Aberavon by spen45on Flickr

Aberavon by 'spen45' on Flickr

Slap-bang in the middle of the industrial zone of Port Talbot, Aberavon has a fast and revered, hollow peak.

The beach is becoming increasingly popular with kite surfers due to the abundance of wind and long expanse of sand which stretches as far as the River Neath - around three and a half miles away.

The beach backs onto one of the major industrial zones of South Wales - Port Talbot, so is not the prettiest back drop to surf against but it holds a fantastic wave when the surf is good.

Water quality has been an issue over the years but in 2009, the beach was awarded Blue Flag status, after a clean up campaign by Neath Port Talbot Council.

The best spot for surfing is down by the harbour wall near the Sandfields estate and there are a couple of entry points depending on how brave you are feeling at the time.

Richard Perkins during an interclub contest in 2010

Surfer at Aberavon by Claire Beach
Image by Claire Beach

The peak on its day can be classic, with perfect 'A frame' shaped waves peeling off down the line, but the lefts are generally better than the rights and offer longer rides.

Aberavon used to have a fierce reputation for localism but seems to have mellowed over the years.

The general rule of thumb here is that you shouldn't paddle straight out onto the main peak unless you're a competent surfer who can handle the conditions. The wave here can be fast, hollow and heavy when it's working properly so is not a spot for learners to hone their skills at.

Drop ins aren't looked upon favourably here, especially when the waves are good but providing you respect the locals and obey the basics of surfing etiquette - you shouldn't have any problems.

Unknown surfer going left at the peak

Surfing at Aberavon by 'Spen45'
Image by 'Spen45'

If you're still learning to surf - walk down the beach a little way and find a quiet peak to yourself.

As the tide pushes in, the entry and exit point can become pretty fearsome so take care, especially on large spring and autumn tides.

The locals take their chances by walking out onto the break wall during lulls and jumping off; quickly paddling out to the line up.

If you mistime it though, you could end up getting smashed into the break wall so be warned and if in doubt - paddle out further down the beach. It may take you a little longer but at least you and your board will be intact!

The beach works best from mid through to high tide but can also be surfed at low tide on large swells. The break wall can offer good protection from strong south to south westerly winds.

The local lifesaving club has a strong tradition here and is manned during the summer months.

Article written by Martin Aaron

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