Freshwater East

Freshwater East beach by Tracey Cole

Freshwater East beach by Tracey Cole.

A fickle winter spot that holds a nice hollow wave but prone to board snapping.

Families flock here during the summer holidays due it's safe swimming and pristine sand, so it's hard to imagine it ever having good surf.

But this beach is home to a notoriously fickle, but powerful and hollow shore break in winter time - well known for its board snapping capabilities.

Freshwater East really only comes to life the dead of winter when big swells pound the coastline and other spots are too big to surf. It also has some shelter from strong south westerly winds.

Years ago this was a secret spot, only surfed by a handful of local surfers but nowadays when it's good, you can expect a crowd and seventy surfers here is not unheard of.

Take care when surfing here. It's a fast, hollow wave and offers little time for correction so don't drop in or get in the way if possible.

The better waves are normally found towards the east of the bay and directly in front of the stream, in the middle of the beach.

You can surf along the whole of the beach but you'll find the rip drags you towards the rocks at the east end so you might want to start off at the other end and drift down.

Water quality has been consistently excellent over the last 7 years, and the beach is often recommended in Marine Conservation Society's (MCS) 'Good Beach Guide'.

A hollow shore break

Image by Martin Aaron
Image by Martin Aaron

A sewer overflow pipe however is situated around the corner off Trewent Point so be mindful of this after heavy rain, as this is when it is most likely to be discharged - pumping raw sewage into the sea.

Local surfers have experienced sore throats whilst surfing here, so make your own minds up about water quality here on stormy days in winter. A lot will depend on wind direction and rips at the time.

The freshwater stream running into the sea here, forms nice sand banks causing the waves to peel off in hollow 'A frames'. You may even spot the odd otter running along the shoreline here.

The waves break in very shallow water, around 2ft deep which explains why boards snap here so readily here.

The shoreline is carpeted with small pebbles that will ding your board but occasionally the barrels open up, just long enough for you to exit - making it all worthwhile.

There's a toilet and parking at the back of the beach and a pub/ restaurant and caravan park close by.

If you do surf here, then respect the local surfers who wait all year for this spot to work.

Article written by Martin Aaron


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