Harlyn Bay, on the north coast of Cornwall is one of my ‘go to’ places on the planet for rest, waves and recuperation. I love the Harlyn Bay experience.
There’s something special about Harlyn and its position, sheltered from the prevailing westerly winds. When the north coast is being ravaged by storms, Harlyn produces clean, smooth surf and sometimes, around mid tide, will give you short, hollow rides that are up there with the top beach breaks around the world.
Harlyn may not ever produce the biggest waves or the crowds, but that’s the point. It’s a little gem with white sand, clear water and enough room to choose between the line-up, or at the far end of the beach, your own, meditative space.
The place has a very different feel to many of the hyped surfing spots like Polzeath, Fistral and the beaches around Bude. Harlyn knows what it is, what it wants to be and who it likes to encourage to enjoy it.
And it’s not just the surfers who love Harlyn. On one winter’s day a few years ago, I was sitting in a small line-up, quietly waiting for the next set. The others around me, nobody I knew, were doing the same. We wait, we stare at the horizon in a knowing kind of way, patiently anticipating some upcoming fun as we are joined by a choice of 6-7 waves, before the next lull sets in.