Surfing at Borth

This long sandy bay is considered by some to be Aberystwyth's ugly sister but between the wooden groynes lies some good surf.

Borth is in the heart of Cardigan Bay, north of Aberystwyth and best surfed on large stormy days in a large south westerly swell.

This two and a half mile stretch of sand can have good surf but like every beach, needs the right combination of tide, swell and wind to organise the messy shapeless surf into something really special.

The cliffs near the RNLI station provide some shelter from southerly winds but the beach becomes more exposed the further north you go. After that, the waves are affected by the various sand bars entering the Aberdyfi Estuary.

Borth Point

Borth Point by Derek Brockway
Image by Derek Brockway

The beach is best for surfing around high tide but beginners should watch out for the timber groynes dotted along the beach which become hidden as the tide pushes in.

Strong rips exist near the lifeguard station and down towards Ynyslas dunes and the Dyfi National Nature Reserve.

The point at the southern end of the village, (running along the base of the cliff) can occasionally be good. It works at low tide but generally looks better than it actually is.

There's plenty of parking at Borth and a wooden walking track running though the sand dunes so avoid walking through them if you can.

Keep an eye out for the prehistoric submerged forest which is exposed along the beach on large tides or after big storms. At low tide you'll be able to see ancient tree stumps and peat in the sand.

The town itself is pretty quiet in winter but livelier in summer with plenty of tourist shops, cafes and pubs and it's only a short taxi ride away from Aberystwyth.

Wooden groynes at low tide

Borth beach by Nadine Ballantyne
Borth beach by Nadine Ballantyne

The artificial reef project

There are currently plans to develop an artificial reef at Borth which would greatly improve the areas surfing and help protect the beach from coastal erosion.

Engineering company - Royal Haskoning has been awarded the detailed design and implementation of the first phase of these works, including the reef.

This will include physical modelling to optimise the design together with an assessment of the improvement in 'surfability' that can be anticipated.

Funding has been obtained through the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) for this £7.5m project.

However to receive this funding the works have to be completed by March 2011, putting pressure on the team to complete the design, secure planning consent and procure a construction contractor in time to start work in summer 2010.

Article written by Martin Aaron with additional information supplied by Amos Bewick.

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