Why I love surfing in Wales

I started surfing in 1967. It discovered me really – one day I went to Langland Bay in the school swimming team and one of my mates gave me a go on his board and I thought, ‘Wow! What the heck is this? I love it!’ I surfed every day after that, became a real beachbum. That’s what us surfers were in the Sixties.

I competed in a lot of contests abroad – I surfed California in the world championships with the British surfing team in 1972 and that was lovely.

But I always loved coming back to Wales to surf among friends. Maybe Wales has its own surfing identity – it could be the Celtic blood in us."

Man standing on the beach with his back to camera, facing the sea and holding a yellow surfboard
Llangennith, Gower - a surfer's paradise

Although I love Cornwall, surfing has got so big there in the last 20 years and there are so many more people in the water that there’s maybe a bit more attitude.

Clean waters and beautiful coastlines

I still surf every day – it was lovely this morning; six of us in, small and clean – and I find that the personality of the place and the people rubs off. So, here in Wales where everyone is friendly, it makes you more friendly. If you’re surfing some of the more aggressive places around the world, though you go there as a friendly, happy person someone makes chops at you and there you go, you’re in a bad mood.

Course, it helps that our coastline is so stunningly beautiful: the beaches, the bays, the reefs."

It has everything today that’s been here for thousands of years and surfing in these places puts us back in our place. All life is there; all sorts of life – geographical life and the wildlife. It’s so beautiful just to be in the water.

The older I get the more I realise that we’re just so lucky to be able to do something like surfing. There’s a deeper stoke [enjoyment] for me when I surf in Wales now; a more spiritual stoke. When I was young I loved surfing here because it was speedy and powerful and fast. Now it’s more about driving to this lovely place, being in this lovely spot.

Pete Jones Surfing Llangennith, West Wales
Surfboard near Langennith Beach, Gower Peninsula
Pete Jones riding a wave in Llangennith, Gower, and his surfboard

Maybe that’s what rubs off in Wales. A Welsh surfer called Carwyn Williams [European pro surf champion in 1989 and runner-up in a poll of the greatest British surfers by Carve magazine] was one of the best that British surfing has ever produced. And it wasn’t just his surfing, it was about his whole approach – he was really enjoying it. So, I don’t mind if there’s a public perception that you can only surf in Cornwall. If people think that, well, there’ll be more waves for us then.

Find out more about PJ's Surf Shop

Pete Jones surfing Llangennith, Gower
Pete Jones in the sea at Llangennith

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