Wales - South East Surf Forecast & Surf Reports (UK)
Recent Eyeball Surf Reports for United-Kingdom - Wales - South East
- PorthcawlSurf (School & Hire) 7.15am Saturday. Light winds and small surf. An hour after low tide and its 1-2ft and clean. We should get 2ft towards high tide later this morning, but then likely to drop to almost flat later this afternoon. The winds look like they may increase this afternoon too. Pictures and video@ [link]
- PorthcawlSurf (School & Hire): ‘Porthcawl: Light winds and small surf. An hour after low tide and its 1-2ft and clean. We should get 2ft towards high tide later this morning, but then likely to drop to almost flat later this afternoon. The winds look like they may increase this afternoon too.’
|Black Rock||Morfa Mawr||Southerndown|
|Coney Beach||Ogmore-by-Sea||The Knap|
|Gileston||Porthcawl Point||Trecco Bay|
|Kenfig Sands||Rest Bay|
Summary: There are some great waves to be found in South East Wales but you have to be there at the right time to score. Not only do you need to be there when the swell is big enough to force its way up the shallow Bristol Channel but also at the right stage of the tide. If you don’t live locally be sure to check the surf forecasts and our local wavefinder for the best spots in any given swell and wind direction. The scenery is diverse, ranging from miles of unspoilt Heritage coastline to touristy towns and industry. The water clarity is often low but that is just due to the silt in the Bristol Channel, largely brought down by the River Severn
Swell: The best swell direction for the region is from the Southwest caused by low pressure systems in the mid. Atlantic or coming up from Biscay (see swell statistics chart). Ireland tends to block most of the ground swell from the NW rendering the summers generally flat with the occasional weak local swell. Check the swell statistics for Rest Bay, the main indicator beach for the region. Swells with a wave period of 9s to 12s tend to produce the best peaks at all the breaks. Longer period ground swells (>12s) tend to suffer most from the shallow water depths in the Bristol Channel and severe damping occurs on the forecast wave size. The damping effects are most significant for the breaks further east (up channel).
Wind: The prevailing wind direction (see wind statistics chart) is from the SW and most of the breaks suffer onshore winds for much of the year (~75%). Notable exceptions are sheltered spots such as the local refuge Coney Beach and a couple of other spots up channel that rarely break. Coney gets really crowded at high tide when there is a big swell running and the main breaks are blown out by westerly winds. The offshore wind direction for the main breaks ranges from NNW around to SE. There is often a lot of south in the wind direction as low pressure systems advance on the region, producing cross-onshore choppy conditions as the main swells arrive. When this occurs (all too often) you can head further west into Gower or Pembrokeshire for cleaner waves.
Tides: The tidal range is huge (approaching 10m on spring tides) and its affect on the surf increases as you travel eastwards up the Channel. Many of the main breaks don’t work that well at high tide since small/medium waves tend to break directly onto rocks or boulder banks at the back of the beach. This is particularly troublesome on spring tides and less so on neaps. On big swells the breaks can still work at high tide but access can be treacherous so timing is everything. The state of the tide also has a dramatic effect on the wave size. All the breaks in the region tend to produce noticeably bigger peaks on an incoming tide. It is thought that as the tide recedes, strong outflow currents in the Channel draw energy away from the coastline (wave refraction). At low tide the water depths are also significantly reduced and more wave energy is lost due to drag on the sea bed.
Indicator (exposed) break: Rest Bay ****
(scenic spot, consistent, ordinary power but good shape, all surfers)
Sheltered spots: Coney Beach **
(inconsistent, crowded, protected from NW winds)
Llantwit Major **
(long rights, crowded, boulder reef)
(crowded, localism, polluted, industrial backdrop)
(peaks and bowls, long hike, wind exposed, crowds)
Ogmore by Sea **
(pollution, inconsistent, strong river current, good wave shape, crowds)
(semi secret; between Llantwit and Southerndown, you need an OS map)
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