Surfers, kayakers, paddle-boarders, canoeists and more are set to benefit from a new £1.5m Watersports Centre which has been officially opened at Rest Bay in Porthcawl.
Designed to appeal to watersport enthusiasts throughout South Wales and beyond, the new two-storey centre has been constructed to provide a purpose-built base for local groups and clubs as well as enhanced facilities for visitors to Rest Bay.
Featuring external showers, public toilets, accessible beach wheelchairs, all-weather cycle storage and tourism information, the Watersports Centre will act as a base for the local branch of the Welsh Coast Surf Club.
The award-winning Porthcawl Surf School will occupy the ground floor of the building where they will have access to secure equipment lockers, changing cubicles and showers as they offer year-round surfing and paddle board lessons, surf hire, lifeguard and surf instructor training and more.
Rest Bay Bike Hire will make bicycles ranging from ‘fat bikes’ to California-style cruisers available to encourage visitors to explore and take advantage of Porthcawl’s cycle network, coastal path links, beaches and coves.
The centre will also host a Beach Academy which will specialise in providing environmental education, outdoor learning and ocean literacy activities as well as forming a base for beach cleaning events.
On the first floor of the Watersports Centre, Rest Bay Cafe Bar Ltd, which is part of the Booth Group, are in the process of signing a lease to provide a café / bistro and a ground floor kiosk offering ice cream and other refreshments.
A new pedestrian crossing has been installed to create a safer link between the centre and Rest Bay’s famous Blue Flag-winning beach, and the project has also included the refurbishment of the town’s historic harbour kiosk to provide improved facilities for boat users visiting Porthcawl Marina.
The £1.5m EU funding for the new Watersports Centre has been made available as part of Welsh Government’s Tourism Attractor Destination programme, which has been launched by Visit Wales to create 13 must-see visitor destinations.
Opening the centre, Lord Elis-Thomas, Deputy Minister for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said:
“I’m delighted to open this excellent new facility for the area.
“Our aim through the Tourism Attractor Destination programme is to focus efforts and investment on key projects in each region so we have a real impact on Wales’ profile in this globally competitive market.
“In order to be a leading coastal destination, we need to ensure that we have exemplary facilities and services for residents and visitors, and I’m sure that this this development will give people compelling reasons to visit the area and will benefit both visitors and locals.”
Cllr Charles Smith, Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Education, said:
“This fantastic new centre is going to provide Porthcawl with another iconic landmark, and is certain to be a hit with visitors who will be able to take advantage of its many facilities while enjoying the stunning views and dramatic coastline of Rest Bay.
“The council and its partners remain committed towards delivering effective and high-quality regeneration in Porthcawl, and the new Watersports Centre is going to play an important role in supporting this.”
The Leader, Cllr Huw David added:
“Rest Bay has long held a reputation as a superb destination for tourists and watersport enthusiasts, and the new centre is going to provide an even better visitor experience.
“I am grateful to Welsh Government and Visit Wales for this investment of EU funding. It is another sign of confidence in Porthcawl as a visitor destination, and I would like to congratulate everyone who has helped to deliver the new Rest Bay Watersports Centre.”
- Look out for more details about when the Watersports Centre and its facilities will become fully open to the public.