Gower has some of the best waves in Britain. Over the past 40 years surf culture grown into one of the most popular sports in the area for men and women of all ages.
The location of Gower and general aspect make it one of the best surf areas in the UK. The fact that it is a peninsula helps and means that there are plenty breaks to choose from depending upon the conditions. The main factors when deciding where to go are:
- Swell size and direction
- Wind speed and direction
- Tide timetables and height of the tide.
The rule of thumb: Llangennith faces directy out to the Atlantic and pics up swell before the other beaches. If there is swell then Llangennith will normally have larger waves than any other beaches. The prevailing wind direction for Gower is a westerly and this can push up the swell size. As a rough guide, Llangennith needs to be about 4-5ft for Langland and Caswell to get a 2-3ft wave. Once waves reach 3-4 foot then the paddle out at Llangennith becomes a challenge, particularly at low tide. The swells are usually more frequent and larger during the winter, when this is the case many local surfers will opt for Langland Bay. Langland is all about timing, there are various locations that will produce a wave at different stages of the tide.
Rhossili Bay stretches for 5km and produces a consistent beach break. The beach faces directly out into the Atlantic and picks up any available swell. The beach is suitable for all surfing abilities. There are local surf schools operating from the car park and it is possible to hire boards and wetsuits from PJs surf shop in Llangennith. The paddle out is renowned for its difficulty when waves reach 4ft and over. At the northern end of the beach is Burry Holms and adjacent to the island is Three Peaks (Peaks), waves here usually have more size, power and shape. In contrast, Rhossili at the southern end picks up less swell and can be more sheltered from winds. There are occasionally rips, especially near Rhossili. Look out for Jellyfish and on very rare occaisons there have been reports of surfers stepping on weaver fish, this only usually happens at low tide. There is parking, camping and full facilities at Hillend, Llangennith.
Langland beach is easily accessible, less than 5 minutes by car from Mumbles. Car parking is just a few metres from the beach. There are toilet facilities and a beach side cafe and restaurant. Langland offers a variety of waves that are tide dependent. The bay faces south and therefore offers some protection from prevailing westerlies. The profile of the beach can change rapidly after storms, usually it is a mixture of storm beach, sand and reefs. At high tide the waves are fast breaking, but as the tide goes out, then peaks and point breaks start to generate longer breaking waves.
At mid tide there is middle reef and lefts, at the same time the point break should also start to work. At low tide there is the Sandbar in the middle of the bay and on the far left Crab Island.
Old surfers never die! - instead they buy a longboard and migrate to Saga Point. This is a slow right hander that peels away from the point. The paddle outs at Langland are generally forgiving, but you just need to be very careful of your depth both entering and exiting the water, as it can get very shallow in places. Paddle boards have become increasing popular in recent years and they generally keep to the point. The Sandbar breaks on big swells, it is the wave that breaks furthest out to sea and is only suitable for the more experienced surfers.
Crab Island is another wave that is more suitable for the experienced surfer. This is a right hander that breaks around an exposed reef. It can get a bit crowded at times. This is a steep drop, but can then lead to a long ride. Ideal conditions for Crab are light north westerly winds.
Parking is good, either behind the beach huts by the tennis courts or if full, there is another car park behind Langland's Brasserie. These are Pay and Display Car parks where you will need to enter your Car Reg - Be warned they are monitored and fines are issued for non compliance. There are toilets that can be found at the end of the beach huts, opposite the tennis course towards the Surfside Cafe end of the promenade.
Unfortunately, There have been more frequent reports of car crime in recent years. The Surfside cafe was offering to hold your key while you are in the water.