cornwall sports

Cornwall sports

There is more to Cornwall UK’s No 1 staycation for family holidays with its amazing sea vistas and golden beaches together with celebrity inspired sea food, amazing myths, and legends to learn about and explore.

Let’s look deeper into the makeup that makes Cornwall so idyllic and this turn Cornish sports, its history and what extent they are still practised today


Cornish pirates are Cornwall’s County team

They are a professional rugby union team who play in the Championship, the second level of the English rugby union and are the premier Cornish rugby club. They were previously  known as Penzance & Newlyn RFU, the Cornish Pirates play and train at their home ground, the Mennaye Field in Penzance.


After rugby first appeared in Cornwall in the late 19th Century, Penzance RFC was formed in 1876 and Newlyn RFC around 1894-95


Currently playing as of 2021

The RFU Championship (known for sponsorship reasons as the Greene King IPA Championship since 2013–14) is the second tier of the English rugby union league system and was founded in September 1987

The Cornish pirates are focused on building relationships with business and local communities throughout Cornwall

cornish pirates

Cornish wrestling

Wrestling is worldwide but Cornwall has its own version


History and dates 

The earliest written evidence for wrestling in the West Country comes from a 1590 poem entitled Poly-Olbion by Michael Drayton, concerning the Battle of Agincourt in 1415. It states that the Cornish men who accompanied Henry V into battle held a banner of two Cornish wrestlers in a hitch

Here are some simple rules

  • Three referees (known as Sticklers) oversee the matches – which are scored on a points-based system
  • Each wrestler wears a loose jacket to fight in, all moves are made by grabbing the jacket
  • The aim is simple – floor your opponent on their back the flatter the better, the more points you get

Cornish wrestling rules and objectives

The wrestlers in the Cornish style both wear tough jackets enabling them to gain better grip on their opponent. All holds are taken upon the other wrestler’s jacket, grabbing of the wrists or fingers is forbidden as well as any holding below the waist. Although all holds are to be taken upon the jacket, the flat of the hand is allowed to be used to push or deflect an opponent

The objective of Cornish wrestling is to throw your opponent and make him land as flat as possible on his back. Three sticklers watch and control each bout whilst also recording down the score of points achieved in play. Four pins are located on the back of a wrestler, two at the back of each shoulder and two either side just above the buttocks. A wrestler scores points by throwing their opponent onto their back and the number of pins hitting the floor being the number of points scored. If a wrestler manages to throw his opponent flat onto his back, simultaneously scoring with three or four pins, this is called a “Back” and the bout is then finished, and the throwing wrestler is the winner

The sticklers will each raise their sticks when they perceive a Back has been achieved. If two sticklers raise their sticks but one does not, a back is still awarded. If a back is not awarded then the winner is the wrestler with the most cumulated points, across all scoring sticklers, within the time limit.


cornish wrestling



The game is similar to hockey but has its own rules and codes

Shinty is a team game played with sticks and a ball.

While comparisons are often made with field hockey the two games have several important differences. In shinty a player is allowed to play the ball in the air and is allowed to use both sides of the stick, called a caman, which is wooden and slanted on both sides. The stick may also be used to block and to tackle, although a player may not come down on an opponent’s stick, a practice called hacking. Players may also tackle using the body as long as it is shoulder-to-shoulder.

Teams consist of 12 players (men) or 10 players (women), including a goalkeeper. A match is played over two halves of 45 minutes. With the exception of the goalkeeper, no player is allowed to play the ball with his hands. There are also variants with smaller sides, with some adjustments in the field size and duration of play.


Cornwall sports partnership


This is one of 49 partnerships in the UK which has an aim to play sports and being physical part of everyday life

Through schools and the wider community


Water sports in Cornwall


There are tons of beautiful beaches in Cornwall for quiet leisurely water activities or full on for the adrenaline junky


Stand up paddle boarding

Take to the sea and feel like walking on water – this also can be enjoyed on rivers and lakes.

SUPing (stand up boarding) is open to all old and young. SUPing is ideal for exploring coastal caves.

SUPing is the fastest growing water sport in the world. Expect to get wet and fall off many times until you become a pro.

One place to try is Cornwall sports in Pentewan.

This is where you can do exciting things such as water skiing, banana rides wake boarding as well as sailing wind surfing and Suping

sup cornwall

Kayaking and canoeing

Ideal for one person or less strenuous in a 2-seater kayak

Try lessons in in the bay of port Gaverne ( port issac) as it is sheltered and great to learn the basics before venturing out further afield

Be sure to see the amazing wildlife on the north coast – caves and archways – Atlantic grey seals dolphins and basking sharks.

On the south coast kayak up Helford River and creeks where oak trees grow out of slate


Cornwall’s mild climate allows to kayak in all seasons

There is much to see from the water wildlife and Cornish mining history.



Cornwall is the UK’s surf capital and its easy to see why – with Newquay and the north coast bagging No 1 surf spots. There are many locations and surf schools for beginners and professionals alike as well as national and international competitions



Try your hand at this amazing sport – its great to skim across the water for the freedom and the physical challenge

The beach at Polkerris is ideal and is BSUPA(British stand up Paddle Association) ,RYA(Royal Yacht Association),AAL(Adventure Activities License) recognised training centre.


If you are an adrenaline junky this is the sport for you

This involves scrambling across rocks cliff jumping and swimming through caves.

It is rewarding and is lots of fun. Have a look at Cornish rock tors starting of small for beginners and progressing as you get braver.

It is an exhilarating experience swimming and jumping along other wise in accessible rocky coastlines

It is a boost for self confidence and to believe in yourself.


Body boarding

Body boarding is the sport to do if surfing doesn’t appeal

Ideal for beginners to build up confidence in shallower seas

Newquay water sports centre can provide all lessons rafting and jet skiing etc



Take the sea in your stride and discover what is beneath the waves. the sea can be quite clear and its easy to see little fishes and have the thrill of an unrushed adventure.


Famous Cornish Sportsmen and Sportswomen