The best spots for paddleboarding in Cornwall
For a relaxing way to enjoy the sparkling blue waters and stunning coastline of the county this summer, try your hand at paddleboarding in Cornwall.
A holiday to Cornwall is a chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature and there’s no better way to feel at one with the water than paddleboarding in Cornwall.
It’s well known that Cornwall is a surfer’s paradise with a reputation for world-class waves drawing in professional surfers and smaller swells ideal for novice boarders. Pointing out into the middle of the Atlantic ocean, the county is perfectly positioned to attract some of the best waves around.
But, the many sheltered coves, calmer beaches and tranquil rivers also make Cornwall an ideal place for more gentle water-based pursuits.
So, if you’re the type of person that prefers a more relaxing water sport and are looking to enjoy the peace and quiet of the county’s waters, a day of paddleboarding in Cornwall could be the answer.
And, with our guide to the best places for paddleboarding in Cornwall, you’ll have your pick of peaceful shores to paddle from.
Beaches for Paddleboarding in Cornwall
Whether you’re an avid paddleboarder with your own board and all the gear, or you’re a total novice looking to hire out equipment and take your first trip out on a paddleboard, these beaches around the Cornish coast are perfect for a day of paddleboarding.
Carbis Bay – St Ives
Where better to spend a day out on the water than our very own Carbis Bay? With its sandy shores and calm waters sheltered from westerly winds, it’s the ideal spot for paddleboarding in Cornwall.
The beach can get a little busy at times, meaning you’ll have to keep aware of your surroundings to avoid boats and other boarders, but this also provides reassurance that someone will come to your aid if you get into a spot of trouble.
If you need to hire equipment, or you’re a beginner and would like a lesson before you hit the water, then check out Ocean Sports Centre at Carbis Bay for everything you need.
Gyllyngvase Beach – Falmouth
Situated in the shadow of the historic Pendennis Castle, Gyllyngvase Beach or Gylly’ to the locals, is one of the most popular beaches around Falmouth for swimmers, kayakers and paddleboarders alike.
With a sub-tropical water temperature and stunning natural reef sheltered in the bay, Gylly is an ideal place for beginners and advanced boarders to spend a day paddleboarding in Cornwall.
For equipment hire and stand up paddleboarding lessons, WESUP at Gylly Beach is situated on the shores and ready to help you with anything paddleboarding you might need.
Porthallow – The Lizard
Located on the stunning Lizard Peninsula between St Keverne and the Helford, Porthallow is a small secluded cove found at the bottom of the village of Porthallow. Historically, residents of the village would set off from the beach to fish for pilchards and the pilchard cellars can still be found just off from the beach.
Its sheltered location makes Porthallow the ideal place for a spot of paddleboarding. A little known gem on the Lizard coast, Porthallow is usually fairly quiet even in the summer months. However, there is no lifeguard supervision or equipment rental so this beach is better for more experienced paddleboarders to set out from.
Marazion – Penzance
If you’re looking for calm waters, expansive stretches of beach and breathtaking scenery, there’s nowhere better for paddleboarding in Cornwall than Marazion. With the iconic St Michael’s Mount just half a mile away out from the shore, you won’t be short of stunning views to take in while you paddle.
If you’ve got the stamina, why not try and paddle the entire way around the Mount? Or simply head out from the sandy shores of Marazion beach and view St Michael’s Mount from a distance.
Rivers for Paddleboarding in Cornwall
If beaches aren’t your thing but you still want to spend time paddleboarding during your trip to Cornwall, then these rivers and estuaries around the county might be more your cup of tea. The calm waters of a tidal estuary or a tranquil river make the perfect setting for a day of paddleboarding in Cornwall.
Helford River – The Lizard
Ideal for both advanced paddleboarders and amateurs alike, the tree-lined waters of the Helford River are a fantastic place to spend time paddleboarding in Cornwall. With plenty of fantastic pubs and restaurants situated along the river banks, you won’t be short of somewhere to stop for a restorative bite to eat or a pint of something to keep you going on the return journey.
Keep an eye out for wading birds such as Herons and Oyster Catchers as you paddle along, they’re known to roam the shallows of this peaceful Cornish river.
Camel Estuary – Wadebridge
The tidal waters of the Camel Estuary are another popular place for a range of watersports including paddleboarding. Due to its tidal nature, it’s best to head out on the water an hour either side of high tide to avoid being caught out by changing tides.
There’s plenty of slipways and beaches to access the Estuary from and a range of beauty spots to stop at including Petherick Creek, Daymer or paddle the entire way to Wadebridge.
Safety precautions before paddleboarding in Cornwall
With any activity out on the water, it’s essential to follow some precautions to ensure you and those around you stay safe and don’t come into danger in the water. While paddleboarding is a relatively gentle activity and you don’t need to go too far out to have a good time, you still need to be careful not to get caught out by changing tides and rip currents.
Many of Cornwall’s beaches are lifeguard patrolled in the summer months, but some of the smaller coves and beaches don’t have lifeguards stationed on site. So, whether you’re an experienced paddleboarder or it’s your first time out on a board, it’s vital you follow the rules of the beach and stay within the safe waters.
Taking the following precautions and safety measures while you’re out paddleboarding in Cornwall can help to keep you and those around you safe in the water:
Whether you’re heading out alone or as a family, it’s essential that you let someone know when, where and for how long you’re going paddleboarding in case you come into trouble out on the water and don’t return when expected.
Check the conditions:
Make sure you check the weather forecast and tide times before you go out on the water. Storms roll in quickly over Cornwall and winds can shift direction in an instant, so being aware of the forecast and tide times beforehand means you won’t be caught out.
Avoid offshore wind and currents:
Strong currents and offshore winds can make it difficult and tiring to get back to where you started when you’re out paddleboarding. If you’re unsure of how to tell if the conditions are good or not, it’s always best to ask a lifeguard or local paddling instructor for advice.
Take a friend:
Just as it’s important to let someone know you’re heading out on the water, it’s also best to take someone with you when you go. Not only is it more fun to paddleboard together, but you can look out for each other and help each other back on the boards if you happen to fall.
Wear safety equipment:
No matter how strong of a swimmer you are, it’s important to always wear a life jacket or buoyancy aid in case you get separated from your board. And, on that note, to avoid losing your board, it’s essential that you keep the ankle strap that attaches you to the leash to your board.
Wear the right clothing:
In the summer it’s tempting to head out in just your trunks or bikini, but it’s best to wear a wetsuit as it can get chilly out on the water. Or, if you’re feeling sturdy and think you won’t fall in, light layers are a good option as you can take them off or put them on as needed.
Wherever you head out for a day of paddleboarding in Cornwall, you’re going to want a warm and cosy place to rest and restore your body after the workout. Our stunning coastal self-catering cottages are the perfect place for a stay in Cornwall and are well located for all of the paddleboarding locations mentioned here.