Life in Cornwall

Learning to surf in Cornwall

I’m learning to surf. It’s been terrifying, tiring and exhilarating. It makes me feel ALIVE. That’s without even venturing beyond the white water.

Getting started with Down the Line

Eight surfs ago, my local Cornish friends sent me to their favourite Down the Line Surf shop in Hayle, where I subsequently found myself spending a lot of time. I received expert guidance on what to buy, within my budget, and tips to help me get off on the right wave. Geddon.

Down the Line surf in Hayle
The best surf shop in Cornwall

Three beginner surf tips

The chap at Down the Line offered me this marvelous advice:

  1. When picking a wetsuit: only try two on for size at any given time. I ignored this advice and tried on 12. I felt totally exhausted and sweaty.
  2. Try different boards: I paid to hire different boards before picking my favourite. They kindly discounted the rental hire on my final purchase.
  3. Book a lesson: he told me safety was paramount in the water not just for me but for other surfers. Shore Surf School scored 10/10 for me.

Finding the perfect wetsuit

I felt shy walking into Down the Line. Clueless, I was saved by a smiley blonde-haired face. She talked me through sizes, seasons and suits. I decided on my Epic O’Neil 3/2mm suit (3mm thickness in body and 2mm on arms/legs).

Lady with surf board Cornwall beach
Looking happy with myself after a good sesh

Finding the perfect beginner surf board

My original concern was finding a pretty board that fits nicely in the car. The team explained the benefits of a bigger, more practical beginners board. Goodbye sunshine yellow short board.

Turns out, the Australian designed 7ft Redback Revolution Malibu Foam Surfboard is the perfect match for me. The team fitted my fins, leash and provided wax. The extra length has helped me balance and catch almost every white water wave, boosting my confidence. Plus it’s Ozzy AND has a picture of a cute little spider called Jimmy!

Five accessories for an efficient surf

I love going for post-work, married life surfs, followed by picnic dinners on the dunes. It’s dreamy. But I do find it a bit of a sandy kerfuffle. Here are my favourite items that make it more fun (cough cough tidy!):

  1. Flask of hot tea and something sweet. Vital.
  2. Roll-up mat. Softer than car park gravel when suit shedding.
  3. Bucket. For the soggy wet suits in the back of the car.
  4. Poncho (towely). To hide your nakeyness in the car park.
  5. Lock box. For peace of mind that your car keys are safe.
Surf ponchos in Cornwall
Here we are in our surf ponchos

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