Gwen Spurlock's top surfing spots

Whether beach break or reef break our coast offers waves for all surfers. Gwen Spurlock, Welsh surfing champ and three-times winner of the women’s UK Pro Surf Tour, selects her favourite Welsh surfing spots. 

  • Mature male surfing, Colhuw Beach, Llantwit Major
    Surfing at Colhuw Beach, Llantwit Major, Glamorgan Coast

    A great wave in front of amazing cliffs says Gwen of this break near Cardiff. There’s a good right hand point and a left that’s fun and has good shape, walling up well. Llantwit Major is not as scary as a reef break but it’s a bit rippy, so best suited to experienced surfers.

    Perfect conditions: south-west swell, north-east wind, all tides.

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  • Man riding waves off Pembrokeshire
    Surfing in Manorbier, Pembrokeshire

    There’s an advanced right-hand reef or more mellow beachpeaks beneath the ruins of a Norman castle in this picturesque bay. “A nice wave, “ Gwen agrees. “I haven’t surfed at Manorbier a lot but each time it was a lot of fun and it’s a really pretty spot.”

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, north-east wind, mid-tide.

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  • Rest Bay, Porthcawl

    Rest Bay, Porthcawl, Glamorgan Heritage Coast

    Close to Cardiff and Bristol and an easy daytrip from London, Porthcawl is always popular for a quick blast and its mellow waves suit beginners. Rest Bay is the most consistent break, providing well-formed peaks, while Coney beach in front of the esplanade offers more shelter.

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, north-east (Coney) or east (Rest Bay) wind, all tides.

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  • Man walking out of surf, carrying surfboard at Newgale beach
    Newgale, Pembrokeshire by Bigwelshbear

    The break that starts a lifetime of surfing for many first-timers due to easy hire of equipment, forgiving waves at most tides – beware the shore-dump at high, however – and space. More sheltered waves break on sand beaches further down St Bride’s Bay.

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, north-east wind, mid-tide.

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  • Children carrying surf boards, Gower
    Children carrying surf boards, Gower

     “My favourite break in Wales” Gwen says, of the Gower’s premier surf spot. “The shore break can be fun and fast at high tide then Lefts is good as the tide drops. Crab Island reef doesn’t work often but it’s pretty special when it does: quick on the take off then easy and long.” Nearby Caswell Bay is better for children and novices.

    Perfect conditions: south-west or west swell, north wind, all tides.

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  • Man surfing on wave at Freshwater West
    Freshwater West, Pembrokeshire by Wales on View

    The Harry Potter film crew came for magical scenery. The Welsh Surf Championship arrives for waves and there are many at different tides, Gwen says. “From low to mid-tide I surf Middle Bay – it’s fast and hollow with a good shape. Also Fresh’ West picks up more swell than Llangennith, so it’s a great for consistency.”

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, east wind, all tides.

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  • Surfing, Gower Peninsula
    Surfing, Gower Peninsula

    Voted Britain’s best beach in 2013, the sands down to Rhossili provide waves for all abilities. “Three Peaks at the north end gets really good – quite peaky,” says Gwen. “I’d give the rest of Llangennith about seven out of ten because it’s the most consistent spot in the area, but Peaks has more shape and power.”

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, east wind, all tides.

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  • Pupils learning to surf at a surf school on Hells Mouth beach
    A surf school on Hells Mouth beach, Llŷn Peninsula by Paul Sandham

    Ignore the name – this forgiving beachbreak is a mellow option because waves lose their power en route north. It still packs a punch on its day, however, and surfers from Liverpool, Manchester and the Midlands drop everything to surf here when it’s on.

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, north-east wind, all tides.

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  • Male surfer riding waves, Whitesands Bay
    Surfing at Whitesands Bay, Pembrokeshire

    Another popular beach for beginners though it can get crowded during the peak summer season. Out of school holidays its mix of dazzling sand and punchy turquoise peaks beneath St David’s Head make it one of the most memorable surf spots in West Wales.

    Perfect conditions: south to west swell, east wind, all tides.

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