Pembrokeshire is one of the most popular places in the UK for surfers and as the county has such a variety of beach and reef breaks facing all directions from NW to SE, it is usually possible to find a rideable wave somewhere.
Freshwater West is the best-known surf spot and is regularly used for competitions, and Newgale and Whitesands are also popular. There are occasionally problems of overcrowding when there are large numbers of surfers, swimmers, body boarders and kayak surfers all at the same time. Beaches that have lifeguard cover are zoned with swimming areas and surfing areas during the summer months.
Some of the surfing locations are backed by fragile sand dune areas and you may be coming into close contact with many marine species including seals, sunfish and, if you are unlucky, the rather painful weever fish. The code of conduct below gives advice on how to enjoy your surf session and protect the coastal habitats at the same time.
Things to consider when surfing in Pembrokeshire:
- PLAN your location with consideration for conditions and ability level of surfers. Find out about rip currents, rocky areas and other hazards.
- CONSIDER other water users, particularly if you are leading a group of beginners. Observe zoning at beaches patrolled by lifeguards in summer (don’t surf between red/yellow flags).
- FOLLOW the rights of way rules (don’t drop in, first surfer up has right of way and the surfer nearest the shoulder has right of way over surfers further down the line).
- AVOID damage to sand dunes and do not create new paths to the beach. Particularly at Freshwater West where the dunes are protected as an SSSI.
- DON’T DISTRUB SEALS particularly in the autumn when they may have pups on some beaches and surfers have the potential to interrupt feeding of young seals.
- LEAVE the area as you found it or better.