With our mini guide SUP locations section rapidly growing we thought it’d only be right to add in Hayling Island – SUP Mag UK’s HQ. Read on to find out about putting in at this classic south coast location.
Hayling Island, located on the UK’s south coast, is home to SUP Mag UK. Being just a stone’s throw away from the water – in a 360* arc – it’s super easy to put in and find conditions that suit. Waves, flat water, downwind or recreational SUP is all catered for here and it’s this diversity with ease of surrounding beach access that makes it a good testing ground for many of the kit reviews you read in this magazine.
Hayling is not only a centre of excellence for SUP, it’s where windsurfing was first invented by Pete Chilvers back in 1958, has a thriving kitesurfing scene, is a haven for dinghy and yacht sailors and has a large body of sit on kayak paddlers. All in all it’s a great watersports location with plenty of on water action ready for the taking.
Such is the UK’s fluctuating weather pattern conditions you’re faced with can alter massively from season to season, day to day and even hour to hour on Hayling. Being heavily tidal – where once was a wave on the West Winner sand bar, West Beachlands (referred to as the SUPer Bank by our ed), suddenly there isn’t anything – it’s worth arming yourself with a tide table and knowing what the weather has in store for your day of paddling ahead.
During winter you’ll find plenty of swell that can be accompanied by strong winds. In this instance you’d be best cracking out the downwind stick or seek high tide shelter in either Langstone or Chichester Harbour depending on blow’s direction. Light NW – SW winds deliver clean surfing conditions on the SUPer Bank ( a rarity on the south coast). Bathymetry of the seabed changes regularly though so certain tidal states will be better than others and this changes through the years.
Summer usually brings calmer conditions with less wave activity, although be aware as sea breezes are common and not always predicted by forecasters correctly.
Hayling does experience super glassy calm sea states but these aren’t as regular as you’d imagine. There’s usually always a small amount of breeze blowing. As already mentioned the two harbours can provide shelter and ample flat water – again, just be wary of tides. We can’t over state this point! They can make or severely break your Hayling SUP session.
Most stand up paddlers launch from West Beachlands on the sea front. This is where you’ll have access to the SUPer Bank. However, there are plenty of other put ins around the island, depending on tides. Just be wary of access and don’t go wandering across private property.
There are abundant amenities on Hayling with toilets and ample parking at the sea front. You’ll also find numerous eateries, pubs, shops, accommodation options and everything else in between. Hayling has historically been a seaside holiday resort and as such has an infrastructure to cope.
Tides, tides and tides! Tides can make or break your session on Hayling. Get it wrong – especially around the mouths of the two harbours – and it could result in an RNLI call out. There’s also a recently uncovered 16th Century wreck resting on the SUPer Bank. This has been tagged by buoys to make it visible – avoid it!
Other water users are worth keeping an eye out for – windsurfers and kitesurfers especially during bouts of blowy weather.
Langstone and Chichester Harbour have heavy marine traffic which is worth not being in the way of and you may come across the odd mooring line or lobster/crab/mussel pot.
Hayling’s SUP scene really does offer something for everyone across a whole host of stand up disciplines. Never the same conditions twice, some days you’ll be starring forlornly out to sea, lamenting the lack of swell, while other sessions will deliver mirror flat, calm, sunny and blissful paddling periods. It’s never dull…