Have you considered choosing Wales as your next surf mission? Imagine, a mix of beach and reef breaks, a true blend of wave types in a country that can house all surfing ability levels. And Wales is a country packed with history, medieval castles, stunning scenic walks and quaint, yet lively, local pubs to round off your day.
And what's more, those kind folk over at Visit Wales are offering you the chance to win a three night stay for two people in a glamping pod, with free surf tuition, at Surf Snowdonia; the world's first ever man-made wave open to the public. Imagine? A hyper consistent, rippable wave all at the flick of a switch. Go HERE to enter, or scroll to the bottom of the page for full details. Oh and plus, we'll throw in a £250 gift voucher for the MSW store.
But right now, let's run down some of the best setups Cymru has to offer and why the country should be on your agenda for a surf trip away – no matter your ability level.
Llangennith – Gower
The wave - all abilities: The Gower is the heartland of Welsh surfing. The majority of Welsh surf history and personalities are all interwoven into this 5km, wave-packed area. “It's a super long beach with loads of room to spread out and find your own space,” says Emily Williams, six times Welsh surfing champion. “Definitely a mellow wave that is suitable for all abilities, but a long paddle as the swell picks up. Features amazing views of Worms Head, voted as one of the top 10 beaches in Europe.” When to surf? All tides. Best swell direction: S-W. Best wind: E.
Apres Surf: Why not take a hike to the oak carcass of the Helvetia shipwreck. It's located just a short beach walk away at nearby Rhossili, the wreck punctuating that 3 mile stretch of sand. Or, why not take a look at any of the other stunning Gower places to visit by going HERE.
Where to stay: West End Cottage, Barcud Lodge, Scamper Holidays.
Places to eat: The Kings Head is a 17th Century, four star inn based in the heart of Llangennith village.
Poth Neigwl/Hells Mouth – Gwynedd
The wave – beginner: With a name like hells mouth, you're expecting some kamikaze bowl over a smidgen of harrowing reef. Good then, that you can throw that preconception aside as the name stems from the beach's semicircular shape. This is a fantastic beginner wave – the long stretch of beach break means you should be able to find a peak to yourself, and who doesn't want that? It's typically weak but is absolutely perfect for longer or soft boards. When to surf? mid-to-high. Best swell direction: S-W. Best wind: NE.
Apres Surf: Venture to Porth Ysgo, a small sheltered National Trust beach at the end of the LLŷn peninsula. The waterfall of Pistyll y Gaseg is behind the beach, best seen after a spout of heavy rain. Make sure to visit at low-tide.
Where to stay: Gwyliau Rhydolion Holidays, Bryn Cytun Cottage.
Places to eat: A village favourite at Mickey's Boat Yard and Beach Cafe, which overlooks the nearby Machroes Beach. Or if you're looking for a post surf treat, why not try Crust Pizzeria.
Llantwit Major – Glamorgan
The Wave – experienced surfers only: Home to a solid right-hand point break when tide and swell coincide. But, with the incoming tide, this break near Cardiff can be rippy as all hell, meaning it's for experienced surfers only. “Local knowledge is key to catching it at the right time,” says Emily. “There are a few different waves all in one area - all advanced to experienced waves over a boulder reef. When it’s good, it’s well worth a visit if you can get a wave from the pack or survive the rip. Home to a number of Welsh Surfing Federation events including the Welsh Nationals back in 2011 and home to the Channel Coast Surf Club. My local and favourite place to surf in Wales.” Strong recommendation. When to surf? Low-to-mid. Best swell direction: NW. Best wind: NE.
Apres Surf: Only a short excursion away is St Donat's Art Centre, offering a variety of performances including music, theatre and dance. Worth a visit.
Where to stay: Hide Wales Glamping.
Places to eat: If it's a traditional pub with roaring fire and 12th Century architecture you're looking for then The Old Swan Inn is perfect and situated handily in the centre of Llantwit Major.
Freshwater West – Pembrokeshire
The wave – Intermediate: A fast, hollow wave at mid-to-low tide and home to the Welsh Nationals. This beachbreak comes with a reef section, perfect for the intermediate surfer. The rest of the beach though? “Good for all abilities,” says Emily. “Beautiful long beach surrounded by National Trust ground.” When to surf? All tides. Best swell direction: S-W. Best wind: NE.
Apres Surf: Pembrokeshire is charming. And personifying that is the village of Angle, situated in the valley between East Angle Bay and Milford Haven Waterway. Many of the village's medieval buildings are still standing – with the focal point being a fortified residence called the Tower House. Go HERE for more info.
Where to stay: Angle Bay Bed and Breakfast, Pen-y-Holt Farm.
Places to eat: Wavecrest Cafe is a delightful eatery, specialising in sea food but so too available are teas, coffee and cakes. If it's a more traditional pub vibe you're seeking, then visit the 500-year-old The Old Point House in Angle.
Rest Bay – Porthcawl
The wave – all abilities: Well-formed beachbreak peaks are present at this consistent spot. A fun, mellow wave, suitable for all abilities. Though it can hold quite a swell, as evidenced above. There's always someone in the water here as it is straight off the M4. Huge car park and you can surf all through the tide. When to surf: All tides. Best swell direction: SW-W. Best wind: E.
Apres Surf: Coincide your trip with a show or performance at Porthcawl's The Grand Pavilion. Rest Bay beach has stunning cliff top walks all along, perfect for a sunny afternoon, post surf hike.
Where to stay: Olivia House.
Places to eat: Set on the edge of the stunning Kenfig Nature Reserve is the 16th Century, family run pub the Prince of Wales Kenfig, settle in for traditional pub grub.
Caswell Bay – Gower
The Wave – beginner: Situated close to the Mumbles area of Swansea, Caswell is a fairly exposed beach that is somewhat consistent. Best during the winter when a powerful north east swell is on the charts. Waves break both left and right. “This is a really good wave for beginners, it’s a mellow beachbreak wave, works on all tides but mid to high tide is best. It’s a pretty cove with a coastal path to Langland bay,” says Emily. When to surf: mid-to-high tide. Best swell direction: NE. Best wind: N.
Apres Surf: Bishop's Wood Local Nature Reserve is a short distance away and is a classic example of a limestone woodland – which is relatively rare in Britain. There's a footpath leading from Caswell to Mumbles with the reserve en route.
Where to stay: Redcliffe Apartments.
Places to eat: Caswell's Surfside Cafe is handily located right on the beach, giving a panoramic view of the surrounding area. It's dog friendly with a variety of breakfast options, teas, coffees, bagels, burgers, salads and more. Or take a trip a bit further inland for The Plough and Harrow, a gastro pub and one of the top three pubs in the city of Swansea.
All abilities: Oh, the novelty wave. But how to mention Wales without dipping into the world's first ever commercial wave pool? Sure, it can be tricky to master the take-off and it'll take anyone a few attempts to get to grips with it, but when you do, it is a rippable wave and vital training tool. Of course, all abilities are catered to and coaching is available as is equipment hire, accommodation, food and there's a bar to relive those perfect wave moments, and you bet that includes laughing about the wipeouts. Fill your boots HERE.
WIN! Three Night Stay for Two at Surf Snowdonia
Ever wanted to sample the delights of man-made, wave perfection? Visit Wales are offering a three night stay for two people in a shared glamping pod at Surf Snowdonia. Included in the comp:
**A day's tuition, with The Surf Snowdonia 'Surf Academy' for each guest.
**Two-day surf sessions' pass per guest.
**£250 gift voucher to spend on the MSW store.
Cover shot of Llangennith by Adam Primmer