Pembrokeshire is widely renowned for it’s beautiful, idyllic coastline and picturesque beaches. Despite its vast popularity amongst tourists, Pembrokeshire miraculously remains a hidden gem for surfers, largely untainted by the media’s spotlight. With more than 50 fantastic beaches to choose from, there’s plenty of options available to suit surfers of varying abilities, from the well-seasoned surfer seeking a challenge, to the complete newbie dipping their fins for the first time.
Freshwater West, despite it’s remote location, remains a firm favourite amongst local surfing fans. Breathtaking in its aesthetic impact alone, Freshwater West offers a wild ride most suited to the intermediate and advanced. The waves at “Fresh”, as it is affectionately known locally, boasts some of the largest in Pembrokeshire, with nippy, dynamic breaks that offer plenty of fun, and are reliably powerful on all tides. The sheer size of Freshwater West ensures that there is plenty of space to explore the waters uninhibited, and the local surf school offers lessons for all abilities to help master the energetic waves.
Newgale is a delightful 2 mile long sand and pebble European Blue Flag beach, which is both easy to access and well sheltered from the elements. These waves don’t tend to challenge or thrill, but Newgale is reliable for a modest swell and is an ideal hotspot for beginners, or those seeking a calmer surf session.
Manorbier is a reasonably exposed beach close to tourist hot spot Tenby, and sits rippling in the impressive shadow of striking Manorbier Castle. Manorbier is a favourite amongst local surfers, as it offers satisfactory waves and clean breaks, typically at its shining best around high tide. Usually more demanding in the Winter, the Summer surf at Manorbier is fairly languid, but remains a strong contender for one of the best surf spots in Pembrokeshire if Freshwater West is blown out. Beginners are advised to stick to the sandy area of the beach to the left and avoid the tricky reef to the right.
Marloes is a fantastic alternative for those experienced surfers wishing for a quieter surf as many are deterred by the long walk, and so the water and beach itself are often found relatively empty. Breaking over sand but somewhat challenging due to lurking rocks, rip currents, and a rising tide that has a tendency to cut you off, Marloes is an enjoyable ride for those up to the challenge.
These are just four of many treasured beaches contending for the crown of best surf site in Pembrokeshire. There are a plethora of magnificent beaches in Pembrokeshire’s bubbling surf scene to choose from, with any surfer being spoilt for choice with a real Pick n Mix of fun waves with clean breaks and equally clean beaches to suit every mood, ability, and change in Pembrokeshire’s notoriously unpredictable weather.
Be mindful of RNLI flags on beaches indicating whether waters are safe or not, and do not go out in conditions or on waves you are not competent and confident with. Pembrokeshire Surf, Lifesaving & Sup Club, the Welsh Surfing Federation, and Outer Reef Surf School are all fantastic sources of information and training for enjoying safe surf.
By Alice Shuttleworth