West Wittering has long been known as a watersports mecca, with windsurfing since the 80s, so is it the same for wing foiling.
The Witterings are without doubt a gem of a beach side heaven for anyone into watersports and when wing foiling came along, it seemed that West Wittering would be on the list of Things To Do In West Wittering.
Our head coach, Ian Phillips of Surfs SUP Watersports has spent plenty of time down at West Wittering in the off season, when the winds blow and the waves grow, but he’s also enjoyed some flatter sessions out in the trench or off the banks.
“Over the years, the beach and water has changed as the banks and sand layup has changed, meaning the conditions change and you need to have a good understanding of this to get the best from this location.”
What is Wing Foiling?
Foiling for me is a light wind alternative to windsurfing, so if I can’t ride my wave boards, I have an option to get out a sail on a foil. It can be dynamic in the waves, or you can enjoy gliding over flat water, it’s your choice, but in the end you can do whatever makes you happy.
As a sport it is pretty reasonable in price as you can get away with just one wing and one foil, allowing you to get out in a wide range of conditions.
As the wind gets stronger and too much for winging, you can crack out the windsurf kit or if the wind is literally non-existant, jump on the paddle board.
West Wittering along to Bracklesham
When you spend some time down here, it becomes pretty clear that we have quite a unique weather system that rolls around us. The Isle of Wight plays a part in this, so whilst you see weather fronts rolling in from the Solent, the Isle of Wight can literally pick them up and thrown them over us, leaving us with good wind, warmer temps and clearer skies.
The prevailing south westerlies, come in clean and consistent, which leaves the whole coastline with great conditions for wing foiling, even in Chichester Harbour.
One thing that really stands out at West Wittering when considering Wing Foiling is the harbour, currents and sandbars. You have to be well aware of how the water moves around here as it is strong and fast, so not a place to get things wrong, hence why we head further into Chichester Harbour and use our safety boat, when teaching wing foiling lessons and wing surfing lessons.
Joining a friendly group of wing foilers
West Wittering itself is pretty expensive as a watersports venue, with members and car parking adding to your costs whereas the harbour and bracklesham are much lower costs, whilst having a big community of wing foilers.
“For my own wing foiling time, I head down to Bracklesham for some waves or into the harbour for flat water. That said, you get some nice mellow water when the winds are from the east, so Bracklsham can offer more relaxed water when the winds are right.”
After the session
West Wittering has got a cafe on the beach and other food place, but more so in the summer. In winter these will possibly be closed or limited.
Bracklesham has got Billys on the Beach cafe and Goat Cafe all year round.
Chichester Harbour has got a coffee shop and restaurant offering superb snacks, breakfasts etc.
We’ve got something to offer no matter what level of wing surfer, wing sup or wing foiler you are, so the Witterings coastline and harbour are well work a visit.
As a beginner we favour the harbour for our wing sup and wing foiling lessons as flat water makes life a lot easier, but as a you progress and need more challenges the open water will offer that much more for you to do.
Hopefully see you on the water soon.
Ian Phillips, Surfs SUP Watersports