west sussex

Check out this beginners guide to Paddleboarding in West Sussex

There are so many places in West Sussex that you can go paddleboarding, so read on to learn more about this amazing paddleboarding county in the UK.

What is west sussex like for paddleboarding?

So why is west sussex so good

West Sussex is the perfect place to learn stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), thanks to its stunning coastline and the many SUP-friendly spots.

There are many amazing local paddleboarding communities taking full advantage of these locations year-round and some great schools that can help with proper instruction. You can join them for a relaxing paddle along a canal, a river trip with a stop at a pub, or catch some waves with other surfers and sup surfers.

Since covid and the uptake of sup, more people than ever are on the water with their high quality inflatable boards, which has helped people to better enjoy their time on the water.

Paddleboarding has since a crazy growth as SUP is relatively easy to pick up, requiring minimal practice before you’re ready to venture out on your own. However, taking a stand up paddleboard lesson or two to get started is highly recommended teaching you to be safe and paddle more efficiently.

Let's start with a local SUP school

Throughout West Sussex, you will find many paddleboarding schools offering a range of lessons from total beginner to advanced paddlers on open water.

When people come to us for their first SUP lesson, we take you through an equipment check so you understand what the kit does, how it can affect the paddleboarding experience and what may be right for you.   We cover safety advice and awareness before hitting the water.   Once we’ve gone through everything on land, we’ll then hit the water at our local canal which gives guaranteed safe conditions that will make everyone feel comfortable.

A school should be providing decent, suitable kit  that makes your experience better and easier.  This should be everything from a suitable board and paddle, a PFD and wetsuit. 

Find the right class

If you’re just starting out, you need to look for an Introductory session, which may be as a group, private 1-2-1 or a small private group for you and a friend.

As you progress through your lesson, you should build confidence, but we’re always realistic and know that everyone has a different learning journey and natural ability. Some people choose to carry on with a few lessons, whilst others head off to get their own kit and find their own space or preferences.   Whichever route they take, they have had a good start point and an insight into some really important factors.

what sort of session should you go for

Most of these sessions are available as private or bespoke lessons, scheduled group classes, or private group experiences, complete with games and waterside pubs, making them ideal for families, groups of friends, and hen or stag parties. Some instructors even offer SUP yoga, or you could incorporate paddleboarding into a longer day or weekend of outdoor activities.

Whatever approach you choose, your paddleboarding instructor should tailor each lesson and location to suit your needs, the weather, and the tides. Think of your instructor as a direct line to the local paddleboarding community, and ask them about upcoming SUP events and the best places to go paddleboarding in West Sussex after your lesson.

paddle board lessons suitable for beginner to advanced

whatever the weather

West Sussex offers a diverse range of paddleboarding spots suitable for all skill levels and weather conditions. Its varied shoreline provides opportunities for calm paddling, adrenaline-fueled paddleboard surfing, and everything in between.

For beginners, the sheltered Chichester Ship Canal is an ideal location to get to grips with the sport. Experienced paddlers also frequent this spot for its reliable all-weather conditions and the chance to soak up the canal’s tranquil scenery and wildlife. The canal remains calm even when the sea is rough.

If you’re looking for surf sup paddleboarding, Bracklesham and East Wittering are great choices when there is some swell. West Wittering’s sandy beach, minimal shore break, and tidal pools make it a popular destination for first-timers, but it has some pretty dangerous and strong current, so would prefer Bracklesham.

Let's start with a SUP school in west sussex

Worthing has some lovely beaches, with several watersports centres that can provide qualified sessions.

Littlehampton also has a watersports centre and many optional spots where you can paddle, but DON’T go near the mouth of the Arun as the currents are lethal.

Littlehampton’s mile-long, gently shelving beach is another favourite, as are the beaches at busier Bognor Regis and Felpham. For a post-paddle treat, grab a beachfront table at Felpham’s Lobster Pot café for a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.

Enjoying Rivers and Estuaries

River paddling in West Sussex opens up another wonderful world of SUP. Tidal rivers can make for a pleasant journey through the county’s beautiful countryside if you time it right. However, understanding tidal flow and currents is essential, so lower river paddles are generally recommended for more experienced paddlers. Many SUP schools offer river trips, often with stops at pubs along the way, helping you build confidence. Pub paddles and SUP tours are a unique way to explore the wildlife in the maze of waterways in Chichester Harbour AONB.

The lower River Arun boasts one of the strongest tides in the UK, with a paddle from Littlehampton inland to Arundel offering stunning views of Arundel Castle and the South Downs. The upper stretch from Arundel through the Arundel Wetland Centre to the Riverside Tea Rooms in Amberley is equally charming.

The River Adur also has prime paddleboarding spots, from its mouth at Shoreham to a beautiful and convenient stretch with seasonal SUP hire and a school next to a pop-up campsite.

wellbeing and work day out paddle board lessons in chichester
group paddle board lessons on chichester canal

100% Fun - see what people think

LlazyLlama • Sept 2023
Amy and Ian were fantastic! We were a group of family and friends of all ages (10+) who thoroughly enjoyed the paddle boarding experience. Some of the group were beginners,  – READ MORE OR ADD A TRIP ADVISOR REVIEW

Great friends and family paddle boarding experience in Chichester Canal!

Neerav Shah • 6 months ago

Amy and Ian were super and fun instructors making it even more enjoyable. Within a few mins even the beginners were pros and were off for a couple of hours of gliding on the Canal. Highly – READ MORE OR ADD A GOOGLE REVIEW

Some of the locations we love to paddle

Hunston Canal

Chichester Canal at Hunston Corner is the very best venue to run beginner paddleboarding lessons as it is perfectly flat protected from the wind.

Chichester Harbour

Chichester Harbour has so many great spots and we love it down here to teach our winging and windsurfing as well as running our sup tours.

Bracklesham Bay

Bracklesham Bay is a real hot spot for watersports. Windsurfing is big here for more advanced sailing, whilst wing foiling, kiting and paddle boarding.