Daymer Bay, Wadebridge, Cornwall
Semi-sheltered, open water, heavily tidal location.
On water conditions can vary at Daymer depending on weather, state of tide and how big a swell’s running. Nestling at the mouth of the Camel Estuary, with Padstow just across the water, Daymer can be a flat water recreation/touring SUP spot, wave venue and everything else in between. The almost mythical right hander off the rocks can see extremely long walled up waves that run and run. Likewise Daymer can be a rippy, current affected ‘mare (if you get it wrong with the tide).
The Camel Estuary has a particularly strong flow – especially during the middle part of its tidal cycle. Getting caught in it could either see paddlers swept out to sea or dragged up into the estuary. There are a few rocks to watch out for and the beach gets super busy with varied water users during high season. If the right’s working then it’ll be horded out with surfers, paddle surfers and (now) foilers.
Navigating down a narrow lane a fairly steep, cliff top perched car park gives access to the sand below. Being in close proximity to neighbouring Polzeath – a super busy Cornish surf village – can mean traffic all around Daymer’s peripheral roads.
Daymer Bay is much quieter in winter. Summer sees numbers increase significantly, the irony being large volumes of people head here to escape Polzeath’s crowds. 3-8 depending on seasonality.
Toilets, a small beach shack and ice cream van occupy Daymer Bay’s car park with plenty of pubs, restaurant, bars and shops to be found back into Polzeath, or Rock. Wadebridge is a short drive away with Padstow being not too far to travel. Padstow being the home of many a noted culinary establishment including Rick Stein’s fish restaurant, delicatessen and fish ‘n’ chip shop. Rock itself, on the same side as Daymer, isn’t to be sniffed at for delectable eats and treats either.
Daymer Bay can be an idyllic escape from the hustle and bustle of surrounding tourist traps and beaches – as long as everyone else hasn’t had the same idea. The view across the Camel Estuary is particularly pleasing with plenty of boating traffic to keep onlookers amused.
Descending the steps to Daymer’s soft sands you’ll be greeted with a mellow stand up paddle board touring spot when the weather and surf’s not too heavy. Be cautious if entering the water, however, as the tide rips in and out. Make sure you’re armed with the necessary tide information and avoid the times of strongest flow.
Flat water enthusiasts will be well served with (mostly) gin clear, pleasant water to paddle upon when things are calm. IF the waves ramp up significantly (or wind) Daymer can be a storm hole with a beginner friendly inside wave breaking on the beach. The mythical righthander off the rocks can be absolutely magical when it works. Getting the right state of tide, surf and wind can be quote the trick, meaning it being an old pirate’s tale for most of paddling population. And if it’s on it’ll be busy!
Out in the middle of the Camel Estuary’s mouth the notorious Doom Bar can be spotted. With now a famous Cornish ale named after the sand bar/wave it’s an awesome sight to see proper whompers unloading their power on the shallow bottomed sea bed. Some hell men have been known to surf here but it’s such a dicey wave that many choose not to bother.
For those with a sense of adventure there’re a few touring SUP options, riding the tide further up the Camel, to discover paddling pastures new. Just know what you’re doing with tide and use the right equipment. This is the area, where sadly, a paddler lost his life in 2020.
All in though Daymer Bay’s a pleasant and pretty location for a dabble with a paddle.