For those in the know watersports are best in winter. Forget cold feet and ice cream headaches, modern wetsuits take care of this, think big regular swells and quieter beaches. Surfing, bodyboarding, coasteering, stand-up paddle boarding, they’re all for the taking says the ocean mad team at Newquay Activity Centre, Cornwall’s number one watersports school.
1. The crowds – or rather the lack of them
If you’ve ever walked across a deserted beach you’ll know how special it is; take that feeling waterside and it sky rockets! The summer crowds have gone home, the fair-weather adventures are in hibernation and the waves, well, they’re there for the taking. Sign up for a surf lesson with Newquay Activity Centre and you can expect to have no more than five fellow learners in your group so you can be assured that you’re in safe hands, even when the RNLI lifeguards are taking a break.
2. The conditions
Summer swell sizes of 2-4ft have got nothing on the 6-7ft that can be expected throughout the winter. These conditions put the punch in Cornwall’s world-class watersports scene and quite frankly, you need to experience the best!
3. The tech wear
If you’re togged up in the correct kit for the season you’ll hardly notice that it’s not August. Thicker wetsuits, Neoprene booties, gloves and hoods are essential winter wear and are provided as standard for all lessons booked with Newquay Activity Centre.
4. The sea temperatures
In late October, the sea off north Cornwall can be a balmy 11-12°C. Yes, it can dip to 7°C in the throes of winter but don’t let that put you off – see point above!
5. The buzz
The adrenaline surge that comes with catching an awesome wave isn’t confined to the summer months, in fact it only gets better in the autumn and winter. Nothing beats the ‘I-can’t-believe-I-just-did-that!’ feeling and if you’ve braved the elements to boot, well, self-pride goes through the roof.
6. The Apres-surf
Post-surf when you’re snuggled up in a warm, woolly jumper and thick winter socks that first sip of hot chocolate (or something stronger) is pretty special. Cosy beachside hangouts are dotted along the Cornish coast so bagsie a spot by the fire or grab a window seat to keep an eye on the action.
7. The when it’s wet, get wetter attitude
Here in Cornwall we don’t let a bit of rain stop play. Come autumn and winter there’s a pretty good chance that the heavens are going to open and you’re going to get wet, so embrace it. Make it part of the experience. There’s something quite magical about being in the ocean with rain drops falling around you, just be on guard for sinister swells and high winds, or better still make sure your accompanied by an experienced instructor.
8. The boast potential
Surfing, bodyboarding, coasteering, stand-up paddle boarding; they’re super cool whatever the time of year but throw in an added seasonal challenge and the boast potential goes epic. Newquay Activity Centre is open 360+ days a year, even Christmas Eve for a festive splash, and they’re proud hosts of an annual New Year’s Eve charity coaster – perfect Instagram fodder!
Up for the adventure? Check out www.newquayactivitycentre.co.uk for more info.