Harbour Holidays

Watersports to Try in Cornwall this Summer

Most people visit Cornwall to spend time at the beach and admire the coastline. But why limit yourself to just dipping your toes in the sea or strolling along the cliffs when you can jump right in and immerse yourself on a watersport activity?

There are loads of ways to get active and have fun in the water while on holiday, especially here in the Padstow area where we have access to the sea and the estuary.

So dive in and discover the best watersports to try during your summer holiday in Cornwall.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding – SUP

This relatively new water sport has exploded in popularity in recent years. This is probably because it is quite easy to learn, so families can have fun on the water without too many tantrums. If you’re a first-timer, it’s best to hook up with a local activity provider, such as Harlyn Surf School, who can teach you how to balance and paddle at the same time, and take you to some of the best SUP spots.

stand up paddle boarding cornwall

Stand up paddle boarding – photo by Harlyn Surf School


Coasteering is another popular way to enjoy the water and experience the coastline from a whole new angle. This exciting activity combines climbing, swimming, traversing and jumping, and provides the opportunity to explore caves and sometimes see marine life. But don’t go coasteering yourself. To ensure your safety, go with a reputable coasteering company, such as Bare Feet Coasteer, who will provide the right equipment, qualified instructors and local knowledge for a safe adventure.

Coasteering in Cornwall

Coasteering – photo by Bare Feet Coasteer


If you want to explore further along the estuary or coastline, it is wise to take a kayaking tour. You’ll be able to cover longer distances while sitting down and explore some interesting coves and inlets along the coastline. Several companies operate kayaking lessons and tours in the area, including Cornish Kayaking.

sea kayaking in Cornwall

Sea kayaking – photo by Elliot Walker


Whether you’re an experienced sailor or want to learn the ropes for the first time, Padstow makes a good base for dinghy sailing adventures. On the other side of the Camel estuary, the Camel Sailing Centre runs a number of courses for all standards of sailor. For larger boats and yacht sailing charters, we recommend visiting Mylor Harbour on Cornwall’s south coast.

dinghy sailing in Cornwall

Dinghy sailing in Cornwall


You can learn to waterski within sight of Padstow with the Camel Ski School. Their instructors provide waterski lessons from their motorboat on the estuary. They will get you up and riding along the coast in no time.

waterskiing in Cornwall

Waterskiing – photo by Camel Ski School


Fancy yourself as more of a boarder than a skier? That’s not a problem. The Camel Ski School offers wakeboarding lessons too. Alternatively, there is a lake cable tow centre at Retallack Resort, only seven miles from Padstow. Here you can learn to stand up on the board relatively quickly and perfect your carving turns on flat water.

wakeboarding Cornwall

Wakeboarding – photo by Retallack Resort


Staying at Retallack Resort, they have an artificial wave machine called a Flowrider which is great fun for all the family. It’s essentially a standing wave caused by water rushing up a steep slope, where you can learn to ‘surf’ without setting foot in the sea.

Flowrider Cornwall

Flowrider – photo by Retallack Resort


Kitesurfing looks like a glamorous sport for professionals only. But it’s surprisingly easy to learn. The Camel Estuary offers great conditions for beginners with near flat conditions at Daymer Bay and Hawkers Cove when the wind is in the right direction. Try Atlantic Riders for top local kitesurf tuition in this area.

kitesurfing Cornwall

Kitesurfing – photo by Elliot Walker


Last but not least is Cornwall’s biggest and best known watersport. Surfing in Cornwall has been popular for many decades since the first wooden belly boards were used to ride waves on local beaches. There’s quite a steep learning curve for stand-up surfing but with the right tuition it won’t be long before you’re riding a wave to shore. Harlyn Bay is a safe place to learn and Harlyn Surf School has lessons for all ages and abilities. Also, King Surf offers excellent tuition at Mawgan Porth further down the coast.

surfing in cornwall

Surfing in cornwall

Stay by the Sea

To book accommodation by the coast for your watersports adventure in Cornwall, please check out our holiday cottages, houses and apartments in and around Padstow and the surrounding beaches. Alternatively, give us a call on 01841 533402 and we’ll be happy to recommend places to stay near the sea.

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