Thursday, 2 April 2009

Surfing Wales & Pembrokeshire

Wales & Pembrokehire - the heart of surf action!

Even in a destination with as much great surf as Wales & Pembrokeshire, there has to be one place better than the rest. There is.... and that's why Outer Reef Surf School is based here in the heart of the action.

Wales & Pembrokeshire has some epic waves but talk to anyone who's surfed this region and they'll tell you this stretch of coastline boasts a high density of uncrowded, quality waves that work in a variety of conditions.

Outer Reef Surf School is in a prime location in Wales, so whether the surf is small or big, just a short drive north or south we’ll get you to where the waves are happening. This means that there is almost always somewhere to surf, whatever your ability be it mellow beach breaks… heavy hollow reef breaks or rolling point breaks… you choose. Our surf crew will advise you on were the best surf is for you ability on the day.

Manorbier Bay

South West facing, this small bay has been known to produce some classic day's surf.

It's a beach break with a right hand reef break on the right hand side of the bay. It's more sheltered than other SW facing beaches at high tide because of the cliffs on either side of the bay so can be worth a look when other spots are big and blown out.

It generally works best on the dropping tide. It can close out at low tide.

There's a lovely neolithic tomb up on the cliff side to the left hand side of the bay and behind you a beautiful Norman castle, so take a look around while you're here!

Freshwater West
Besides the main beach breaks, Fresh West has some classic reef breaks which on their day, can rival anywhere in the world! If you're inexperienced, leave the rocks to the pros and stick to sand.

The Point (or The Gap) is a consistently good spot and found to the left of the main beach. A strong rip operates here on the dropping tide. It has great right hander at low tide when the wind is light .

Further left is Middle Bay.This can be good at all stages of the tide depending on the amount of sand that has been washed into the bay but generally best on the push. At high tide on a big swell it's particularly good as there's a good right hander that breaks into a deep channel. Its a relatively easy paddle out amongst the rocks at the base of the cliff.

The reef tends to magnify the wave size to maximise conditions. It's not a beginners wave as the waves become pretty fast and steep here as the tide changes various parts of the reef are exposed. Getting back in can be a little tricky.

Other spots can be found in vaccinity but require some exploration. The infamous 'Pole', which has been well documented in many of the top European surf mags. This can be accessed by boat or a long paddle if you know where to look.

Take heed though, this is for pros or kamikazzees only and is a seriously shallow reef break with gaping tubes on the right day. If you snap a leash or your board out there,its a long swim in and you're on your own...

Broadhaven South
This favoured big wave spot is a truly hideous wave which often comes in at acute angles to the beach.

It tends to work best in winter but autumn and spring can also produce good waves. Waves re-bound off the cliffs on the left hand side of the beach to form giant wedges which are practically impossible to duckdive so time your paddle out after each ride.

The lip here is very thick and heavy and will undoubtedly flatten you at some point!

It produces lovely looking barrels, predominantly lefts so it's perfect for goofy footers.

If you can't stand up immediately and drop into a vaccumous pit then surf somewhere else! The takeoff is frighteningly quick for standups and the wedges often contort into all manner of shapes as you drop down the wave face.

At high tide the surf is generally swallowed up as the water pushes up onto a steep pebble bank. The surf is normally a tad bigger than at Whitesands, a little further up the coast. It faces a similar direction to Freshwater West but is a lot smaller and never as gnarly. If Freshwater West is out of your league then head over to Newgale for a more manageable session. At low tide it closes out - so time your surf accordingly. Newgale is more of a slow moveing wave and good for longboarding.

Great waves all year round....
Pembrokeshire offers great surfing year round. Be warned though....winter is best experienced in a 5/4mm wetsuit!
Water temp: 12c
Recommended: 4/3 or a good 3/2 with liquid seams
Water temp: 18c
Recommended: 3/2
Autumn / Fall
Water temp: 18c
Recommended: 3/2 liquid seams
Water temp: 9cRecommended: 5/4/3 boots & gloves
Seek and ye shall find