Everything You Need To Know About Surfing Beaches In Newquay, Cornwall

Fistral Beach Surf Lessons

One of the most popular surfing beaches in Cornwall, Newquay’s Fistral beach offers beginners and experienced surfers alike a real taste of world class surfing.

Fistral beach is a wide, sandy beach backed by dunes situated just 5 minutes walk from our base in Newquay. Several minutes walk from the heart of Newquay’s town centre and easily accessible by foot from most accommodation providers in Newquay. 

Surf Lessons at Fistral Beach - from £24pp

Perfect for learning

Fistral beach is the most widely known surf spot in the UK and could be considered one of better surf beaches on the north Cornish coast.

Fistral beach is home to a range of National and International surfing competitions throughout the year including the Board Masters Surf, Skate and Music Festival, British Universities Colleges Surfing Championships and the English Surfing Nationals.

A visit to Fistral is a must to get the true Newquay surfing experience, enjoy a action packed surf lesson and then soak up the energetic atmosphere afterwards at the beach bar or visit some of the many surf shops and restaurants.

Wall sign - to fistral


 Beach Description: 

Fistral beach is a straight, sandy beach backed by dunes roughly 750 meters long facing west by northwest onto the Atlantic. 

This west facing direction like many Cornish surfing beaches exposes Fistral to large Atlantic swells that provide consistent waves throughout the year.

The Northern end of Fistral Beach is popular with locals and more advanced surfers, allowing beginners ample room further down towards the middle and southern end of the beach.

Surfing difficultly: Suitable for any level surfer. 

Consistency: 6.5/10

Type of wave: Sandy beach break

Favoured wind direction: South easterly

Beach access: The northern end of Fistral beach provides beach access via car parking directly overlooking the beach.

Walking access from the town through Newquay golf course.

Walking access at the south end of the beach from Esplanade road.


When is the best time to surf at Fistral beach?

Fistral beach is a relatively consistent beach break and can produce good surfing waves through out the tides. 

Typically one hour after high tide & two hours before low tide will provide good long lines of white water waves for new surfers and gentle rolling green waves for developing surfers.

The low tides provide steeper, faster waves more suited to progressive surfing. More information about tides can be found here in our Guide to Tides.

More advanced surfers will prefer the lower tides, two hours before low tide and up to two hours after low tide.

Fistral beach Newquay - Image credit Lisa Malone

North Fistral:

More exposed and typically surfed by advanced local surfers, the consistent sand banks at North Fistral provide steeper faster waves with peaks that break right and left.  Lower tides will see rips forming in the direction of Little Fistral and the Cribbar.

The North Fistral area is reserved by the lifeguards for advanced surfing. 

South Fistral:

Very slightly sheltered by Pentire headland, South Fistral produces good quality left hand breaking waves with scattered right hand breaking waves further towards mid Fistral. Advanced surfers often choose to jump off the rocks on Pentire headland to avoid paddling out. 

Little Fistral:

Accessible and surf’able on Spring tides. Little Fistral has two good quality peaks breaking left and right. This small beach is an extension of North Fistral and is littered with rocks on the inside. Use the key hole of sand to pick your way in or out or alternatively paddle across from North Fistral. 

The Cribbar:

Englands only big wave spot, the Cribbar is for very experienced surfers only and is a dangerous area to surf or swim. The wave here is fickle and only forms with large swells and breaks very close to a mixture of rocks and inlets. 


When shouldn't I surf?

Spring high tides combined with strong winds and large waves can make entering and exiting the water dangerous for un experienced water users. 

Is there lifeguard service at Fistral beach?

An extended lifeguard service is provided at Fistral beach due to the popularity of this beach. 

Patrol dates: 25th of March - 30th of October each year / Weekends from November onwards

Patrol times: 10am - 6pm


What hazards are there at Fistral beach?

The northern end of Fistral beach often develops rip currents. Be weary especially on outgoing tides and pay attention to the lifeguard service.

Be aware of the rocky area between north Fistral and Little Fistral at low tide.


Unique Features:

Spring low tides exposes Little Fistral beach for surfing. Suitable for intermediate or advanced surfers. 

If your lucky Newquay's spectacular big wave The Cribbar will be showing off natures power. Front row seats can be found in the the safety of the car park on Towan headland.


What shops & amenities are at Fistral beach? 

As you may imagine the Home of British surfing has plenty of facilities for every type of beach user. A wide mixture of big brand name surf retail shops, classic beach shops and eateries such as Rick Stein, The Stable and for those wanting to watch the sun set over the horizon with a favourite drink the Beach Bar. 


Top Tips from Cornish Wave:

Fistral beach can get busy in the summer. Look out for the black and white flags for the surf zone and the red and yellow for bathers and bodyboarders. 

The south end of Fistral beach is a lot quieter and closer to where the lifeguards will place the surfing and bathing flagged zones. 

Little Fistral beach can be a sunbathers paradise - the beach is small and backed by over hanging cliffs and open caves. Perfect for BBQ’s.


Is Fistral beach dog friendly?

Yes. All year round.

Quality and Safety

Fistral Beach in Newquay is a European designated beach which complies with European Water Quality Standards.

All our lessons are with qualified instructors and include surfboard and wetsuit hire. Get the true Cornwall surfing experience at the legendary Fistral Beach – book your Fistral Beach surf lesson now!

For further information about Surf Lessons at Fistral beach, please get in touch using our contact form, send us an email using hello@cornishwave.com or give us a call on 07771718125 / 01637 872031. 

Popular Surf Lessons at Fistral Beach

Surfing Lessons In UK

Private Surf LessonsHire your own surf coach

  • Qualified Surf Coach
  • All the equipment
  • Small groups of friends
Cornish Wave Mobile Surfing School-Group Surf Lessons

Family Surf LessonsA great family activity, perfect whatever the weather.

  • Experienced and Qualified Surf Coaches
  • Includes all the equipment
  • Safe and Educational
Cornish Wave Mobile Surfing School-Group Surf Lessons

Group Surf LessonsExcellent discounts for large groups.

  • Great value surf lesson
  • Includes all the equipment
  • Suitable for beginners

How to find Fistral Beach


  • Starting on Mt Wise road follow brown signs for Fistral & Little Fistral beach
  • At the roundabout take the 3rd exit onto Tower road
  • At the next mini roundabout take the left turn and follow for 50 meters looking for Headland road on your left.
  • Continue on for 100 metres, small road to Little Fistral on your right opposite the golf course.
  • Sat Nav: Fistral beach, Little Fistral, Headland road, Newquay, TR7 1EL

Where can I park at Fistral beach?

There are plenty of parking options for Fistral beach. During summer months this area will become congested and so arriving early for your day on the beach is recommended. 

The main car park for Fistral beach overlooks the northern end of the beach.  This car park is controlled and enforced by a private parking management company so vigilance is needed with arrival and departure times. 

Towan headland car park offers plenty of space for those with larger vehicles and is controlled by Cornwall Council. 

Parking for South Fistral can be found on Esplanade road or Atlantic road.