Additional pics: Visit Dorset
Kimmeridge Bay, Jurassic Coast, Dorset
Open water, tidal venue comprising of different areas all with a reef rock seabed. Flat wter nd waves depending on conditions.
K-Bay, as it’s known, is a multi-headed beast of a SUP location depending what you’re after. With a decent swell running it’ll serve up spectacular wave conditions (not for the faint hearted). During flat periods the Jurassic Coast vistas you find in this part of the world are stunning. Adventure SUP along this stretch can be particularly rewarding.
Plenty! Rocks, reef and general hard protrusions that jut skyward from under the water will remove fins, ding boards and paddles and not be too kind on soft paddler skin either! If there’s surf then it may be difficult snagging rides, especially with a frothing local crew (mostly surfers) who’ll not tolerate disrespect in the line up. In fact, you may come up against localism regardless. And then there’re the doodle bugs that you can sometimes see flying overhead out towards The Bench on the right. The Bench sits just below an MOD firing range with stray ‘bomb’s finding their way into the drink. When it’s red flagged it’s no go! You’ve been warned…
Driving through sleepy Kimmeridge village you need to navigate a farmer’s gate controlled access point as K-Bay’s car parks sit on private land. You’ll be paying through the nose in high season whilst winter sees less pricey costs. You then have the option of two parking lots. On top of the cliff, directly above ‘the bay’, or down by the fisherman’s boats in front of ‘The Ledges’. The Ledges is the most popular surf spot offering slightly mellower waves compared to The Bench which is hardcore. The Bay meanwhile can be inconsistent but a better bet for SUP surfing because it’s quieter.
You walk your SUP out into deep enough water when launching in the bay before paddling off. There’s a finger of reef that stretches off the beach so be aware of this. If launching to ride The Ledges you can put in from the slipway and paddle round, watching out for ‘The Fridge’ which is a large lump of rock just under the water. Alternatively paddle straight from the beach through the white water. If it’s big then the slipway is a better option.
If you do fancy tackling the infamous Bench then paddling across from the bay is an option otherwise you’ll need to tip toe across the rocks round the cliff base.
With good surf in the mix Kimmeridge is a magnet for local surfers. The Ledges in particular will be crowded so be aware, respectful and know your SUP surfing onions. Quieter peaks can be found further east if you look.
The bay is usually much less hectic with more space whereas The Bench can have a few riders on it who are all experienced.
There’s not much onsite apart from an ice cream van in summer . A tea room can be found back in Kimmeridge village. Other than that it’s heading back into Poole or Bournemouth for ‘life’. Swanage can be a good shout as well which isn’t too far away.
On its day K-bay can really deliver the goods wave wise. Being a reef break the waves are predictable although can still section in places – especially the bay. The Ledges is longboard heaven that even during the biggest of swells can serve up long walling lefts. It can hold good size as well with beatings, should you get it wrong, being applicably doled out. There’s always a large crowd gathered when it’s breaking and some won’t be too happy to see a stand up paddle surfer in the line up.
If the swell’s particularly solid then the bay can be a mellower, super fun wave to ride. Swells can unload right across the bay and be vertically walled up. Waves tend to back off a little though making it better suited to SUP.
If you’re Billy Big Balls, and or experienced in heavy waves, The Bench is worth a look. Reminiscent of a slab style wave swell pulses in and unloads on the shallow reef providing some fast and hollow left handers. MOD firing makes it often out of bounds, however, much to the dismay of local surfers on some days.
Kimmeridge is often referred to as a secret spot – even though most south coast surfers know of its existence, with many having ridden there. Turning up on mass therefore won’t be tolerated. Best to be under the radar and do your thing (as much as possible) away from others. If it all gets too much at Kimmeridge go searching as you may well just ‘find’ in this area…
Sunny surfless days in contrast to the above offer idyllic SUP adventuring and touring options – either in an around K-Bay itself or along the Jurassic Coast. Keep going right and eventually you’ll arrive at Lulworth Cove and the iconic Durdle Door. Head left and you navigate to Bournemouth Bay. Watch out for sea mist/fog and the weather turning quickly – even when it’s forecast to be bright!