Flat Water SUP
There are many stunning places to flat water/distance paddle in the area. The wind direction will most of the time determine where to go for a paddle so here are a few tips on the best places depending on the wind direction and strength. We are basing the wind strength on a moderate speed, any strong winds and we suggest you reschedule your paddle. We are not trying to teach people to suck eggs here, just some advise for anyone not sure about how the wind can affect your paddle. Remember – “if in doubt, don’t paddle out”
Onshore (SW, S or SE) – Poole bay will be choppy and not ideal so head for Christchurch river, Studland (in front of the Bankes Arms) or maybe Poole harbour depending on the wind speed.
Offshore (NW, N or NE) – Anywhere in Poole Bay (Sandbanks to Hengistbury head) will be relatively smooth, and the more you stick to the beach front, the more shelter you will have. Be midful that the wind will try to push you out to sea so stick to the shore line. If the offshore wind is strong then look at a different location. Take into consideration the wind fetch e.g. you could be sitting on Branksome beach and feel no wind close to the shore due to the sheltering cliffs but the further you paddle out the less sheltered you will get which and more impact you’ll have on the wind. Also, if you paddle out with a light breeze on your back, you may not even feel the wind, you’ll be having a wonderful time paddling but when you turn to come back, you';; really notice that wind and will probably be tired which could make your return journey hard work
X-shore (W or E) – not much shelter from this wind but this is a good opportunity to try a downwind paddle. Taking Poole Bay for example, on a W wind, start at Sandbanks and head towards Hengisbury Head and opposite on an E wind. Always wear a leash, check the tides and do not paddle alone. Downwind paddling has a greater risk element so please ensure you have the relevant experience and knowledge
Poole Bay is basically anywhere along Bournemouth and Poole seafront which stretches from Sandbanks to Hengistbury Head. You can launch in various places along the seafront and head east or west along the coastline. make sure you take note of the wind direction before and during your paddle. If you head towards Hengistbury Head, take care on end of the Head as the water can be very turbulent. Tidal movement is small and won’t really affect you paddle in anyway. Beware of offshore wind and wind fetch. Due to the clifftop, the waters edge can look very calm but the wind fetch will shelter you. If you go past the windfetch line, a moderate offshore wind (northerly) can push you out to sea, just make sure you can paddle back safely.
Knoll Beach to Old Harry Rocks
Get the ferry from Sandbanks to Studland and Knoll is the first beach carpark you will get to (about 2 miles after you get off the ferry). Launch from the beach and head over to Old Harry Rocks. The water is shallow at Old Harry so carry your boards over the rocks and paddle on the ocean side – you will see Swanage in the distance. There are caves and coves to go through, it’s a fantastic paddle, scenary is incredible. We would only recommend this paddle in flat calm seas with no wind and swell. If your unsure about the conditions don’t bother.
Christchurch to Mudeford
Start at the Captains Club in Christchurch and paddle down river towards Mudeford. Very peaceful and calm area. The return distance is just under 3.5 miles. At Mudeford, there is a pub which is nice for a beer/water half way through your paddle. Also, on Hengiusbury head there is a café which does a great burger!
Things to be aware of are any buoys which are marked as ‘Conservation Area’ these areas must be avoided at all times. other things would again be tide conditions. The tide can be paddled against on the river but it’s hard work – going with the tide is a great fun! The section of river towards Mudeford is exposed to the wind.
Poole Harbour / Brownsea Island
Paddling around Brownsea Island is spectacular as the scenery is just superb. If you get this paddle on a nice day, it’s just glorious. There are various places to start from but most go from Sandbanks main beach carpark and head through the boats and over the channel and down either side of the island.
There are things to be aware of with this paddle:
Check the tides before you go. The best place for tide times is Pottery Pier and Poole Harbour Entrance. What you need to avoid is the tidal rush which goes through the channel – the bigger the difference between the tides heights and the smaller the difference in the times between the high and low, the bigger the flow will be. You want to make sure there is as little amount of water moving as possible.
Take care when crossing the channel as this can be a hazourdous area. In the summer on a sunny day, the channel will be busy with boat traffic. Take great caution when crossing and do not assume that boats have seen you and always ensure you leave plenty of room betwen yourself and approaching boats. NEVER take chances when crossing and ALWAYS wear a leash! The channel can get bumpy and if the tide is moving, you could come off and you board be gone before you can even think about getting back on which is why you should always wear a leash.
The distance from Sandbanks is 4.5 miles. If you have never paddled the island before, we suggest you find someone who has and hook up with them.
Always check the wind before and during your paddle. If you intend to go round the island, check what the wind strength and speed is doing.
Please Note – The club does not condone anyone going through Poole Harbour entrance (where the chain ferry is) on a SUP. This is not safe and club members should not paddle through here.
This is a great paddle if the bay is blown out. There are various places to start such as Iford Bridge, Captains Club (Mayers Mead carpark) or as far a Mudeford quay. Check the tides before you go to determine which is the best way to paddle, generally is more pleasurable to to start against tide and come back with tide. The tidal movement is manageable and you should able to paddle against it no problem.
Starting from Captain Club you can paddle up river and the further you’ll be able to go is the weir at Christchurch Golf Club. About 100 meters before the weir there is a green bridge which has a sign stating that you can’t go further than the weir.
Launch from Mayers Mead car park and head towards Christchurch Priory. Keep left and you’ll go past the boatyards and head into Christchurch and you’ll go under the bridge at Bridge Street. You’ll then head towards an area where you can go left up the Avon or continue (keep to the right) and you’ll come back under the bridge and head back towards Two Rivers Meet. This is a nice loop paddle with great scenery. Be careful paddling this route on low tides or when there has been big rainfall as there can be a flow which is hard work
If you are unsure about any of this advise, please get in touch and we’ll help you out. We want people to be safe and have a happy enjoyable time on the water.
A few ALWAYS DO’s:
– Wear a leash
– Check the weather
– Tell someone where your paddling route or time you intend on being out
– Understand your paddling environment
– Always have a way of being able to self rescue, don’t relay on anyone else
– Know your limits and respect them