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McConks’ stand up paddle boarding bitesize travel guides: West Wittering, West Sussex.

Location:

West Wittering, West Sussex

Spot type:

Gently shelving sandy beach with various inshore and offshore sand bars that create lagoons and breaking waves at various states of tide. West Wittering also sits right on the entrance of Chichester Harbour, the further west you venture the more tidal current you’re likely to encounter.

Conditions:

Conditions, as with many other UK locations, are 100% weather dependant. With WW also being a coastal location it’s a venue that’ll change its ‘spots’ depending on the state of tide. When there’s a decent swell pulsing up the English Channel West Wittering can serve up some fun SUP surfing conditions (it can get quite big!). Higher waters tend to be best for waves as swell hits the shifting sand banks that meld and mould with tidal ebbs and flows. As seas recede you can still score surfing conditions but the walk to launch is that much longer. Lagoons also start to form with less water, one in particular called The Trench, which sees plenty of flat water windsurf and kitesurf action in a blow.

Hazards:

Tide/current can be an issue – especially with swell in the mix. As waves roll in and break the dispersed energy tends to run back out sea east to west causing paddlers to be dragged towards Chichester Harbour’s entrance. Sand bars formed offshore can cause undulations in bathymetry. It’s not unusual to find yourself facing ankle deep water as the seabed rises up sharply, even 300m offshore. There a few sea defence revetments inshore that can become submerged and appear again with tidal movements to be noted. Other water users can be problematic during busier periods.

Access:

Getting to the put in is easy, if expensive. West Wittering beach sits on private beach land which is church owned. The owners charge steep fees for parking vehicles. There’s also a watersports club onsite who regulate certain h2o activities due to it being a members paid club and honourary custodians of the land.

Popularity (1-10):

10 (especially in summer) falling to around 2-3 in colder months.

Amenities:

A café can be found to the west of the car park next to 2XS, the aforementioned watersports club, school, hire centre and shop. Here you can get a bite to eat and something to drink. Be prep’d for ques in summer! At 2XS you can rent SUPs and get BSUPA accredited lessons. In fact, 2XS is the HQ for BSUPA with Simon Bassett heading up both. The set up has public toilet facilities. Warm showers can be accessed for those willing to hand over some cash.

Overview:

West Wittering is unique along this stretch of English Channel, south coast, real estate in that it’s a bona fide sandy beach, at all tidal states, that can be reminiscent of South Western (such as Conrwall/Devon) locations with surf in the mix. Afloat and WW can also boast some decent waves – especially during winter. Due to its lack of shorebreak it can also be the go to high water spot. If there’s a small groundy, not really showing at other beaches, head here and with long enough periodicity you may find a ridable wave. This is particularly the case during off season months. At other times it can be good to start your SUP touring journey, either heading round into Chi Harbour or further in the opposite direction towards East Wittering and Bracklesham. Keep going and ultimately you’ll reach Selsey Bill. Due to West Witts’ exposed nature it’s often affected by wind, even mild blows. Summer can see regular middle of day sea breezes so often, if you want calmer conditions, early mornings are the go. There’s a large SUP scene built up around the 2XS establishment and West Wittering so through high season you’ll most likely never be alone.