Riders are great for beginners who need guidance in the sometimes dangerous Watergate area.
However, what’s really interesting about them is their overqualified instructors!
If you want help pushing to that next level, try booking in with Andy Heald and Will Bennet– four times British Waves Master, and fifth KiteBoard Pro World Tour WaveMaster!
They’ll be sure to get you kitesurfing like a pro in no time!
If you want to start off somewhere warmer, Ocean High offers good kitesurfing lessons for beginners.
Ocean High also has the benefit of choosing from a range of beaches around the Marazion area, and so you can expect to launch reliably, no matter the wind direction.
With lessons available for up to four people for half a day, if you’ve always wanted to learn to kitesurf with three of your best buddies, you’re in luck!
They also have a variety of other activities on offer, such as paddleboard or kayaking lessons, or group bookings.
Fancy a stag or hen kitesurfing party?
The Pasty Adventures team is also based in the Marazion area, but they don’t do beginner courses.
Run by Lee “Pasty” Harvey, British Kitesurf and Windsurf Champion, the school offers lessons from legendary kitesurfers where you can hone your skills.
Whether you want to catch big airs, learn to unhook, or even get into the next big thing with learning how to get good on a wingfoil, Pasty Adventures has got you covered.
There’s only one restriction to be aware of: you’ll need to bring your own kit and have third party insurance.
Venturi Watersports only has two instructors, Morgan and Amber, and they offer lessons all along the north coast of Cornwall.
However, they offer affordable package deals for beginner to intermediate level kitesurfers– with a bit of a twist!
When you book with Venturi Watersports, your kitesurfing lesson will not just be a lesson, but an experience– paired with yoga lessons on the beach!
It’s definitely a unique adventure and a great one to experience with your partner, if you feel like taking them along for the ride.
In addition to kitesurfing, they also offer stand-up paddleboarding lessons and experiences, yoga and aerial workshops, and a yoga retreat.
Newquay Activity Centre
Based in Newquay, a short drive down the coast from Watergate, Newquay Activity Centre has all sorts of activities best suited to a group.
In addition to kitesurfing lessons and gear hire, they also offer surfing, coasteering, stand-up paddleboarding, super stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, bodyboarding, and more.
Bring your family, bring your mates, bring your stag or hen party, and get involved in everything they have to offer!
Best thing about it? Even if the wind dies down below 15 knots, you’re guaranteed to have a good time.
The Bottom Line
Cornwall is a great place to hit the water sports, and it’s certainly true of kitesurfing.
With so many fantastic spots as well as kitesurfing schools in the area, you can find something to suit you and your level of ability — easy!
Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro, make sure you head down to Cornwall the next time you’re itching to hit the waves.
Introducing Eliot, the Editor here and Cornwall local with a wanderlust spirit and an insatiable appetite for adventure. With a passion for the great outdoors, he can often be found catching waves on his surfboard, scaling peaks on a hiking trail, or discovering hidden gems in his exploration of Cornwall.