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Mini guide…St Ives Bay (Gwithian)

Overview

St Ives Bay sits in deepest darkest Kernow and has long been frequented by surfers and tourists alike. Pristine white sandy beaches, breath taking scenery, fresh salty sea air, pounding swells, historic landmarks and fine dining experiences are all on offer.

All types of paddler should pay a visit. Sheltered flat water, frantic coastal runs and banging surf breaks – you just have to choose your SUP poison.

Gwithian stand up paddle surfing

Conditions

During big swells the beaches of St Ives Bay will challenge even the best and can get absolutely huge. High tide sees fatter swells with water levels rebounding off the cliffs below Gwithian. If it’s all getting a bit much then head to Carbis Bay or St Ives Harbour for respite.

North west winds are good for downwind SUP missions across the bay, right to left, while S/SW gives potential for the opposite route. Pick and choose your launch and landing spots according to tides and swell.

Gwithian SUP

Launching

Gwithian and Godrevy are probably the two most popular locations and nestle in the far right hand corner of the bay. These breaks get maximum swell coverage and even on the smallest of days can pack a punch. Busy at peak times, it could be worth hunting out quieter line ups further along to the left.

Head towards Hayle and you have the choice of clambering down gargantuan sand dunes to access ‘Mexicos’ and ‘The Bluff’. Further west reveals the tranquil (and beautiful) Carbis Bay. St Ives Harbour is just in sight round the headland.

Amenities

RNLI lifeguards patrol sections of the beach through the summer months, although they shouldn’t be relied upon. Toilets can be found behind the lookout at Gwithian, but there aren’t any real changing facilities – beach mooning agogo.

Gwithian stand up paddle boarding

Car parks are dotted up and down the coast but be aware as charges are high and enforced rigorously.

You’ll find refreshments at the Sunset Café perched above Gwithian who also offer SUP hire and lessons. Abundant eating and drinking establishments are available in the area, the Red River Inn in Gwithian being a particular favourite. Alternatively crack out the burgers ‘n’ beers for a beach barbie.

Hazards

Potentially huge surf, rocks in places, other water users, dangerous currents and ever changing weather conditions need to be taken into account before dropping in.

Gwithian SUP surfing

Summing up

Skill and conditions will dictate where in St Ives Bay you launch. If you’re a hardened big wave charger then pick your time; downwind aficionados will love it when a good blow is in affect while fair weather paddlers will do better in high season. St Ives Bay has an ever changing personality with no two days the same – perfect for all SUPers on the right day.

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About SUPMagUK (487 Articles)
Stand Up Paddle Boarding Mag UK is the home of UK SUP. Paddle surfing, downwind SUP, all round SUP, SUP racing and more - it's all here!

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