Crantock Beach, Cornwall
Open ocean, Atlantic facing, tidal location with an estuary style river that works at high tide.
As you’d expect with Crantock facing the open Atlantic it’s a beach that gets its fair share of ground swell. Such is the case it can be great for SUP surfing with various sand banks lining up on different occasions to produce decent waves. The bank in front of the River Gannel mouth can be particularly good, however, there can also be a LOT of current here – partic on an ebbing tide. In contrast Crantock’s super mellow River Gannel, flat water spot, could be somewhere else entirely. At high tide it’s an idyllic touring SUP location, or beginner playground, with riders able to hop on the tidal conveyor belt all the way up to just outside Newquay. Time it right and navigate all the way back with the outgoing flow.
Tides and currents can be problematic if you aren’t aware – especially towards the River Gannel. Other water users need to be taken into account. And the huge sand dune you need to navigate to get onto Crantock beach should be given thought, at least as far as carrying your gear goes. Powerful swell should also be considered if there’s ‘weather’ in the mix.
Crantock is an easy beach to get to with a gradually narrowing country lane leading to the car park. Then it’s a case of summiting the massive sand dune before descending towards the beach on the other side. If the tide’s in the water’s edge is close. If not then you’ll need to walk further to access the put in.
Being two miles SW of Newquay does tend to see Crantock fairly busy during good weather. Locals looking to escape Newquay crowds will head here, along with the usual high season tourist melee.
Crantock Beach is overlooked by an RNLI lifeguard tower. You’ll also find public toilets and a fairly large car park. Back in the village there are two quaint pubs, a small supermarket and a couple of restaurants. Even though you’re super close to Surf City UK (Newquay) Crantock feels like a world away from the sometimes hedonistic hustle and bustle of town. A static caravan park also overlooks the beach.
There’s a super hollow right hander that breaks off the rocks at Pentire Head if the sand bars are lined up. In the river mouth there can also be a decent wave, which is more SUP and longboard friendly. In terms of quality it all depends how the currents have affected things. In the southern corner, with massive swells, is almost a mythical left. It’s an experts only wave though so best left alone. For flat water touring, and/or beginners, the River Gannel is idyllic. As the tide fills paddlers can ferry glide all the way up to just outside Newquay or simply stay around the shallower parts of the river working on their technique. With sunshine and light wind the Gannel is blissful. Crantock’s village itself is a sleepy affair. Of course, during busy summer months numbers of tourists increase but it’s much quieter than it’s rambunctious neighbour – even with Crantock being a mere stone’s throw away.