Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Wales
Split into three beaches Tenby is a bit of a SUP paradise (for those happy to mix and match what conditions they prefer) depending on which beach they launch from and the prevailing conditions on the day. Open water, tidal and changeable Tenby can be a wave haven for surf SUPers, a flat water recreational venue, downwind nirvana, adventure paddle spot or everything else in between.
Tenby itself is a buzzing seaside hub that attracts all manner of visitors from coastal admirers, families, hen and stag groups as well as discerning watersports participants.
The three main beaches in Tenby (Tenby North, Tenby South and Tenby Harbour) all offer distinct SUP conditions. Tenby North is an E facing put in featuring plenty of golden sand, shallow water with decent shelter from inbound Atlantic weather. During serious SW storms Tenby North can chuck up a reeling wave that breaks off the iconic lifeboat station at low tide. If the wave’s on then it’ll packed out with surfers all vying for their share of this rare breaking wave. For most of the time, however, Tenby North is a flat water spot that occasionally suffers from chop, mostly brought about by easterly winds.
Tenby Harbour is an extremely sheltered spot. It can be blowing dogs off chains out in the sea proper yet the harbour remains idyllically flat. There are plenty of boat moorings here and it should be noted this is a working harbour so fishing craft do come and go. That said it’s a great spot for learning to SUP. Those wanting to cover distance will be disappointed here as the harbour only offers a small playing field for SUP.
Tenby South is more exposed than its sibling beaches although still on the other side, so not quite open to the full brunt of Atlantic weather and water action it still has its day in terms of waves. The long stretch of fine golden sand is a flat water SUP haven during summer with Caldy Island just off in the distance. On of the holy islands of Britain Caldy is within reach of any skilled stand up paddle boarder who fancies checking it out. Just be aware of ever changing Mother Nature moods! Tides and rips can be an issue on Tenby South beach on some days so be aware and know your limits.
Rips, currents, other water users and some rocks at high tide can affect both Tenby North and South beaches. The harbour has boat traffic and during high season other water users won’t be far away. Day sails across to Caldy need to be given plenty of clearance as they cross Tenby South and watch out for whomping waves that can suddenly rear up and snap boards if a decent swell’s running!
Access to Tenby is super easy with main routes running into the town. In summer the main high street gets shut for pedestrians so you’ll need to park your vehicle elsewhere. There are car parks at Tenby North and South beaches, although these do get busy if the weather’s playing ball. You may have to walk your kit to Tenby Harbour if this is your preference.
10+ most of the time. Whilst winter does see a drop in footfall the regular influx of revellers looking for stag, hen and general seaside enjoyment does continue right through. Tenby is also a food and drink spot so gets its share of tourist traffic looking to quaff and nibble also.
With an extensive array of restaurants, bars, pubs, bistros, shops and tourists attractions Tenby has everything you could want/need during a visit. Accommodation options are abundant – from clifftop B&Bs to quaint self catering cottages set a few miles back from the town centre. A bunch of SUP hire setups and schools exist in and around the area with more to be found further afield. Interestingly, Tenby’s surf shops are also touted as stand up paddle boarding emporiums. SUP has really taken off around the town with paddlers flocking to Tenby for a float. This is good news if you need spares or replacements for your SUP kit.
A 13th-century castle walled town Tenby is a popular draw for all kinds of visitor. In the past it’s been noted as a raucous destination with many groups of celebration types using Tenby as a base for their partying. Whilst Tenby does still get its fair share of stag and hen groups it’s much more than that offering a really family friendly atmosphere and great choice of paddling spots for anyone of a paddling bent.
A choice of three mellow vibe beaches, with plenty more in the area, Tenby is a versatile SUP destination that’ll cater for most tastes depending on time of year and weather in effect. Surf SUPers may get lucky with waves whilst adventure touring paddlers can gorge themselves on all manner of route taking. The sweep across to Caldy Island is one not to be missed if you have the skill whilst downwind nuts have a long coastline for running bumps. The foiling crew is in attendance these days around Tenby with many a wing, SUP and surf foiler making good use of conditions bowled their way.
If you’re a beginner or improving intermediate stand up paddle boarder you’ll be well served with conditions and put ins presenting enticing floats. The harbour beach is great for sheltered first steps whilst Tenby North will deliver a step up for those looking to push on and improve. Tenby South also during calmer periods in summer.
To the east you have the attractive and popular Saundersfoot, Wiseman’s Bridge, Coppet Hall and Amroth beaches to explore with Pendine further round. Head out west and you’ll discover Manorbier, Freshwater West, New gale and Whitesand – among other more secluded spots.
All in Tenby offers paddlers a great choice of venue for wide and varied paddling. If you fancy a broad range of SUP then you’d do a lot worse than head here.
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