TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 2 1200x800 - South coast UK

South coast UK

United Kingdom

Aaron Hadlow, Tom Court, Sam Light, Tom Bridge, Max Tullett and myself… Just some of the names that call the south coast of England home. It is no coincidence that these riders born and raised in the area have gone on to become household names in kiteboarding. The conditions down here are superb and it’s time to tell you about it.

WORDS: Lewis Crathern
PHOTOS: Eunice Bergin and Howard Kearley
TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 1 1260x754 - South coast UK

Let’s start with the obvious, the wind. The prevailing wind direction in the UK is a southwesterly. This provides the mainly south-facing south coast a clean wind from the right, with good swell from the Atlantic. From 20 years of kiting around the world, I can safely say finding starboard Big Air conditions with great kickers is a rarity. Only in Taiwan have I found similar conditions. For Big Air, there is no doubt that the best conditions are in autumn and winter. It is possible to get strong summer low-pressure storms but they are more frequent in winter time and because of that the swell is more present. I am often asked what sort of wind speeds we get at home; I think it surprises people when I’m serious that it’s not uncommon to have a 50-knot forecast or more. This level of windspeed requires a serious respect for the wind which is driven into you when you start your kiting journey around here. Where summer can deliver great 25-knot sea breezes perfect to learn, you soon want more and find yourself out there in autum

TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 3 - South coast UK

An important factor to consider anywhere in the UK really, and especially along the south coast, is tide. We check our tide tables just as constantly as the weather forecast as they determine where we can kite. On a spring low tide the ocean can disappear a mile away in my area and go from six meters deep to 0.3m. Many spots on the south coast are not ideal for high tide but the odd one works especially well like my home spot in Worthing. Sea defenses here are sparse on some sections of beach and grassy setup areas are a welcome change from stoney launches. Be wary though – if it’s been raining, these types of launches can result in unstoppable downwind slide! I find when it’s gale-force conditions, the safest place to launch is right next to the water. In strong wind, it should be in all kitesurfers’ DNA to not only offer a launch but to offer the ‘launchee’ a hand on the back of their harness to help with holding them down. Often on the south coast, sea defenses, beach huts and other obstacles are close by and this extra weight really does help. At times here, I’ve had two people holding on to the back of me helping me into the water!

TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 6 1260x754 - South coast UK
TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 5 1260x754 - South coast UK

What I love about the south coast area is how accessible the ocean is. Parking right up by the beach in your car or van becomes expected and is often free. When it’s high tide, the ocean is just meters away – no scrambling down cliff paths with all your kite quiver wondering which one to take. Lancing, and my home town of Worthing, is just one hour 20 minutes on the train from London, with many of the south coast train stations a maximum of a 20-minute walk to the beach. This makes the region a hot spot for any Londoners that want a quick escape to the beach. The kite clubs are great places to ask questions and often have groups on Facebook. I often hear of kiters being picked up from the local train station and helped to the beach. Somehow even the famous Janek was lined up to be picked up from my local station recently… A strong community spirit is present in general in the UK and on the south coast. People will want to launch you and retrieve your board.

There are many experienced schools established that will run kite lessons from March until November with a high volume in the Worthing/Lancing and Littlehampton area, as well as Camber, Hayling Island and onwards to Poole and Weymouth. In some locations a summer swim zone is in place which is always clearly marked, and they are then removed at the end of September when nearly all areas are open for kiters. If you are looking for calmer and even easier-to-access spots than Worthing, consider Camber Sands further east, again best at mid to low tide, Lancing (where I learnt to kite) which is sandy at low tide and waist deep, Hayling Island, and further afield to the west the flat water of Portland Harbour. All of these spots are also great for the really strong stuff. The conditions one dreams of do vary from person to person but for me it goes like this: 50 knots or more from the west/southwest, a full spring high tide, and some crisp wind swell waves to boost from. The ocean becomes an eternal skatepark, an effect only wind swell can have. The real icing on the cake is when the sun comes out, and you get days where the special ‘winter water color’ even looks beautiful…

TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 11 1260x754 - South coast UK
TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 9 - South coast UK
TheKiteMag On the List South coast UK 8 - South coast UK

Getting There

London Gatwick is only 35 minutes away from some of the south coast beaches. Heathrow is also a reasonable distance. Hire a car or brave the UK train system!

Staying There

Search for local B&Bs (bed and breakfasts) for good rates and enjoy the UK’s famous Full English breakfast!


3/2 in summer, 4/3 in autumn or 5/4 December to March when temps can drop below 10 degrees Celsius. Gloves, boots and hoods are a must after the new year usually.

In the Bag

A 5m or 6m as a storm kite, bigger sizes in the summer.


Try Wetherspoons, a national pub chain with ridiculously low prices.

Most Likely to Hear

It’s Hangtime!

Least Likely to Hear

It’s blowing from the left today.

Want More?

You can get the latest goodness from the world of kiteboarding by subscribing to our print edition. You'll get 5 packed issues, plus a free tee and free digital access. And you'll be directly helping with our sustainability efforts too!

Check it out now
Subscribe Today