McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: Widemouth Bay, Cornwall.


Widemouth Bay, Cornwall.

Spot type:

Popular North Cornish surf spot just along the coast from Bude.


As is typical of North Cornwall beaches Widemouth offers similar surf conditions to that you’d find elsewhere in the county. On any given day the surf can serve up whompers that’ll test even the most proficient. Whilst at other times the waves can be far mellower and perfect for learning. Seasonality and general weather play a big part in what you’ll get.


Widemouth Bay beach itself isn’t as wide you’d imagine. It’s a spot made of sections. The reef to the right, main beach in front of the car park, Black Rock (so called because of the imposing monolith stack that’s hard to miss) and Wanson in the left hand corner beneath the cliff.

Widemouth’s sand can often disappear on big high tides. And if you didn’t know you could miss the rocks on the right as they become submerged. Large pebbles litter the beach as at low tide there are deep tide pools that can cause trip hazards if you’re not paying attention.

Black Rock’s reef over on the right should be obvious. Have a glance at low tide and you’ll see what’s being explained.

One other thing to be aware of is the crumbling cliff next to Black Rock. If you’re walking below them be aware of landslides.


You can access Widemouth Bay from Bude along the coastal road or coming in from the opposite direction. Both roads can become busy in summer. The car park is pretty big but will also get packed on good weather days. Hitting the water is simple though.


Widemouth Bay used to be an annexe of Bude, and a bit of a backwater. These days it’s a thriving resort in itself with shops, accommodation options a few restaurants/cafes and pubs. Back in Bude there’s obviously even more.

Lifeguards patrol Widemouth Bay through high season. And there are lots of surf and SUP schools. Although most offering guided SUP and lesson tend to stick to Bude’s flat water canal. Some do offer hire though.


Widemouth Bay is a quintessential Cornish surf spot. In terms of conditions, it has everything the discerning could ask for. Beach break waves, mellow reefs, hardcore reef surf and even flat water on its day – mostly in summer.

The beach does get busy during high season. But it can be a great location for learning how to SUP surf or developing your existing skills. On flat days it’s possible to head off for some adventure paddling. You could check out Black Rock’s reef (just be careful) or head along to the cliffs towards Bude. In fact, paddling to Bude is possible with the right weather and sea conditions.

Widemouth’s waves are classic beach break waves. Even when big then tend to form slowly before hitting the shallows and often closing out. It can be tricky to score long rides. But perseverance will often pay off. Some of the best SUP surfing sessions to be had are when the swell’s 2-3ft and tide on the push. Lower tides see the waves break harder. And there can be more rips and current.

If you get bored of chasing swell then head to Bude’s canal for some flat water respite. Or venture further afield where there’s plenty more in the way of SUP locations.

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