Crantock Bay, Cornwall

Crantock Bay is possibly one of the most overlooked flat water paddling spots in all of Cornwall. Sure, it has its awesome wave break, which will test the best on big days, but the tidal River Gannel is the real jewel in the area’s crown.

Paul David Smith

Paul David Smith offers SUP tours which are professionally photographed so quite a unique proposition around Newquay. He runs the tours on the River Gannel which is adjoined to Crantock Bay. Go to:

You also wouldn’t believe you’re just a stone’s throw from Surf City UK – Newquay – which is just over the hill.

Crantock is a swell magnet. Even with only a slight pulse a wave unloads on the low tide sand bank. During solid swells a reeling right hander peels off the river mouth and provides some seriously fast walls that can whomp the unwary. On mellower days the spot serves up fun fast peaks that are great for carving.

As the tide pushes in the River Gannel fills up and offers paddlers a fantastic environment for touring SUP, race training and recreational sweeping. When the sun’s shining and all the blue and green hues are reflecting back at you, it’s hard to imagine being anywhere else.

After scaling the monumental sand dune that separates the car park from the water you’ll have either an arduous trek or short hop to the put in, depending on the tidal state.

If you’re heading off on an exploratory mission along the Gannel you can bypass the sandy hill and scoot around the bottom, next to Rob Small’s Crantock Bay Surf School set up. Emerging next to the river, it’s simply a case of dropping your kit in and sweeping off.

Crantock Bay is looked after by The National Trust who provide and maintain the car park and toilet facilities.

The village, a few miles back, has a couple of fab pubs for après SUP refreshments and a small post office that sells the essentials. On warmer days an ice cream truck does the rounds on the beach.

As the River Gannel empties, a fast flowing rip can suck the unwary out to sea. Those in the know use this to get out back when the surf is pumping but it can catch some out. The take off area, although ample in size, can get busy and other water users will need to be taken into account. If you’re heading up the Gannel for a float you’ll need to know the tide times – this will make your journey a lot easier!

Summing up
It’s hard to believe Crantock is just a short skip from the bustling party town of Newquay. The sleepy quaint village and easy going vibe in the water is a million miles away from other surf spots in the area. Rob Small and his surf school set up has helped SUP (and kayak) acceptance in the area, making it a ‘must visit’ for any discerning paddler. With its superb surf potential and flat water touring options, Crantock is a great SUP spot for all.

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