July 11, 2022
If you are looking for sporty things to do, St Ives has lots on offer! From surfing to snooker, horse riding to half-pipes. There is loads of sporty things to do down here!
Don't be put off by the cool young things surfing the waves in Cornwall (unless you are one of those people!). Surfing is accessible and do-able for most ages and fitness levels. You do need to be able to swim, but providing you have enough puff to get a wetsuit on, you should be good to surf!
The best beach in St Ives for surfing is Porthmeor Beach. At certain times of the year other beaches are good for surfing (Bamaluz can be a great place in the Winter). But in general the other beaches in St Ives are just not wavy enough.
The St Ives Surf School is on Porthmeor Beach and is a great place to go to for lessons and to hire equipment. At most times of the year you will see a group of people in yellow rash vests heading out with their yellow and blue boards for a lesson. These lessons do get booked out in the Summer holidays, so if you are coming down I'd suggest booking up online beforehand.
Further round the bay, Gwithian Beach Global Boarders is another good place to go for lessons and equipment hire. They surf from Gwithian Beach, right round St Ives Bay looking out towards Godrevy Lighthouse.
SUP stands for Stand Up Paddleboarding. You will have seen people scooting around the sea on their big boards with a paddle. If you are good at it you rarely fall in. I'm not so good at it so I always wear a wetsuit as an unexpected dunking in the sea is COLD!
The best places to SUP in St Ives are in the harbour, or on Porthminster Beach. Carbis Bay is also an excellent place to SUP and you can even hire their giant SUPs from Ocean Sports to take the whole family!
Further afield, Mounts Bay is a great place for SUP. If you have your own it is easy to park and launch from places like Longrock, or Folly Field at Marazion. There are also places to hire there too such as Ocean High and The Hoxton Special.
Body Boarding is possibly the most fun anyone can have in the sea. You are basically going out for a swim with a really big float! Swim out and ride the waves in.
Lots of people buy cheap body boards just for their holidays. These sadly just get used for a week or two and end up in landfill. You can get free wooden body board hire in St Ives from the Freedom Shop Little Goat Gruff on the High Street.
The best beaches to body board on in St Ives are Porthmeor and Porthgwidden. Stay between the Red and Yellow flags on Porthmeor Beach - you are not surfing!
For those who love fishing, St Ives is a great place to come. You can fish from the harbour or rocks, you can take a boat trip out to catch mackerel or even tuna.
St Ives has a lovely sailing club which you don't need to be a member of to sail with. They often race on Wednesday evenings and Sunday afternoons - but this can vary.
St Ives Jumbo Luggers are the boats with a square red sail you might often see out in the bay. You can join the club and sail with them for £30 a year - no previous experience is required.
Kayaking is one of my favourite things to do out on the water. It is the best way to explore the beaches and coves around St Ives. You can launch your kayak from any beach or the harbour, and you can hire kayaks from the harbour or Porthminster Beach. St Ives Surf School do guided kayak tours from Porthminster Beach which are brilliant to do (I did this a few years back and it was super enjoyable!).
Mounts Bay is another great place for kayaking and there are several places there to hire kayaks such as Ocean High and The Hoxton Special.
Controversially, there is now a place to hire jet skis in St Ives. Many people don't like this as it does interfere with the wildlife. But if jet skiing is your thing then you can hire them in St Ives Harbour.
If you are looking for something with a bit of high adreneline, go on a hair raising rib ride around the bay. Blue Thunder gives you an exhilarating 25 min ride around the St Ives Bay and coastline as do St Ives Boat Rides.
You can hire a motorboat in St Ives harbour and chug around the bay. The boats take up to 6 people (5 adults) and you can take your dog on too. You will get instructions on how to operate and where to go, so you don't need previous boating experience.
St Ives sits right on the South West Coast Path which is one of the most stunning walks you can do. You can walk to Zennor, or go the opposite way and follow the path to Carbis Bay, Lelant and Hayle Estuary. You can also cut inland along the St Michael's Way to Marazion and St Michael's Mount.
There are lots of shorter walks around the hills of St Ives. We love going up the Trencrom Hill, Rosewall Hill, and walking through St Ives Orchard and going to the top of Penbeagle Hill. The views from all of these hills are sensational. From some of them you can see both St Ives Bay and St Michael's Mount (on a clear day!).
St Ives has it's own tennis courts! They are located just above Porthminster Beach, and they have two artificial clay all-weather courts which are used throughout the year.
Visitors are welcome on a pay-and-play basis from Monday to Friday - weekends are reserved for members.
There are several places to play golf in St Ives. Tregenna Castle has an 18 hole golf course, and further round in Lelant there is the West Cornwall golf course and up the coast there is the Tehidy Park Golf course.
If you are looking for something a little more low key, you can play pitch and putt at Porthmeor Beach (the green along Beach Road), or behind Porthminster Beach in the gardens there.
Further afield, there is a pitch and putt course at St Erth called Penwith Pitch and Putt.
There are a number of lovely horse riding stables around St Ives. Here you can book a lesson, join an own your own pony day, or go on a hack. We often take our children to the Old Mill Riding Stables in Lelant Downs. They have an indoor arena, an outdoor jump area and take the horses into the woods.
St Ives has a brand new and very excellent skate park. It is behind the Palemon Best Rec at the top of Penbeagle Hill, near the St Ives Community Orchard.
If you are on the roads around St Ives you will see plenty of cyclists. However, there are LOTS of hills around here, and so if you think being on a normal bike may completely exhaust you, you can hire an e-Bike. There is an e-Bike hire shop in St Ives, at the top of Porthmeor Hill. They give you lots of recommended routes to take, including the 10 mile Zennor Zoom, and the 25 mile Moorland Meaner. They also offer guided tours.
You must have seen the 2 beautifully sleek, bright blue rowing boats in the harbour. These are the St Ives Pilot Gig rowing boats. They usually can be seen practising in the harbour on Tuesday evenings and Sunday mornings in the Summer months.
They are always looking for new members, so if you live in the area get in touch with them!
The pilot gigs were one of the first shore based lifeboats which used to row out to vessels in trouble. These days they are used primarily for sport, and compete in races throughout Cornwall and The Isles Of Scilly.
Swimming in the sea in St Ives can be a lovely experience. Do make sure you do it safely though. During the Summer months, swimming on a lifeguarded beach is a really good idea (Porthmeor and Porthminster), or swimming off Porthgwidden Beach when it has the buoys out makes a safe place to swim. If you are not sure, there is a local sea swimming group called St Ives Swimmers which usually swims from Porthminster Beach on a Monday morning.
St Ives also has quite a few swimming pools. The leisure centre at the top of town has a big pool and a learners pool, plus several of the big hotels and spas have swimming pools you can use (£). Hayle and Penzance both have lidos too which are lovely to swim in.
Love it or hate it, kids (both big and small) will tombstone off the pier in St Ives. They have been doing it since forever, and the more sensible people have always frowned upon it.
Tombstoning is basically jumping off the end of the pier into the sea. Do it only at high tide and always avoid the boats and fishing gear.
The St Ives Rugby Club sits at the top of town on Alexandra Road. It is a Cornish rugby union club and is home of The Hakes. They have a senior men's side, as well as thriving junior teams.
The fixtures are displayed on a board at the roundhouse junction coming into St Ives, and all are welcome to come and watch the games.
There are several places to play pool and snooker in St Ives.
The Harbour Pool & Billiards club is on Wharf Road and has a good selection of full sized snooker and pool tables to play on. They also have darts and other games, plus sky sports. You can buy temporary membership for £5 a week, or yearly membership for £25 a year. I don't think under 18's are allowed in on the temporary membership, but I think they are for the yearly one - you would have to check!
The Queens Hotel on the High St, The Golden Lion and The Three Ferrets all have pool tables.
If watching people play sport is more your thing, some of the pubs in St Ives often screen the big matches. The ones to try are: The Castle Inn, The Golden Lion, The Royal British Legion, The Three Ferrets and The Lifeboat Inn. The Harbour Pool & Billiards club also show lots of the games. The St Ives Rugby Club also often shows games in their bar.
If you love St Ives you will love playing our game!
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