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Wales borders England to the west. Atlantic swells grace the shores from south through to west. However, much of this is denied by Wales’s position, as it’s tucked behind Ireland and just north of South West England. Some spots require large swells to pull through on their last legs to reach them. Nevertheless, the coastline is varied and with a plethora of spots facing different directions there’s plenty of choice to suit a range of wind directions. The more solid southwest swells can push up through St. Georges Channel to give the more north western spots some good surf, but they’re rarely epic. The Lleyn peninsular is more exposed to these southwest swells and as you travel south down the coastline, generally the more swell is picked up. Water temperatures are reasonable, certainly not the coldest in the UK. Summer permits a 3/2 and winter can demand full gear.

Freshwater West lies at south west Pembrokeshire. It is known as the most consistent spot in Wales as it picks up most swell on offer, making it a reliable bet for surf trips all year. National contests are often hosted here. When there’s enough swell, Pembrokeshire presents much choice for shelter to winds blasting the more exposed spots. Opportunity and charming natural beauty characterise the surf.

East of Pembrokeshire is the Gower. Near the city of Swansea and also not that far from Cardiff, these spots can get very busy. There’s diversity of beach, reef and point on offer. The area starts lighting up on a moderate to solid swell and that makes late autumn to early spring best, with the deep winter swells bringing classic surfs to the table.

As you travel east past the Gower Peninsula and Swansea Bay, the coastline in south Wales starts facing west, and a range of west to southwest bays, reefs and open beaches emerge. From Port Talbot down to Porthcawl there are a range of spots favouring west swells and east winds. The coastline then starts facing west again, and the further east you go the less swell makes it up the Severn Estuary so these spots aren’t as fortunate for waves.

West Wales is unfortunate in that Ireland blocks it from the well travelled westerly Atlantic swells. It needs southwest Atlantic swells to start working, and it can get good in the winter as larger swells are more frequent. With plenty of good breaks to suit everyone, west Wales, or mid Wales, is still a great surfing option. As it picks up only about half the swell of south west Pembrokeshire, more attention must be paid to the charts when planning surf trips here.

Wales is a country layered in natural beauty. Coastal national parks and high doses of rich scenery contribute to the surfing experience. With spots close to cities and spots on remote coastline, there is something to suit everyone. It may rain a lot and the Welsh sun might be shy, and the swell that reaches the shores may not be the strongest in the UK, but it’s certainly not the weakest, and that all contributes to the wonderful character of Welsh surfing. They’re a friendly nation, and extremely proud of their culture.

Adam Surfboards
Adam Surfboards

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