Beginners’ breaks in South Wales

Simon Jayham has taught surfing all around the UK. But it had to be Gower Surf Development for his surf school and not just because this was Britain’s first area of outstanding natural beauty. Famous Cornish breaks are a rough-and-tumble of experts and learners, he explains. Tempers flare. Gower receives the same swell, better shelter from wind and has breaks for all surfers: old and young, beginner and pro. So, everyone is more laidback. Now who’d have thought so close to London and Bristol?

Boy and girl resting on beach after surfing Rhossili
Rhossili, Gower Peninsula

Simon Jayham’s tips

  • Caswell Bay is perfect for juniors: the car park is close, there are lifeguards and the water’s clean.
  • Go south for sheltered dribbly beginners’ waves at Rhossili Bay. Shift towards Llangennith if the surf’s small. 
  • Rest Bay, Porthcawl is great for a really quick session from Bristol or Cardiff.

Beginners’ breaks in Pembrokeshire

It pays dividends to travel that bit further to Pembrokeshire, argues Dean Gough of Outer Reef Surf School. Because Britain’s only coastal national park wraps around the peninsula, it guarantees clean gentle waves whatever the weather. And because it’s an extra hour beyond Swansea, the beautiful beaches are quieter. Ideal for beginners, he points out. Ideal for everyone given that Pembrokeshire tops UK rankings for Blue Flag beaches.

Two boys surfing at Westdale Bay Pembrokeshire
Kids surfing in Pembrokeshire

Dean Gough’s tips

  • Freshwater West is an unspoilt beach that picks up all the swell, though dangerous for beginners in large waves. 
    fantastic shelter in St Bride’s Bay.
  • Manobier is amazing! A fantastic castle backdrop and it suits beginners all the way up to advanced surfers. 
  • Newgale is good for children and there's fantastic shelter in St Bride’s Bay.

Beginners’ breaks in North Wales

Mellow. That’s how Jonathan Waterfield describes North Wales surfing after 30 years of wave-riding on the Llŷn Peninsula. Up here, says the owner of West Coast Surf surf school and shop, the Atlantic swells are more forgiving, the beaches quieter than those further south. And with only a dozen local surfers plus whatever visitors arrive from Liverpool and Manchester the vibe is mellow too. Beginners’ heaven.

Jonathan Waterfield’s tips

  • Porth Neigwl is consistent, clean, spacious and a sand bottom – all good for learners.
  • Traeth Penllech (Porth Colmon) is a great sheltered beach when Porth Neigwl is too wild.
Chris "Guts" Griffiths, two times European professional surfing champion, shares his favourite Welsh surfing spots.
 Woman carrying surfboard on beach