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Lucky to live and surf in St Ives

April 25th, 2016

Ben Warner: a local surfer, instructor and coasteering guide at St Ives Surf School kindly agreed to write a post for us about why he is so lucky to live in St Ives. It’s not just tourists that appreciate this beautiful town and its surrounds; from a surfer’s perspective it’s the perfect place to be – phenomenal surf in St Ives and within a 30 minute drive.

Lucky to live here

There is something that I hear frequently from visitors to the far West of Cornwall. “You are so lucky to live here”.

People are drawn to the cobbled streets that weave through St. Ives and the traditional fisherman’s lodges that line them. They are drawn by the unique quality of light that has lured artists for decades. They are drawn by the perfect white beaches framing the unruly Atlantic ocean. They are drawn by the waves.

Some of Britain’s best restaurants are here. Inspired by the seafood bounty on their doorsteps, we work in food metres here, not food miles. Everything from luxury hotels to scenic holiday lets and hostels are here, meaning that every taste and budget is catered to. Nowhere is the term “spoiled for choice” more apt than here.

The harbour provides a focal point to the town and, along with Porthminster beach, provides a sheltered haven for families, bathers and sun worshipers alike, but it is to the town’s North facing beach that my heart belongs: Porthmeor provides us with the waves that so many of us build our lives around.

Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Porthmeor is nestled below the iconic Tate gallery and is protected from the prevailing South West winds. It might just be offshore here more than any other break in Cornwall.  As if being one of the UK’s premier surf spots wasn’t enough, it is also home to arguably the finest sunsets I have seen anywhere in the world.

Despite being within a stones throw of the town centre, it retains a beautiful wildness that precious few town beaches have: Almost as if you are close to stepping off the edge of the map.

Take a stroll along the footpath West from Porthmeor, towards Clodgy point. Almost immediately jutting granite cliffs are the last bastion of defence for the moors from the sea. The path winds on for miles and miles over hills and down into valleys: Past Zennor, past Botallack’s precariously perched mine engine houses and onward towards Britain’s most Westerly point – Lands End.  Here are the country’s most exposed beaches, if there are no waves here, there are no waves anywhere. The brunt of the Atlantic storms batter these shores, providing us with surf when everywhere else is flat.

Ben & Harris, St Ives Surf School Surfing on Porthmeor_1 Ben Warner, Surfer Surfing on Porthmeor_2

St Ives, surf central

With St. Ives as the area’s hub, most of our most illustrious surf breaks are within a 30 minute drive. To the West, Gwenvor, Sennen and countless secret beaches and reefs; to the East, Gwithian, Godrevy, Porthtowan and Chapel Porth are among the numerous options when the wind swings South East.

To the South, Praa Sands and the spitting barrels of Porthleven give us our fix in North Easterly winds. Places that, between them, bless us with surf-able waves day after day in all the various swell and wind directions that this peninsula can throw at us.

So am I lucky? Yes, I guess you could say that.

Surf ‘n Stay at Cohort

Why not try your luck with the St Ives waves and take advantage of our great Surf & Accommodation packages. Whether you’re a beginner or a pro, St Ives is the place to be and Cohort is just a 7 minute walk to Porthmeor Beach where St Ives Surf School are based.

For 2+ people it’s just £90 per person for 2 nights at Cohort and 2 surf lessons, if there’s 6 or more of you it’s just £80 per person. All equipment and wet suits included.


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