Fistral - surfing

  • boardmasters-speed-reo
  • fistral-air
  • Fistral Big Surf
  • Jetski Rescue - Fistral
  • The Cribbar
  • The Cribbar Setup
  • Surfing at Fistral
  • As the UK's best known surf beach and birth place of surfing in Britain Fistral has a lot to live up to. The spotlight on Newquay's premiere surf beach has often led to people being dismissive about the actual quality of the waves - don't believe the hype! Fistral really is one of the best beach breaks in Cornwall capable of producing powerful, hollow waves and working under a variety of conditions.

    Facing WNW means Fistral picks up a good deal of any north coast swell running. It is also capable of holding it - there are often surfable waves here well overhead and when it gets really huge there's always the Cribbar! As with all beaches the quality of the waves is dependent on the quality of the sand banks. Fistral seems to have fairly consistently good banks.

    The beach works through all states of tide, except for Little Fistral (at the northern end) which only really exists at low tide. Little Fistral usually picks up a little more swell than the rest of the beach so can be a good call.

    Perhaps the biggest negative aspect of surfing at Fistral is the crowds. As surfing becomes increasingly popular, Newquay and in particular, Fistral, are baring the brunt of this. On small summer days it's probably a good plan to try somewhere else. It does quieten down a lot in the winter, but not as much as it used to so you'd be pretty lucky to score epic Fistral to yourself.

    At the northern end of Fistral in front of Towan head is the Cribbar, Cornwall's legendary big wave spot. Unlike many potential big wave spots around the coast the Cribbar has been surfed, and at over 20ft. Only a handful of surfers have braved the monster that is the Cribbar. The first were Jack Lydgate and visiting Aussie surfers Johnny McIlroy and Pete Russell back in 1966

    Surf report

    Current surf conditions for Fistral (19th Jun)
    Wave height * 3ft / 0.9m
    Swell period 6s
    Swell direction  °
    Wind  ° 14mph / 22km/h
    * Wave size is face height of set waves.

    Type of beach


    Lifeguard service

    There is a full RNLI lifeguard service at Fistral providing seasonal cover every day between Easter Bank Holiday to end of October. The beach is patrolled between 10am and 6pm.


    There is a 250 space car park at Fistral, right behind the beach, with the charges varying throughout the year. Given the beach's reputation as one of the premiere spots in Cornwall we would advise arriving early during peak season to secure a spot.

    In the event that the main car park is full there is further parking at the council-owned Dane Road car park around a 5 minute walk away. Another option is to park at the Towan Headland car park next to the Old Lifeboat House. Again this is around 5 minutes walk to Fistral but is right above Little Fistral.