Paddle Round The Pier Brighton

This year’s Paddle Round The Pier Beach Festival plays host to some fantastic water-based events, all helping to raise thousands of pounds for three deserving charities.

The action kicks of for professional paddleboarders early on the Saturday morning with the Funky Puffin Euro Enduro SUP race. A gruelling 20 mile stand-up paddle to Worthing Pier and back – seeing competitors from across Europe and beyond.

Another race for watermen (and girls) is the Errant Surf Holidays Pier2Pier challenge. This sees both ‘amateurs’ and ‘pros’ paddle from the eastern side of the Brighton Pier across to the west side of the West Pier – a tough paddle of over 2 miles against the current.

Also a favourite with the crowds is the ‘Paddle Something Unusual’, where teams paddle ‘unusual’ rafts they have built around the West Pier and back. The past few years has seen a floating island, pirate ship, Dodgeball court and even Thunderbird 2!

And of course at 2pm on the Sunday it’s the event that started this all back in 1996 – the ‘Paddle Round The Pier’. Hundreds of people will take to the water on surfboards, bodyboards, paddle boards, canoes etc and paddle around the West Pier. Having collected sponsorship money each will make a massive difference to the amount raised for the charities.

Other water based events include: the Neilson Sailing Regatta, Inshore Rescue Boats, Outrigger Canoes, The British Ocean Ski Series, Wakeboarding displays and a Fishing Contest (held at Brighton Marina).

If you want to have a go at some sports yourself then you can head to the beach and try out the likes of wakeboarding, kayaking and Stand Up Paddleboarding.

Over 40,000 people are expected to attend this year’s event, which takes place on Saturday 3 and Sunday 4 July at Hove Lawns in Brighton and is completely free of charge to visit.

And organisers are hoping to raise over £30,000 for this year’s chosen charities from donations made by visitors. The charities are the Royal National Lifeboat Institute, SurfAid International and Whoopsadaisy.

As well as all of the water activities, there is a lot going on in the ‘Paddle Village’ on Hove Lawns and the promenade next to the beach. Hundreds of stalls, children’s entertainment area, main arena and big top with live bands, plus tons more fun.

More information at the website at : www.paddleroundthepier.com

Surfing Tips and Tricks

The UK has a varied coastline and, as a result, many excellent surfing locations. Although Newquay is world famous for its surfing beaches its popularity can mean that it gets crowded, particularly during the summer months. There are many great locations for beginners such as Watergate Bay in Cornwall where the surfer will find 2 miles of beach at low tide. Pease Bay is an upcoming surfing location in the Borders region in the south east of Scotland and offers the more experienced surfer a good beach break and challenging reef.

Llangennith in Gower, south Wales has beach breaks along its 3 mile stretch of beach and is one of the most popular Welsh surfing locations. When there is a good swell here it can get crowded but it is possible to find patches that are less heavily populated. Rips are quite common along this part of the coast. Saltburn in Cleveland in the north east of England is one of the first surfing beaches in the area. There are excellent beginner waves to be found close to the pier here.

Great beaches for intermediate level surfing include Bantham in south east Devon which boasts more swell and variety of peaks than anywhere else in the area. There are long rides to be had with a long board and rips are common. Sennen Cove in Cornwall has an exposed coastline, giving it good waves when other locations have none. Bournemouth is enjoying its new artificial reef break which has improved the quality of the waves immensely. Other beaches nearby include Branksome, Sandbanks and Canford Cliffs which are guaranteed to be less crowded.

Port Neigwl in Gwynedd is more commonly known as Hell`s Mouth and is the best location for surfing in north Wales. It has a 4 mile long bay with peaks along the whole stretch on a good swell. At the south eastern end of the bay, intermediate surfers can enjoy the best waves beneath the cliffs but it can get crowded during good swells.

Expert level surfing is available at Freshwater West in Pembrokeshire, a large beach with peaks along its entirety. There are powerful and large peaks as well as good breaks in the smaller bays to the south. There is also a heavy reef break within reach of the location. Another location for expert surfing is at Thurso East in Scotland. This is reputed to be one of the best surfing areas in Europe, with a right hand reef break on top of a flat rock shelf. With a big north swell it offers up waves that are larger than triple overhead.

Lessons and gear hire are available at most surfing locations and are essential for beginners. Safety is an important element of learning to surf and beginners are instructed in various techniques in order to stay safe. Surfing in the UK requires that the surfer wears a wetsuit for warmth. Surf boards are available in a variety of sizes including short and long boards, starter and beginner boards and boards for children. Fashion-wise, Volcom UK offers a good selection of gear for boarders.