Broadhaven South

Broadhaven beach by Adie

A breaking wedge at Broadhaven by Adie @

This seemingly tranquil beauty spot hides a dark secret - a hideous wintry wedge that eats surfers alive.

Broadhaven beach lies at the back of Bosheston Lily Ponds - a stunning man-made collection of lakes created in the 18th - 19th century and now a nature reserve.

The ponds are home to a wide range of freshwater fish, plant life, birds and mammals including otters. Eels also migrate here via the stream, at the far end of the beach.

In bygone days this was a quiet, secret spot favoured by locals for its sheltered aspect from strong, onshore winds. A busy day consisted of 15 local surfers and 1 lone bodyboarder.

Sadly, it's become a victim of its own success with national coverage in UK surfing magazines and is now very crowded, with surfers from all over Britain descending on it when it's good.

A low tide view of the beach showing Church Rock

Image by Martin Aaron

The beach itself only has a few peaks and as such does not hold a BIG crowd. Having said that, when it is big - the majority of surfers sit back and watch as a handful of kamikazees, attempt to take on the wave.

Waves here crash into the headland and rebound back towards the beach forming large, wedge shaped waves which are extremely hollow and powerful.

Boards and bodies alike snap here and even though the bottom is sandy, the wave breaks like a reef and has some serious punch to it. This is not a spot for learners or canoeists once the waves get above four feet in height.

In recent years, it has become a firm favourite amongst bodyboarders who flock here for the almond shaped tubes which are about as close to Bali as you're going to get in Pembrokeshire!

The wedge is predominantly a left hander, so it's great if you surf on your backhand. There's an occasional right hander too but they are few and far between.

A surfer pulling into a little winter barrel at Broadhaven

A surfer getting barrelled at Broadhaven
Image by Image by Adie @ frames photography

To surf this spot at a decent size, you need to have a die hard attitude and a fast take off. The ride is short and intense and comprises of a fast drop followed by a barrel or punishing wipe-out.

The only other spot to compare it to for sheer intensity would be Porth Ceriad the Llyn Peninsula.

If you make the drop, there's normally a bit of wave face to play with at the very end but you'll often be travelling so fast, that you'll fly out onto the flat shoulder before you realise what's happened.

The other peaks situated towards the car park are much tamer, but not as hollow. It's a good place to start if you've not surfed here before and can provide a relatively safe entry point.

Duck diving can be very challenging here as waves can come at you from a variety of directions - even sideways and the water is shallow. If you're really unlucky you'll encounter two waves coming at you at once - from two different directions!

Respect the local surfers if you surf here and remember that it doesn't break very often so they'll usually claim wave priority on the main peak.

The surf tends to diminish rapidly as the tide drops back so make the most of it on the incoming tide while you can.

The speed and power of the wave make it particularly dangerous as there's no time to react if someone gets in your way so be mindful of other surfers around you.

Article written by Martin Aaron

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