As I write this, I can’t help but remember that just last week, I was surfing in Newquay. The sun was shining (for the most part), there were decent waves (again, for the most part) and I just felt relaxed.
For some reason, Cornwall seems to have that effect on us. Perhaps it’s just that holiday feeling, but I swear, life feels more chilled there.
It’s a good 6 hours drive for us – made all the more trying this time as we ended up with a leaky car while driving through pouring rain… Unbeknownst to us our roof straps had been digging into the door seals creating a little gap which was just big enough to let in the odd rain drop. Sadly for us, that rain drop quickly became a mini stream of water!
Nevertheless, it was well worth the journey.
While we both want to explore more of Cornwall, this time Newquay was a no-brainer as we knew we wanted to do just two things – surf and relax.
We know the town, and we know a really good surf school so it was just the easiest option for us. And even though we only had two full days there, we still managed to cram in our favourite things.
So, if you’re heading to Newquay anytime soon, I’d heartily recommend you try to tick off a few of these things while you’re there…
- Browse the surf shops
Seriously. You know you’re in Cornwall when you can find a surf shop on the high street and wetsuits for sale in the local supermarkets! Newquay has a number of shops to tempt you but our personal favourite for surfing equipment, or the newest styles from your favourite surf/skate brands has to be Surfing Life, just on Fore Street. The staff are incredibly friendly and greet you the minute you walk in, it smells like Mr Zog’s Sex Wax and it also has a brilliant offering of wetsuits if you’re in need of a new one.
The other place that I visit every time I’m in Newquay, is Watershed. It’s become a bit of a ritual for me now, but I just love it. It’s quite small but decorated so well, you feel like you’ve walked into an eco-surf shack. From crop tees to dungarees, the style is simple but the quality is high. Again, staff are really friendly and they have some lush candles which are worth checking out too.
- Book a surf lesson with Escape Surf School
Every time I go surfing I’m always really aware of how long it’s been since I was last in the water. Before last week, I hadn’t surfed since November – and that was in Barbados where the conditions were totally different, surfing a reef rather than a beach break. So, booking a lesson – even just a group one – is a perfect way to boost my confidence, arm me with more knowledge and help me get back on that board. And if in Newquay, it has to be Escape Surf School.
Mike, Reubin and the team are incredibly friendly and really know their stuff. We found that even chatting to these guys pre-surf left us with a wealth of knowledge about forecasting, swell and conditions. Mike and Reubin are also from a competitive background so the insight they offer is second to none. Surfing is usually on Towan beach and they’re quick to work out your level by asking and monitoring your performance. They also make it fun. Every time I caught a green wave unaided, or managed to ride one they’d picked for me, I would turn back and see one of the instructors cheering and sticking their arms up in celebration. Plus, occasionally, they’ll show you how it’s really done – and that is worth watching!
Next time we go surfing, we’re likely going to book less lessons and have more solo surfs. But without the advice and encouragement of Escape, it’s probably unlikely I’d have the confidence in myself to make that decision.
- Have fish ‘n’ chips on the beach
There is nothing better than getting locally caught fish, a portion of chips, and heading down to the shore to have dinner and watch the sunset. Even in the winter, I think I’ll love doing this, wrapped up in a hoody with tea in a flask. We do this at home anyway, but I honestly think there’s nothing better than taking dinner alfresco and onto the beach. We sat and watched the evening surfers, and enjoyed the sun setting. It was beautiful.
- Eat a meal at 12 Beach Road
I spotted this place on Instagram and really wanted to visit. We headed over for lunch after our last surf session and we were not disappointed. We were lucky to get a table with a view over Towan beach, so we could sit and watch the waves – even if it was a bit overcast. We had a fish finger burger, and a smoked pancetta, spinach, egg and parmesan pizza to share – and both were delicious. The pizza was amazing and the menu itself had loads of choice. I think what was telling, was that locals seemed to just be popping by – some mid-dog walk – to get a warming drink, or a well-deserved pint, and every meal that came out looked delicious. But obviously, it’s the view that we were spoiled by – and if you can get it, a seat outside or inside by the rear window, overlooking the bay is the place to be. Very much recommended.
- Just enjoy being in the ocean
Saltwater really does cure all. There was a moment where we were sitting on our boards out back, fingers trailing through the water waiting for the next set to roll in – and that moment right there felt magical. I don’t know what it is, but being in the water just has this ability to wash away any worries. Surfing generally plunges you into the moment. You can’t do it well if your mind is thinking about anything back on land – you have to empty your mind, read the waves and just focus. And that, is what I urge anyone visiting Newquay to do – try surfing, but also just immerse yourself in the water and enjoy the moment.