Chichester Canal is a watery stretch of paddling tranquillity that flows from the heart of this ancient market town. A place to escape the south coast chop during blowy weather, Chi Canal is the perfect spot for those wanting gentile flat water SUP fun, a race training venue, plentiful fishing grounds or just somewhere different to sweep.
This location is extremely sheltered and as such boasts totally flat water. In an area not known for its inland SUP venues, Chi Canal offers respite from the sometimes relentless chop of the open sea – just a few miles away.
Pioneered on SUPs by Bill Dawes and Simon Bornhoft, the canal is a natural habitat for wildlife of which there is much to observe – nature lovers will love it. With zero tidal flow to worry about and very few hazards, other than fishermen, Chichester Canal is a great flat water SUP location – perfect for all round paddlers, racers or tourers.
The easiest launch is after parking up next to Chichester Canal basin, walking a few short steps to one of the pontoons and putting in straight off the side. There’s a relatively high drop so beginners and intermediates will need to watch not taking a dunking.
Amenities as such are lacking – unless you pay to become members of the local canoe club, in which case you can access their club house.
A pub sits overlooking the water and is a great place for après paddling refreshments while the bars, restaurants and pubs of central Chichester are only a short walk away.
Hazards are few and far between on Chichester Canal. You’ll need to watch out for fisher types as you paddle along this stretch but most are inquisitive and happy to reel in and have a chat with you. The canal basin gets busy with strollers, dog walkers and families. Be courteous as you navigate to the put in with your gear. Canal water in winter can freeze as it gets a lot colder than the open sea.
Chichester Canal is a great flat water SUP venue that’s ideal for all levels of paddler. Sheltered from the weather, it’s the perfect place to escape for SUP missions during storms or on sunny warm days. For adventurous types it’s possible to sweep the entire length of the canal to open sea. You’ll have to navigate a few tight squeezes and at points get off the water and cross a couple of busy roads, however, this is a fun route for those with time on their hands.