Another highly enjoyable paddle across the bay at the weekend. Only small bumps but they still offered plenty of glide. Wind was about 15mph WSW. I used the 16’6 Richmond, Shaun Taylor is on a 17ft Naish Glide, Den on his Predator Custom 17ft, Pete on a 12’6 Fanatic Fly, Andy on a Starboard 12’6 BOP and Marco Starboard 14ft Coast Runner. Great fun - simple as that :)
Some info on this route….
These conditions would have been great for anyone new to the sport, nothing too crazy just good fun. Sandbanks is a great starting point because no matter how hard the wind is blowing, the entry into the water is very smooth due to the shelter from the Isle of Purbeck. As you start to head east towards Hengistbury Head, the bumps build all the time. This allows you to gradually get used to this style of paddling and the closer to the shore you stay, the calmer it is but still great fun and plenty of bumps. Good wind conditions are W, WSW, and SW (W probably being the best). You can also go in WNW but make sure there is not too much north is the wind as you may end up on the isle of Wight. The time needed to do this paddle which includes car drop logistics is approx 4 hours (with about 1-1.5 hours paddling depending on ability). The later in the day you do it, the longer it will take as there will be more traffic and parking more difficult. Another excellent place to start (and probably the best if you have the time) is Studland bay. Use the Sandbanks ferry and drive to the National Trust car park by the Banks Arms. From there you will get a bang on SW direction to Boscombe pier. Also, if there is a lot of south in the wind, you can pick your direction and head to one of the Chines along Poole Bay. The down side to this start point is that if you’re doing this in the summer at the weekend, the queue to for ferry will be horrendous (approx 1 hour wait or more at each end) and add many hours on to the car drop and pick up times. The exit point at Hengistbury Head can be dangerous as the shore break is pretty bad if the swell is good, Boscombe pier is easier or you can head round Hengistbury head and land on Mudeford Spit.
Get out there and enjoy it, stay safe and have fun!