Newquay Tsunami Waves

This is a true story I heard of Newquay tsunami waves. The date is unknown to me, but I heard the story in a small pub in about 1999/2000, when it was still fairly recent, so this is a story of the Newquay tsunami wave in about 1999.

A local early morning delivery driver would take a break in his route every morning, on Porth Beach. Porth Beach has a small slipway and a small on-beach car parking area. Each morning, he’d drive onto the beach, park up and get out his newspaper and flask. This morning was no different. The tide was out, nothing unusual going on. Then, from nowhere, a massive tidal surge swept in, lifted his delivery van out and then started pulling it back out into the sea.

This wasn’t a big wave, just enough to pull his van many feet down Porth Beach. He called the rescue services and the police turned up. Of course, they didn’t believe his story, they thought he must be mad, drunk, or on substances. Then, as they were talking to him, another wave did exactly the same thing. They police wouldn’t have believed it if they hadn’t seen it with their own eyes.

This wasn’t a huge tsunami and was probably a tidal surge caused by an underwater landslide between Cornwall and Ireland.

Tidal Surge at Porth, Newquay, 10 March 2008

On 10 March, 2008, there was a huge storm and tidal surge at Porth, Newquay. This tsunami-like wave was caused by a huge 36′ swell and a combination of a fierce storm, wind direction and tidal height. As 2008 was a time when many people had easy access to video cameras, this one was caught on several cameras and uploaded to Youtube.

The tidal surge brought the water level to about halfway up the side of The Mermaid pub, sweeping through the bar, with locals caught unawares and having to prevent the chairs and tables from being swept out to sea.

Youtube Video of the Mermaid Inn, Porth, Tidal Surge, 2008

Tsunami: Porth, Newquay, Storm Surge 2008
Below is the Youtube video. If you skip forward to 1 minute 40 seconds you’ll see the water breaking over the road – notice there are people in the bus shelter!

In the video, the Mermaid Inn is top right, with the neon strip light round the roof edge:

If the video isn’t showing up, here’s the direct Youtube link: (starting at 1 minute 35 seconds).

None of these events were actual tsnuamis, but they do show that tsunami-like events do happen in the area.

Tidal Wave in the Gannel, 28 December 1893

Newquay Old Cornwall Society have a tidal wave recorded in the Gannel estuary in December 1893.

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