I’ve become a bit obsessed with paddle boarding in Hampshire. In fact, right now having gone out paddle boarding around Hampshire for the last few days I actually have a long list of things I need to do, but here I am, writing about where to go paddle boarding in Hampshire instead.
Most of my Hampshire paddle boarding has been centred around Portsmouth, but thanks to the awesome paddle boarding in Hampshire group on Facebook, I’m inspired to try new places as soon as I can.
I’m still to do a sunrise paddle in Hampshire, but a sunset paddle on Southsea Beach is just dreams. I love the waves, I love the flat, and I’m excited to try a canal.
Paddle boarding has opened up Hampshire in such a wonderful way for me – I hope you feel the same after reading this post!
– Me and Emily love a paddle around Southsea
Before you paddle anywhere check the Windy app and the Met app, for conditions.
One of the best pieces of advice I was given was to paddle out a few metres from the banks / coast, and then just sit there and assess the situation and which way you drift. Along with your research, this will give you important advice on how to approach your paddle boarding session.
I’ve added some more safety tips at the end of this post – essential reading!
Where to go paddle boarding in Hampshire
In this post you’ll find the best SUP spots in Hampshire, with directions on where to park and how far you’ll have to walk with your board to the water.
– Paddle boarding down at Milton Lock
1. Paddle boarding at Southsea Beach, Portsmouth
I’m just back from a trip from the Coffee Cup – at the Eastney end of Southsea Beach – to the Canteen, in Old Portsmouth. A wonderful 6-mile-ish round trip along the beautiful Southsea Coast.
Just need to watch out for that hovercraft.
So far this has been my favourite place to go paddleboarding in Hampshire, as I live near here in Southsea, I can cycle with my board on my back to the Coffee Cup. Southsea Beach is just a wonderful backdrop for paddle boarding – I love going round the pier.
You can either just paddle around here, or go on a ‘quest’ like we did.
In low tide the sea is pretty shallow and perfect for beginners. You can even rent paddle boards from Island Feather at Southsea Beach Cafe to have a play if you like.
Watch out for the winds and currents here as you’re in a channel between the Isle of Wight and the mainland. I’ve paddled some waves here though – still great fun!
There’s paid parking all along Southsea seafront meaning you’d only have to walk the beach with your board, or you can park a bit further back on the free streets and carry it down.
2. Paddle boarding at Langstone Harbour, Portsmouth
If you’re looking for an easy paddle board location in Hampshire – one for the kids and nervous beginners – then I’d recommend the water round Milton Lock and Langstone Harbour.
You need to be hot on the tide times here so make sure you check your apps – otherwise you’ll have a horrible hike back through sucking mud. As you can see from the pic above, we just made it to Langstone Harbour pier before the mud took over.
Well, I did. Maybe not Em.
If you’re sure it’s safe to go then you can easily park up around the Thatched House pub (if there’s space!) and launch from there. It’s a lovely, safe spot to potter around on your board. Or, you can paddle out further up Langstone Harbour around the coast.
There were some dolphins spotted in Lansgtone Harbour not too long ago, so keep a look out!
3. Paddle boarding at Southsea Marina, Portsmouth
This was the very first place I went paddle boarding in Hampshire. My housemate, Emily, had a board and we decided to both get on it and paddle over to Hayling Island.
Now I know a bit more about paddle boarding I realise how stupid an idea this was – at the least the weight of two adults could’ve broken the board. Anyway, all that happened was that I lost my trousers which had been wrapped round my neck. Yeh, weird, but made sense at the time.
We made it to The Ferryboat Pub just fine, in the end.
You can see seals here sometimes.
Just an extra word of warning about the currents coming through here. I’ve since been back, with my own paddle board, and had a tough job coming back again with the winds coming in from the sea. So tough I was paddling and paddling, and not getting anywhere, and a fisherman just shouted ‘go on girl’ in encouragement at me.
I mean, I was fine, I was about two metres from the beach, but stay close to shore and be aware.
It is fun to paddle between Southsea and Hayling Island though, and saves you £5.50 on the return ferry trip too.
4. Paddle boarding at Fareham Creek
When we went paddle boarding at Fareham Creek I’m pretty sure we must’ve gone the wrong way.
In the car park (free and up two turnings from Wicor Marina) there were loads of paddle boarders getting all set up, but once we got to the water. Gone!
We paddled to the right, realised it was a bay, and so turned around in the direction of Portchester Castle. We didn’t quite make it there, thanks to the wind. But, we did have a lovely nose at the creek front houses and their fancy balconies and gardens.
Coming back was a bit of a challenge given the wind, but great exercise and definitely needed.
The beauty of going paddle boarding at Fareham Creek is that you have the Salt Cafe on the beach – serving up all kinds of yummy treats and great coffee. Here’s a little taster for you – YUM.
Fareham Creek to Portchester Castle is a thing, but definitely best tackled on a sunny and calm day. Beware of the tides as this can be a very muddy spot!
5. Paddle boarding at Hill Head, Fareham
Hill Head is definitely next on my paddle boarding in Hampshire agenda. Hill Head Beach is in Fareham, and is well known as one of the best wild swimming spots in Hampshire. It’s also on of the best paddle boarding spots, with calmer waters than others close by, stunning sunsets and a few options for parking.
You can park at Salterns, Old Street or Monk’s Head and walk down to the beach.
There’s a sailing club here, and you can sign up for SUP tasters there.
A sunset paddle board at Hill Head is a must.
Beers and BBQ after optional.
Where to hire paddle boards in Hampshire
Paddle boards can be pretty hard to come by in the middle of a paddble board craze in a pandemic. In fact, I’ve seen on Facebook groups that they might be all booked up. But worth a shot, right?
If you want to hire a paddle board in Hampshire, try these places:
– Stoked Watersports, Stokes Bay, Gosport / 1 hour = £15
– Island Feather at Southsea Beach Cafe, Southsea / 1 hour = £25
– The Paddle Club, Portchester, Fareham / I’ll find out
– Sandbar SUP, Hayling Island / Half day = £30
– Nomadic Kitesurf, Calshot / do courses, don’t think they do just hire
6. Paddle boarding on the Hamble River
The Hamble River is definitely a legendary spot for paddle boarding in Hampshire.
The Jolly Sailor Pub, overlooking the Hamble River, makes for a great stop off point along the way. And parking at YMCA Fairthorne Manor is easy, but you may be charged a launch fee rather than parking.
The Hamble is sheltered and shallow, and apparently makes for a great paddle. If you can make your way up the river to the Horse and Jockey, you’ll get a discount on meals there just for paddle boarding. Awesome!
As you can tell by this description, I haven’t actually been here yet but wanted to include it. Expect an update very soon.
7. Paddle boarding at Hayling Island
Hayling Island is a great place for stand up paddle boarding in Hampshire. I’ve already mentioned how you can get to it easily from Southsea, but how about paddle boarding around it?
You could park up near the Ship Inn at the top of the island (although parking is notoriously hectic here) and head eastwards, past Sandy Point, and down to Inn on the Beach and back up around. You really need to look at the tides here as you could make life very difficult for yourself if you’re paddling against the tide.
You also need it to be high tide.
Make sure you know whether to go anti clockwise or clockwise round the island based on the conditions.
If you want to go paddle boarding at Hayling Island, but don’t fancy going all the way round it, then there’s a lovely paddle out to the sand bar about a mile from the coast. You’ll need to go at low tide and you can paddle out in the shallow waters and then pull up your paddle board and enjoy the view from there.
Take a breakfast / lunch / dinner to really make the most of it.
There’s lots of parking on Hayling Island by the beach, but there are also a lot of people – especially at weekends. Parking at West Beach though (near Inn on the Beach) is free after 6pm.
8. Paddle boarding at Milford on Sea, New Forest
You can launch from just outside the Needles Eye Cafe at Milford on Sea and paddle out in the stunning waters there. Beautiful spot for it!
If you do want to paddle out round Hurst Castle and onto Mount Lake, then the New Forest Paddle Company has written a thorough guide here.
You need to be really careful of tide times because of the mud so read it carefully.
9. Paddle boarding at Hilsea, Portsmouth
If you park at Mountbatten swimming pool you can get it for free, and you’ll be in the best location for getting in the water at Hilsea Lines. You’ll need to go at high tide to get in but it’s a great spot for a paddle around the wrecks up there.
Look up and around and although I wouldn’t describe the city scenery as ‘beautiful’ it’s definitely something a bit different for your paddle!
This is a nice easy place for beginners, or if you just want a relaxing spot on the water.
More places to try paddle boarding in Hampshire
I wanted to list these places, but I haven’t been to any of them or know much about them. This blog post is a work in progress so I’ll let you know when I do!
10. Paddle boarding at Stokes Bay
Alverstoke Creek and Gosport Creek are pretty much the same thing but I see the names used interchangeably, and they’re in Stokes Bay.
I don’t have much info on the paddle boarding here, but as for parking, try the Gafirs Car Park.
As always, check tides and winds before you make your paddle boarding plan. Stokes Bay Watersports is here if you need any more info, or a paddle board!
11. Paddle boarding on the Basingstoke Canal
Another one on my Hampshire paddle boarding wishlist, but the Basingstoke Canal apparently makes for a great paddle. You can launch from Barley Mow Slipway Car Park and go either way from there. I’d head for Colt Hill. And if I was still feeling energetic enough, onto King Johns Castle and then back past the pubs, for a lemonade.
Just writing that there for myself for future reference.
You will need to buy a pass for the water for £3, which you can get beforehand here.
Pretty scenery and a different body of water to try, complete with pretty tree scenes and plenty of aquatic life – add that to the list!
12. Paddle boarding on the Beaulieu River, New Forest
Paddle boarding is one of the best things to do in the New Forest, as you can see from my list on that link, and the video. I’ve been in a canoe down the Beaulieu River but as yet, not paddle boarded.
Being the New Forest, it’s all privately owned and so you will need to pay a £10 fee to launch on the Beaulieu River, which covers your car parking too. I’m not too sure whether that’s per group or board, I’m hoping group!
You’ll need to book a time slot and don’t go two hours either side of low tide because of the steep launch in. Don’t worry, they won’t let you go if it’s not safe!
13. Paddle boarding in Calshot, New Forest
Calshot is in the corner of the New Forest and has a great spit you can launch off. There’s a beach, an activities centre, and a sailing club here so the area is well set up for watersports. It’s also beautiful. Would love to go paddle boarding here one day.
Safety advice for paddle boarding – please READ
[This is taken from someone else but I can’t find the source – let me know if you do!]
The sea can be an amazing place if treated with respect. It can wash away your stress and cleanse your inner soul. It can also be an unpredictable and dangerous place who’s mood can change rapidly if you don’t know the signs.
Not everyone has had the privilege to better understand the sea and the inherent risks it may present. Therefore the following is aimed at those less confident in an attempt to help you enjoy our great playground which the sea can represent.
Inflatable SUPs or Kayaks have substantially reduced in cost over the past few years and can now been seen as an impulse buy. However just because its’ now affordable doesn’t make it safe for you to take out to sea.
Remember these key points
• Always wear a leash (if you fall in/out on a windy day or in a strong current your inflatable will be out of reach in no time)
• Always wear a Personal Floatation Device (PFD) This will make it easier for you to stay afloat and be seen should you get in trouble. These ones that look like a bum bag are probably easiest.
• Can you swim? Sounds a daft question but can you swim in the sea? Swimming a 25m length of your local pool will equate to about 10m in the sea. If you fall in and lose your kit, can you confidently swim back to shore? If not then you are at a high risk of drowning.
• If I’m in water out of my depth and fall off my SUP/out my kayak can I get myself back on/in? Half the rescues performed are on people who are either unable to get back on their SUP or back into an inflatable kayak. The more you attempt this, the harder it becomes as the tiredness kicks in.
• Always inflate to the correct pressure. Soft SUPs are incredibly difficult to manoeuvre when they are under inflated and bent in the middle.
• If you are beginner then never venture out alone. Tell people where you are going and for how long. The sooner the rescue services can be alerted if you are in trouble or missing the better chance you will have.
What’s the tide doing?
Many visitors to the coast have no clue that the tide comes in and goes out twice a day. A large tide can create currents which will be hard to paddle against and may quickly take you out of your depth. Ask a local (or better still a lifeguard) for advice.
Offshore winds (winds blowing away from the land) will take you quickly out to sea making it difficult to return. It may appear to be flat water close-in as you may be in the wind shadow of buildings etc, however as soon as you venture further out then your confidence will certainly be tested (an orange flag flying on a lifeguarded beach means it’s offshore).
Strong onshore winds (winds blowing from the sea onto the land) will be unstable and can easily throw you off or out of your craft.
Swim Between The Flags
Always swim on a lifeguarded beach when you can. These are marked by red/yellow flags. Or if you have a board or kayak look for the black and white checkered flags which signify a safe (lifeguarded area).
If a red flag is flying then it’s dangerous conditions and only seasoned experts should be in the water.
Remember any inflatable always needs to be treated with caution when visiting the sea. That sparkly unicorn rubber ring or the blow-up sunglass-wearing dolphin has no place in the sea, please keep these for the pool.
If in doubt – don’t go out. Live to enjoy the sea another day.
Paddle boarding in Hampshire
Paddle boarding can be dangerous, especially on open waters, somewhere new. Make sure you’re safe and follow the advice above.
Have fun paddle boarding in Hampshire, and stay safe!