Surfing has boomed in the last decade and is enjoyed by many as an extreme and exhilarating sport. Take a good look at a map of Britain, especially Pembrokeshire's location and you'll be able to appreciate why the surf here can be so good.
For waves to develop they need strong winds to drive them and the greater the distance a wave travels across the ocean, the bigger it gets. As the prevailing winds in the UK are from the south west, an unobstructed south west facing beach will generate the best and most consistent waves.
For the full science behind the generation of waves visit http://www.magicseaweed.com
So where's best?
A broad, gently shelving beach which faces SW and is well known as the most consistent surfing beach in Wales. It is predominantly a beach break although there are some extremely good reef breaks to the southern end. Waves here are almost always a couple of feet bigger than other beaches so gets very busy with surfers despite its isolated location. Waves here are best with solid swells and north easterly winds however this break is NOT for the inexperienced. Waves can be fast breaking and powerful with strong under currents, rocks in places and soft sand. A surf school operates from this beach so inexperienced surfers or beginners should book in for some lessons before taking this break on.
South west facing, part rocky, part sandy beach. It's not very wide and can quickly get crowded. Main car parking is in Dale village, leaving a half mile hike to the beach, however if not too busy there is some roadside parking. Waves here are good with solid swells and north-easterly winds but beware of strong rips, submerged outcrops, unpredictable currents and powerful waves, so best left to more experienced surfers.
Marloes sands is an isolated beach and never crowded as the long walk down to it deters most. It picks up around the same swell as West Dale. Works well on good solid swells with winds from the north-east and is generally best at mid - low tide, it breaks over sand but beware of rips currents, rocks and the rising tide as it can cut you off, suitable for intermediate to experienced surfers.
One of the most accessible beaches in Pembrokeshire with large car parks at three points along its length. It's a two mile stretch of unobstructed gently sloping sand backed by a huge pebble bank, so there's plenty of room for everyone. SW facing but sheltered a little by the Marloes peninsula sees for fairly consistent surf. Waves here are best with good swells and easterly winds and are generally not that powerful seeing it very popular with long boarders and paddle boarders. A section of the beach is patrolled by lifeguards in the summer and it has a surf school and equipment hire, so ideal for beginners.
A west facing sandy beach with fairly consistent surf, works best with solid swells and easterly winds. This is a busy beach and gets extremely crowded in summer which can lead to conflict with other beach users, although there are non swimming zones in operation. The beach often has strong currents to the northern end with a fast powerful wave good for intermediate to experienced surfers. Parking is adjacent to the beach and lifeguards are on duty in the summer. Surf hire and a surf school operate on the beach during peak seasons.
The only south west facing beach in the Tenby area. It's predominantly a beach break with a scattered reef break on the right hand side of the bay. Works best with solid swells and northerly winds, but beware of rip currents and rocks to the right hand side. A good size car park is near to the beach but it is popular with families and surfers in summer leading to a crowded line up which can lead to conflict in the water. This beach best suits intermediate to experienced surfers. However if you are a beginner you should stick to the sandy areas to the left.
Tenby South beach has been known to hold an awesome wave in big winter swells, although this is seldom seen. This spot only really works a couple of times a year when wind and swell conditions are perfect. However, if you are fortunate enough to catch it working, it generally breaks wherever the sand banks have formed and creates a fast, powerful barrelling wave. Is best avoided at low tide as the wave breaks in very shallow water. Recommend for experienced surfers only.
An isolated spot and which generally needs a big swell and an easterly wind to get it going but it can get pretty good here. There is plenty of parking and toilet facilities, but not much else. Its high cliffs provide shelter from strong winds and at certain stages of the tide can produce perfect hollow lefts over a reef to the left hand side of the beach. Not really suitable for beginners because of the reef however there is a wave over in the middle of the beach which breaks over sand. More suited for intermediate and experienced surfers.
Check out the latest surf reports:
Newgale: http://www.bigbluekitesurfing.com/ for a live web cam
Poppit: http://www.baysports.co.uk for a live web cam
For other Pembrokeshire beaches try
ID: 29 Revised: 18/10/2012