Whale alert! Further Afield goes surfing in St Ives, Cornwall
This was my second surf experience. The first was with some lesbian friends in Devon who were much too good for novices. They were however very kind, inspiring and encouraging, and didn’t kick sand in my face. And although most of my time was spent under the waves it was enough of a thrill to fuel plans for a second attempt.
St Ives is a mecca for UK surfers and to the untrained eye they all looked highly competent next to us as we floundered around. We spent a lot of time getting out to the waves, only to get ducked time and time again but when it worked it was truly exhilarating. When I say ‘worked’ I don’t mean the ‘stand up’ kind of surfing. I mean the ‘belly board’ kind of surfing. Even the best start on their bellies but next time I reckon we need to invest in a surf school session and get some top tips and moves! Or ‘shapes’ to use young surf dude language.
All that thrashing around in the waves is enough of an excuse to think about food. It is true – I am partial to a pasty – but I don’t mind if I don’t see one for a while. I know they are a Cornwall staple but enough! For the more discerning foodie, St Ive’s has some great choices. We dined with Graham and his partner, John, who owns luxury guest house 11 ST IVES aT SALTWATER tucked behind the main town. Stunning locally sourced fish and meat – easy to see why Grahame recommends this place to all his guests.
If you prefer to be by the sea then THE PORTHGWIDDEN BEACH CAFÉ is set above it own small cove. We watched with detached amusement as a spat broke out over the table next to the window but really you could see the sea from all the seats.
For me the most memorable thing about St Ives are the beaches which just get better the further you walk. Porthminster beach is a hop, skip and jump from the main beach and the town. If you fancy a romantic beach side lunch or dinner meal then the PORTHMINSTER BEACH CAFÉ is the one. You can also stay minutes from this beach at the lovely eco chic PRIMROSE VALLEY HOTEL owned by friendly and welcoming, Andrew Biss. If you are more adventurous then the walk to the dunes in Lelant is a breathtaking coastal walk taking 2 hours. Take a picnic because there is nothing but you and a huge unpopulated beach when you get there. More hidden secret beaches can be found in this great GUARDIAN ARTICLE.
Finally don’t forget the other apres surf activities. St Ives has been the place that artists have headed to for the ‘light’ since sculpture BARBARA HEPWORTH made her home there in 1949. Today you can’t move without tripping over an artist, and of course the TATE ST IVES is their shrine. See latest their balloon installation … find your inner child.