Caswell surf is a great option if you’re heading to the South Wales city of Swansea and don’t want to venture too far out into the Gower.
An introduction to Caswell surf
Caswell is one of the first bays on the Gower Peninsula that picks up those consistent autumn, winter and spring SW swells from the Atlantic. It’s one of the more accessible breaks in Swansea because there’s a carpark just behind and it’s usually pretty crumbly, not to mention about a foot or two smaller than whatever you get in Llangennith further to the west.
More recently, Caswell surf became known as the home of Surfability, one of the UK’s only surf CICs (community interest companies) that aims to help disabled people enjoy the thrill of the waves. They have a neat new building just behind the beach courtesy of the BBC makeover show DIY SOS.
Those who live here tend to look at Caswell as one of the worst breaks on the Swansea roster. It’s not that it’s bad, it’s just that it’s almost never amazing. The good news is that it’s easy to do a drive-by and check before pushing on to nearby Langland or heading further into the Gower.
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This guide is just one part of our complete guide to surfing in Wales
Caswell surf at a glance
- Good learner break
- The home of Surfability UK
- Car park on site (charged)
- Very prone to closeouts
- Gets busy
- Low tide here is rubbish
What’s in this guide to Caswell surf?
Where is Caswell?
Caswell Bay is where you find Caswell surf. It’s actually one of the first bays on the stunning Gower Peninsula, just one headland around from Swansea’s more advanced surf beach, Langland. You can drive here from the city centre of Swansea in about 10-15 minutes, taking the lovely Mumbles Road. Watch out because the return drive can be slow if there’s traffic, and there often is a whole load of traffic in the early morning and around 5pm.
A guide to Caswell surf spots
Caswell itself is an open beach break but there are two clear sides to the bay that work slightly differently. We’ve also included some of the other Gower waves on the beaches nearby, just so you know what the alternatives are.
Langland is the best surf beach in Swansea. It’s the stomping ground of the more seasoned surfers in the city because it holds good size and forms over a series of patches of rock reef in the middle of the bay. The most-surfed spot here is the middle reef, which is a left hander that ends up pretty shallow in the sand. There are a couple of other spots on offer though, each working on different tides.
Caswell main beach
The main breaks at Caswell are peaky beach waves that form right in front of the concrete steps and the cafe that lead down from the car park. It’s not the best quality stuff, but there are days when SW swells and northerly offshores can combine to give neat, chest-high sets that are rideable both left and right. Most of the time, though, it’s a windy mess, with froth and closeouts galore. In the summer, things quieten a little to make Caswell a cracking option for complete learners, which is why it’s the best spot for Surfability UK. Tides change the nature of the break a lot. Low can get sucky and dumpy while high tide is usually too close to the breakwaters to be excellent. Catch it at med-high and on the push for the best conditions.
The far western side of Caswell bay is actually cut off from the main entrance to the beach at high tide. It’s fronted by a big stack of 1960s apartments that look ugly but have some of the best views in the city. The waves at this end of the beach are very similar to the main break, but they do usually benefit from a little extra protection from dominant W winds, and they can hold a bit more shape and size. Just be wary of the river rip that runs through the middle of the beach if you’re looking to paddle over.
Llangennith is the piece de resistance of surfing in Wales outside of Pembrokeshire. A five-mile sweep of west-facing beach, it sucks up regular SW swells and works almost all the time, although it can lack quality in big winter storms and does love a close out. The south end of the beach is called Rhosili, and that’s generally a foot or so smaller than the north. You’re looking at about a 20-minute drive here down the North Gower Road from Caswell. Bear that in mind, because it can sometimes work when Caswell is flat, too.
We’ve got a complete guide to surfing in Llangennith right here
Where to stay when surfing in Caswell
Caswell is conveniently real close to the charming little Swansea suburb (although the locals insist on calling it a “village”) of Mumbles. That’s where you should stay if you want to surf here. Bring the car though, because it’s still a few minutes’ drive from there to Caswell itself.
Pass The Keys Fisherman’s Cottage
Pass The Keys Fisherman’s Cottage is a super-comfy pad that’s just 50 meters from Swansea Beach. It’s got plush sofas, a fireplace, lovely views, and a stylish interior design. Can sleep six at any one time.
Whiteshell Chalets are the only hotel option here that is within walking distance of Caswell surf. That means you’ll need to forgo the buzz of being in Mumbles but you can do without a car. They are basic but cozy cabins right by the beach.
The Chapel House Hostel
A great international hostel that shouldn’t break the bank, The Chapel House Hostel gets you into the beating heart of Mumbles. It’s affordable, has a friendly owner, and just a short drive over the headland from Caswell Bay.
Step-by-step guide to planning your Caswell surf trip right now
Step one: Book flights to the Caswell surf…Lately, we like Omio for searching flights. It’s a nice interface and has lots of airline options. We also use Skyscanner because that sometimes offers deals that even beat going direct to the carrier!
Step two: Book your surf camp Book Surf Camps is the numero uno online booking platform for fully-fledged surf-stay packages on the internet right now. Then there’s Booking.com. That has consistently unbeatable rates for hotels and a nifty map feature that lets you check EXACTLY how close your hotel is to a surf break.
Step three: Get insuranceThis is kinda’ important. Not just for surf trips but for any trips. SafetyWing is great for nomad travelers. They offer rolling contracts that cover amateur surfing.
Step four (optional): Rent a car If you’re surf camping then you might not need wheels. If you’re not then we’ll just say this: We’ve never been on a surf trip that wasn’t improved by having our own car. Use RentalCars – they’re the best.
Step five: Enjoy!
When to surf in Caswell
Caswell surf actually works all year round. Generally, spring and autumn have the top conditions, with big tides and regular SW swells flooding up the Celtic Sea from the Atlantic Ocean. Winter is bigger and has some good northerly offshores to help shape up the Caswell waves, but you will need to pack 5/3 wetties and gloves for that time of the calendar. Summer is popular on the beach and it gets busy, but there can be fantastic days with chest-to-head-high waves that work fantastically well for beginners.