PhotoFile Cornwall Logo PhotoFile Cornwall Banner

Connect with us, Like us and Follow us on Facebook!

PhotoFile Cornwall supports CoaST and Sustainable Tourism

Surfing at Porthtowan

Photographs taken 2006

Surfing and Cornwall

The Surfing Capital of Cornwall (perhaps Cornwall is also the surfing capital of the UK?), is of course Newquay. But hey! ...they surf at Porthtowan as well, and at many other beaches in Cornwall. Great to do, for those that do, and great to watch for those that, well, like to watch on a cold windy day!

Surfing originated, so history has dictated, in ancient Polynesian culture, where the tribal chief was also the most skilled in "Wave Riding". The early boards were made from local trees, and as the best chiefs had the best trees and the best beaches, they also had the best boards and were of course the best Wave Riders. Boards were also used for bringing in the catch by fisherman, as an efficient way of getting through the surf. For more detailed information on the history and origins of surfing, check out the Surfing for Life website.

Surfing as a sport was revived by the Hawaiians at Waikiki around the early 1900s. As well as Hawaii, the sport spread to California and Australia, and only in the 1960s did it show signs of really becoming popular. A "beach culture" developed, the Beach Boys sang a lot, and by the 1980s the sport had spread far and wide. Surfing in Newquay had its origins in the mid-1960s, which also coincided with the development of fibre-glass boards - instead of tree planks - and the culture grew. There are now over a quarter of a million surfers in the UK that are now regular Wave Riders.

The Surf at Porthtowan

Cold and windy, but the surf is up, and the beach is popular with many surfers - though wetsuits are now considered to be nothing short of mandatory! Can't say I blame them!

Surf at Porthtowan
Surf's Up!

Surfing at Porthtowan
...and Three to Go

Perhaps there's a subtle "man against the elements" thing to this surfing culture...

Surf at Porthtowan
Wind and Spray

Surfing at Porthtowan
Surf and Away!

The waves not only attract the surfers, but the travelling gull as well. Jonathan Livingston gets everywhere!

Surf Gull at Porthtowan
Flight of the Lonesome Gull

Back to the Top