Windsurfing on the Isle of Wight
Windsurfing off the Isle of Wight
The Island's coastline is ideally suited to windsurfing with a wide range of spots from shallow sheltered bays suitable for beginners, wide open seas for speed merchants and awesome swells for intermediate and expert windsurfers.
Isle of Wight Windsurfing Guide
Compton in a northerly with swell can be very good and is fine for learning although intermediates prefer Brook. Side shore SE or NNW.
Brook west of Brightstone, is great for windsurfing at most states of tide apart from low springs. During the summer months the coastal blasting provides action all the way down to Freshwater Bay, whilst in the winter the swells create a superb intermediate wave spot. With the bay curving in a horseshoe intermediates will find launching much easier from the western end on the beach where the shore break is very small and the wind angle usually more side shore. Side shore in NW/SE.
Brighstone on its day offers probably one of the best spots on the Island. It’s a steep walk down the cliff and space on the beach for rigging is at a premium. It’s also rocky at low water and best sailed at half tide plus. Best wind direction W/NW or SE.
Niton offers expert wave sailors some of the best conditions on the Island. Ground swells wrap in here for a fast clean ride. Get it on a SW backing to the W and it is excellent. The launch is tricky with just a small 5m wide channel and a strong tidal race that whips up extra swell. Best wind SW-W or E.
Ventnor, on the south side of the beach the ground swells wraps around the headland to produce some fun waves. It’s an expert wave sailing venue due to the small area to launch and heavy dumping waves. Best wind direction SW or ESE.
Lake is just west of Sandown and in the SW winds the slightly sheltered bay is great for learning. Best accessed via ‘Hope Beach’ at Shanklin or near Sandown Pier (then walk along).
Yaverland has a wide and sandy beach at low water, which is fine for learning. In the storms it offers some great wave sailing conditions. With the prevailing SW the wind is side shore and you can drift downwind quite safely as long as you head in before the white cliffs. At high water there's less beach (at spring tides virtually none) suiting only intermediate to expert windsurfers. The 4-mile open bay is ideal for fast coast runs on race boards. At the main beach in Sandown there's more beach to play with at high water but like Yaverland it gets very busy in the summer. Best wind directions SW-E.
Bembridge is popular amongst windsurfers as the calmer sea and gently sloping beach offers better conditions for beginners and intermediates. It is possible to stand up for a 100 yds or more at low/mid water making it very safe at all states of tide but be careful in offshore winds. Best wind directions W/NW-E (great for learning in SW at low tide).
Seaview offers superb beginner conditions. The gently shelving beach allows for waist deep water at half tide and sand bars and pools at low tide.
Puckpool much like Bembridge is very good for learning with a lagoon forming at low water.
At low tide, Ryde again offers long sandy beaches, plenty of room and shallow water. At high tide beware not to launch too close upwind of the pier as there are fairly strong currents particularly in a SE/E carrying you straight into the path of commercial boats. At this state of tide head east towards Seaview and Puckpool and launch from there. Best wind directions W/NW-E/SE.
Cowes, windsurfing from the seafront works well in SW and E but beware of strong Solent currents with rips right along the beach.
Gurnard provides a good Windsurfing blasting area but there is little room to launch. Be careful as the tides here are very strong but a good wind against tide spot. On its day, race board junkies will love blasting across to Calshot and back at Red Jet speeds.
Thorness Bay faces north and is ideal for learning to windsurf but watch out for the strong tide and currents further out.
Yarmouth and Colwell Bay is popular with mainly flat water suiting learners to intermediate levels. Beware of the very strong Solent currents further out. Yarmouth beach is also suitable for windsurfing but access is limited and the tide can be very strong.
Learn to windsurf
Tel. 01983 294941
- West Cowes, Isle of Wight PO31 7PQ
- UKSA website
Tel. 01983 866269
- 5 Rew Close, Ventnor, Isle of Wight PO38 1BH
- Wightwater website