Gower reefs

Gower x spot by Mark Evans

A secret reef break on Gower. Image by Mark Evans.

Since the 1970's surfers have been exploring the Gower coastline in search of perfect reef breaks.

The limestone slabs which make up a lot of the geology on Gower have created some of the most perfect conditions for reef breaks and bass fishing in Wales.

With the right swell and wind direction, the reefs spring to life but they're no longer as quiet as they used to be. The scenery is stunning though with turquoise sea, amazing cliffs, sea caves, green hills and an abundance of wildlife.

These days, when the surf is up you can expect to be sharing the breaks with twenty or more surfers and the once quiet, country lanes are now littered with surfers vehicles from far and wide.

The Gower reefs are fast, hollow and shallow and unsuitable for learners and the vast majority of intermediates.

They don't hold crowds well either, so if in doubt - leave it to the experts and surf elsewhere.

You must be confident in your own abilities in order surf safely over shallow reef anywhere, and Gower is no different. More experienced surfers will not appreciate people in the water who cannot handle the conditions.

If you become injured at an inaccessible reef break then your only escape is via rescue helicopter, so do bear that in mind. Mobile reception is also poor along this stretch of coast.

Kev and Mike share some wintry glass at dawn

Kev Child and Mike Maunders share some solitude at dawn. Image by Mark Evans
Image by Mark Evans

The best known reef breaks consist of Oxwich Point, Sumpters, Boilers and Pete's Reef. There are plenty more but you'll have to find them for yourselves.

They all have their own specific characteristics and work in a variety of conditions - swell, tides and winds all play a part so you'll have your work cut, trying to master each one.

There are reefs dotted all along the Gower coastline but most involve a fairly long hike over fields and up and down cliff tops.

Be prepared for disappointment as there's often no way of checking how good they actually are other than walking a few miles to check them. But you might just get lucky and if you do - it's definitely worth the hike.

Trekking down steep cliffs is all part of the experience

Image by Mark Evans

Sumpters

Sumpters is named after Rod Sumpter - a former UK surfing champion from the 1970's who discovered the break. It's a popular spot as it's a right hand wave, breaking into a deep water channel.

The paddle out is fairly straight forward though and can often be done without even getting your hair wet.

It's best surfed around low tide but can work in all conditions if the swell is big enough. As the tide surges in, the inside section begins to work and the take off becomes fast and hollow with uneven rocks a few feet below.

Boilers

This is a fast, hollow left hand break which is for more experienced surfers. Barrels are regularly had here so be careful when paddling out.

This spot does not hold a crowd. Any more than five or so surfers on this peak at once and it's not worth bothering with.

Pete's Reef

Named after local surfing legend - Pete Jones; this is one of the Gower's most popular reef breaks. It's fairly consistent and has a few different peaks but the right hand peak is generally best.

The rocks down to the waters edge are incredibly jagged so take care when getting in and out. The reef itself however is fairly flat though but can become shallow on the inside.

Happy hunting and try not to turn up in large groups.

Article written by Martin Aaron


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