Coney Beach by Mark Evans

The funfair at Coney Beach. Image by Mark Evans.

Coney beach, famous for it's dilapidated funfair rides and harbour is also great spot for learning to surf and can provide shelter in stormy conditions.

Every country has its own version of Coney beach - a reliable, yet extremely average beach break, prone to closing out with no real shape.

It does however have one thing in it's favour - shelter, so if the waves are small elsewhere, then Coney will be flat but if the surf is huge and onshore - then Coney can have a clean, manageable wave.

Parking is handy as it's literally either opposite or parallel to the beach but like Rest Bay, surfers are advised not to leave valuables in cars or hide car keys underneath their vehicles.

If you're going to surf Coney then make sure you're in a good mood and try to retain a good sense of humour!

You'll find yourself surrounded by learners, intermediates and long boarders all of whom (at some point) will drop in on you and attempt to decapitate you (either intentionally or unintentionally) with their surfboards.

Scott Squires gliding on a small one

Surfing at Coney beach by Mark Evans
Image by Mark Evans

It can occasionally be nice though and if waves hold up long enough - you can get in one or two manoeuvres before it shuts down. It can even get quite hollow at times but I won't dwell on that, as no-one would believe me!

The beach works best from mid to high tide but can be surfed at all stages of the tide.

Low tide can hold a wave here, but only if the surf is huge and you're then losing any shelter advantage you may have gained from being inside the harbour wall.

Most of the time the wave here offers a fast, steep drop followed by a powerful close out. It's a shallow beach so the paddle out can be a bit taxing at times, especially if the shore dump is in full swing.

The rip is more annoying than fierce but tends to drag you down towards the easterly end of the beach and the rocks.

Clean waves breaking in the middle of the bay

Clean waves at Coney beach
Image by Hugh from Porthcawl Surf

The better banks are generally found at opposing ends of the beach but like any beach break - it can vary. The bay is fairly wide so you can normally find a quiet spot to yourself and most people tend to surf the westerly end, towards the break wall, where the surf is smaller.

The break nearest to the harbour wall is known locally as 'the wedge' - due to the wave shape formed as waves rebound off the harbour wall, and bounce back towards the beach.

On large swells, the wedge serves up nice, hollow barrels and is a favourite amongst local bodyboarders.

The beach received Blue Flag status in 2010 but surfers often complain of sore throats whilst surfing here over the winter months and sewer overflow pipes do exist nearby, so worth considering if it's been raining heavily.

The beach has lifeguards on duty from May through to September and there are toilets and cafes close by at the Hi-Tide inn and Burger King.

Coney with the harbour wall in the background

Coney by Mark Evans
Image by Mark Evans

To the south of Coney lies Porthcawl Point. This is a fast wave, breaking over shallow, jagged reef so is for experienced surfers only.

On good days, it's not uncommon to see surfers getting tubed here but it's a very fickle wave and rarely breaks, so expect a crowd if it's working properly.

You're also likely be sharing the line up with European, Welsh Open and former British surf champions, so competition is always fierce.

If you are lucky enough to catch a wave here on a big swell - you're in for a fast, intense 200 metre plus length of ride that will leave you grinning from ear to ear.

Article written by Martin Aaron

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