Hayling Island, Hampshire
Brief intro: For some, especially those
who started windsurfing in the 80’s, Hayling Island
is possibly the UK’s
spiritual home of windsurfing. Some will remember the Hayling
Force 10 picture that got published in one of the first
magazines. Hayling offers a huge variety of sailing conditions
from flat water; perfect for learning in the summer, flat
(ish) blasting to nu-skool freestyle to decent waves.
Working in wind from E through W and offering many different
wind, tide and wave conditions makes Hayling one of the
most varied locations on the south coast.
Beach faces: S/SW
Best wind direction: SW to W
Best direction for waves: S though SW
kicks up a good swell and a few days of SW gales keeps
the swell up. If is then goes round to W/SW or W it can
give awesome conditions. E/SE on a mid to low tide can
give some surprisingly good stunt ramps on the sandbar
that are a fun size and not too challenging.
Not good: NW to N to NE, though it is
possible to sail in a NW if it is strong enough and the
tide is right.
Tide: Mid to low tide is good. Tide on
the push can give great waves on the bar. As the tide comes
up it can give OK waves on the inside.
What’s on the bottom: Sand. At
high tide there are a few metres of shingle.
Any hazards?: Groynes downwind of the
launch area have a magnetic effect at high tide. The shore
break on a big high tide can be pretty big as the shingle
beach shelves steeply. Only very competent sailors should
attempt to sail on super windy days with high tides. Though
if you are prepared for the tide to recede then it isn’t
too much of a problem. Pagham and Wittering work better
in these conditions and they are only half an hour away
Other water users: There are plenty
of kitersurfers mainly when the wind is lighter or the
sea is flatter. There is on the odd occasion a jet skier.
There are plenty of swimmers and tourists in the summer.
Suitability/levels: Beginners all the
way through to hard core wave heads sailing in the middle
of the winter.
Wipeout factor: Sailing a big day on
the sandbar can be intimidating as the bar is a long way
out. If you break something then it is a very long swim.
There are plenty of tides and currents so you should be
wearing a decent wetsuit and be confident at self-rescue.
Sailing the inside isn’t so bad just
be careful of the shore break launching and coming back
to the beach at high tide.
Instruction: West Beach Watersports,
beginner to advanced coaching Tel. 07905 283869
Kit Hire: Seasonal kit hire from Andy
Biggs Shop Tel. 02392 467755, email@example.com
Friendly factor: Hayling is a super friendly
beach with people always introducing themselves. There
is a good group of local sailors who are good fun to sail
No wind alternatives: There is a private
golf course behind the beach which you can pay a daily
green fee. Shopping at Chichester or even Southampton.
Surfable?: Maybe, but it’s a long,
long paddle out to the break on the sandbar. If there is
a wave on the inside sandbar it is surfable, but it is
small and probably best with a long board.
East Wittering gets the best waves (25mins drive to the
||Public toilets on site
Andy Biggs Windsurfing on the road
to the beach.
Tel. 02392 467755 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Watersports just off the main road onto the Island
in Northerny Marina.
Tel. 02392 467334
||Inn on the Beach at the beach!
A newsagent next to Andy Biggs (2min drive away).
||Loads of space for parking. It
is free from about October through to March. Then about £4
for the whole day. It is possible to get a season ticket
which definitely cuts the costs if you sail there all
||Inn on the Beach.
Accommodation: Campsite near by, you
pass it on the way to the beach
Local hotshots: Jan Sleigh is probably
the most local sailor who competes but the beach is frequented
by lots of really hot sailors regardless of whether they
compete or not (Clyde Waite, Stuart Holland, Billie Wheaton,
Jamie Hay, Jamie Hancock, Helen Cartwright, Paul Hunt,
Tom Buggy, to name a few)
Local knowledge/secrets: Mid to low
tide works best at this beach. S/SW gales push up a good
swell especially after a few days of wind. If is goes more
westerly in the same few days it can be epic. A SE or E
can push up some surprisingly clean but small waves on
the sandbar when everywhere else is flat.
Extra: Hayling is near other good beaches
so if it isn’t
quite right at Hayling you can always check out Pagham,
the Witterings, or Hill Head.
How to get there: From the North follow
the A3 down to the A27 and from East or West find your
way onto the A27. Hayling is at the turn off for Havant
and Hayling Island, which sits half way between Chichester
in the East and Portsmouth in the West. After you’ve
taken the turn off for Hayling Island from the A27, go
south following signs for Hayling. You’ll go over
a bridge onto the island. The first turn off to the left
after the bridge is to Northerney Marina and Shore Watersports.
Follow the main round south down the island until you come
to a small roundabout. Take a right turn and follow this
road to another roundabout with a fun park in front of
you. Go right here. Then follow this road (passing Andy
Biggs on your right) until you come to the Beachlands turnoff
to the left. Take this and you are at the beach. Go as
far right as you can along the beach and park in the car
park. Launch anywhere here.
Report by: Jan Sleigh
Jan is sponsored by: Naish Boards & Sails, O’Neill
Wetsuits, Reef, Lava eyewear, Hyperdestiny marketing, Senate
Partners management consulting, IBG ecommerce & web