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7 Fun Water Sports in Cornwall to do this Summer

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Looking for the best water sports in Cornwall? From coasteering to paddleboarding, check out these amazing activities this summer!

water sports in cornwall

What’s one of the things that Cornwall’s most famous for? Surfing.

If you’re a bit of a beach bum and you love hitting the waves, then Cornwall is one of the best places in the UK for surfing. I’ve lost count the number of times I’ve been surfing in Cornwall, and every time I think “if I moved here, I could go surfing every single day…” It’s still a pipedream of mine to this day!

However, it’s not all about the surfing, there are so many other water sports in Cornwall just waiting to be discovered.

From kayaking at Helford River to epic coasteering at Mousehole, there’s a water activity for all ages and abilities.

cornish coastline
It’s views like this which is why I keep coming back to Cornwall

In this blog post I’m going to tell you all about my faves so you can start planning your next Cornwall adventure.

I’ll also tell you about a few cute Cornwall cottages nearby so you’ve got somewhere to stay too. All of these cottages are absolutely dreamy. Just wait until you see some of the views that these places have!

I can’t tell you how much I love Cornwall. As I said, one day I want to move here. In the meantime, I’ll just have to keep ticking off adventures like these until I do.

Water Sports in Cornwall

Paddleboarding in Falmouth

cornwall water sports
Paddleboarding is such a relaxing activity to do

Let’s start off with some paddleboarding. Is there any better way to start the day than a relaxing paddleboarding session on perfectly calm waters? If there is, I don’t want to know about it.

Over at Falmouth, you can join the Falmouth Surf School for a morning session paddleboarding along the Cornish coast. There are so many hidden coves and swim-through caves just waiting to be discovered – luckily your guides Nay and Matt know all the local spots. There’s even a shipwreck over at Maenporth that you can see.

One of the fun things about paddleboarding is once you get your balance, there’s pretty much only one speed – slow and steady. That makes it such a tranquil way of exploring Cornwall.

Where to stay: Fantasea, Maenporth

Kayaking on the Helford River

kayaking in cornwall

This is another water activity in Cornwall that should definitely be on your itinerary. I think it’s perfect for families as you can paddle with kids relatively young (think five and over).  

What I love about kayaking on the Helford River is immersing yourself in nature. It’s so different to being on the coast, but it’s still so beautiful. The Helford River is renowned for its tranquil waters, lush vegetation, and abundant wildlife, making it a popular destination for kayakers of all skill levels.

There are two options for kayaking here. You can either hire kayaks and go off exploring yourself, or go on a guided tour. It all depends on the type of afternoon you’re looking for.

If you’ve never been kayaking before, then I’d really recommend going on a tour. Then you’ve got a guide showing you how to paddle and they’ll take you to all the best spots too.

Where to stay: Sanderling House, Helford River

Coasteering at Mousehole

coasteering in cornwall
Did someone say adventure!?

If you love an adventure, then coasteering has to be on your radar. Scrambling over rocks, throwing yourself off cliffs into the dark depths below – that sounds like my ideal activity!

It actually sounds a lot scarier than it is. For me, the hardest thing about coasteering in the UK is the cold water, but with a thick wetsuit and life jacket it isn’t too bad. It does mean you get bragging rights with all your mates though.

In Cornwall, one of the best companies to do coasteering with is Global Boarders. These guys offer two-hour sessions at Mousehole Harbour – this is such a quaint little spot to visit.

Equipped with warm wetsuits, buoyancy aids, diving masks and helmets, your experienced coasteering guide will take you out on an adventure to remember.

Where to stay: Ten Steps, Mousehole, Mousehole

Sea pool swimming at Bude or Perranporth

perranporth sea pool
This is the swimming pool at Perranporth. The one at Bude is much bigger!

Now this is one of those water sports that everyone can do! At places like Bude and Perranporth, they have designated seaside swimming pools. They’re a lot like the ones dotted all around the coast of Australia, just without the 40-degree heat.

On a hot summer’s day, the swimming pools are brilliant. They’re obviously a lot safe than swimming in the sea when the waves are rough, especially for the little ones. And there’s something so old-school about the pools. It always makes me think of 1950s British summer holidays by the sea (not that I’ve been on any of those myself…)

Also, one of the best things about swimming at places like Bude and Perranporth is you’ve got the stunning scenery of the Cornish coast all around you. What’s not to love about that!

Where to stay: Seashells, Bude, Bude

Water skiing at Padstow

water sports in cornwall

Water skiing at Padstow offers an exhilarating adventure amidst Cornwall’s breathtaking coastal scenery. Just imagine yourself gliding across the shimmering waters of the Camel Estuary, framed by lush greenery and picturesque villages. For me, it really is one of the best water sports in Cornwall.

If you’re looking for a local company, then I’d recommend Camel Ski School. These guys specialise in water skiing, wakeboarding and paddleboarding.

After learning the skills on land, it’s time to take to the waters where you can find out where your limit is. That means face-planting a fair few times before finally standing up and water skiing. Don’t worry, you’ll get it eventually – it’s actually quite an intuitive activity where sometimes the less you think about it, the better. You will stand up though, and once you get some speed up it’s an adventure activity like no other. I really can’t recommend this one enough.

Where to stay: Gull High, Padstow

Boat rides at St Mawes  

st mawes cornwall
This is the beautiful harbour at St Mawes

Another really fun family friendly activity is going on a scenic boat ride at St Mawes. On this one you’ll set sail from the quaint harbour, where colourful fishing boats bob gently against a backdrop of historic architecture.

Once out in the open water, you’ll cruise along the famous Cornish coastline picking out crumbling castles perched on top of rocky cliffs. You’ll also get to see lots of wildlife too. If you’re lucky, you might see dolphins, and even basking sharks have been spotted over the years in summer.

Alternatively, another type of tour you can do here is going on a fishing trip. Then you can sail around St Mawes while fishing. The best bit about these tours is you get to cook whatever you catch afterwards!

Where to stay: Tregwylan, St Mawes

Surfing in Newquay

surfing at fistral beach
Surfing at Fistral Beach is such a popular spot

No holiday to Newquay would be complete without going surfing. It doesn’t matter if you’re a pro shredding the waves or someone who’s never been on a board before, everyone is welcome in the water here.

Head to the wonderfully sandy Fistral Beach for the best surf in Newquay and some really great vibes. Even though it’s a really wide beach, it can get a little crowded during the summer. Come early to find a good sunbathing spot.

You can find a number of surf schools in Newquay and get your hands on the latest gear from the many surf shops in Newquay High Street.

You can pick up a surf lesson for around £40 per person. This is for a 2-and-a-half-hour lesson with board hire, a wetsuit and tuition (obviously). I can’t tell you how much fun it is surfing on Fistral Beach.

Where to stay: Cornwall Cottages

holiday cottages in cornwall

I really hope you’ve enjoyed reading all about my favourite water sports in Cornwall. If you’re looking for accommodation in the area, then do take a look at the amazing variety of holiday cottages available via Aspects Holidays.

If you’re planning your next trip to Cornwall and you have any questions about these activities, let me know in the comments below and I’ll get back to you.

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7 Fun Water Sports in Cornwall to do this Summer

About the Author

  • Macca Sherifi

    Macca Sherifi is the founder of the multiple award-winning blogs An Adventurous World and the Great British Bucket List. Every month he inspires over 200,000 avid readers to travel the world.

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