Wing Foiling in Kent
Where to wing foil in kent?
Over the last two years, since wing foiling hit the UK shores, we’ve been working out the best places where to wing foil in Kent so you don’t have to! Near to London and stretching from Camber to Whitstable, this coastline offers epic conditions and locations for wing foiling.
Both coming from kitesurfing backgrounds, we have had to seriously reassess what makes a good wing surfing spot and it’s been really interesting to see how the criteria has changed with our experiences and standard.
Initially, our first thoughts were to find beaches that offered consistent side to onshore conditions as these are optimal for kitesurfing. However, these aren’t necessarily the best for wing foiling and this is why…
The water state would generally be quite choppy and there may be significant shore break or white-water making entry and exit tricky. Instead we’ve found ourselves riding more often in conditions where the wind is slightly offshore.
Offshore winds don’t create the same sort of issues as kitesurfing because the foil allows you to make some insane angles. This means getting in isn’t a problem and there is no danger of the wing dragging you out to sea as a kite could.
If the wind is light close to shore you can quite easily “limp” the board out till you find wind and you can just paddle back like a surfer when required.
These conditions also mean that the sea state is flatter and waves set more set out. This doesn’t mean that your classic cross on conditions aren’t sailable, in fact they often offer the best swell and strongest winds, but your options really open up.
You will also find that more beaches and locations are accessible. As long as you can get in and out of the water safely most spots are rideable opening up small beaches and inshore lakes etc.
So based on our experiences these are the best wing foil beaches in Kent.
Greatstone / Littlestone
Best tide state: 2 hours either side of HW
Best wind directions: S to SW (side to side off), also works in SE,E, NE and N
This is the best location in the predominant SW conditions and works 2 hours either side of HW. After this the tide goes out along way and the water is shallow for a long time so, whilst still possible to wing foil it results in a bit of a walk.
In a SW the wind is cross off at Littlestone and a bit more off at Greatstone, it does however offer very flat water making it ideal to blast around and learn, as long as you are happy with winds that are off shore. In a S/ SSW Greatstone can also offer some amazing foiling waves, there is still very little shore break but the waves comes in at 45 degrees to the beach and can be ridden for a long time. Over the winter we got several waves of over a minute ride time with the wing flagged out in one hand.
Best tide state: 3 hours either side of LW
Best wind directions: S to SW (side on to side)
Dymchurch is a great beach to progress. It still gets some shelter from Dungeness and so the shore dump and waves aren’t a problem in general.
The conditions aren’t flat but the chop is very small and so quite often you can simply glide over it on the foil. The beach only works about 3 hours either side of low water as after this point there are quite a few groynes in the water that are bad news for your foil.
Best tide state: All tides (better 3 hours either side of low)
Best wind directions: SW (side on) or E (side), also works in NE, S, SE and W
Hythe is a deep-water shingle beach and so can be ridden with a foil at all tide states. The best wind directions are SW which is side on, it can also sea breeze in this direction in the summer and so offer a bit more than forecast.
There can be some chunky swell at Hythe that produce some fun rides and some good ramps for jumping. Getting in and out is generally alright, as you can use the shelter of the rock groynes. The best conditions are mid to low as after this the sea state can get quite messy. In an easterly it can offer some fairly flat conditions as well although a large swell can still wrap around.
Best tide state: 2 hours either side of high
Best wind directions: W, NW, N, NE E (side / onshore)
Seasalter is situated at the mouth of the river Swale and has shelter from the Isle of Sheppy. This means that the conditions are generally fairly flat and user friendly.
There can be a bit of chop but it is another scenario where the chop is so small that you can generally ride over it. After 2 hours either side of high, the mud flats are exposed and there will be a fair walk which is why it’s best through high. There can be a very strong tide cross shore here.
Best tide state: 2 hours either side of low
Best wind directions: W, NW (side to side on)
You can wing foil in Whitstable in all tides, although, at high tide it can be quite messy and difficult. The groynes at the eastern end are closely packed which can make entry and exit a bit tricky, however, at low tide the “street” is exposed. This is a large spit that projects out from the beach and offers flat water on the downwind side. You do have to be careful with depth here to make sure it isn’t too shallow and be aware of the mussel beds which will destroy a wing, but there can be some really flat conditions here when the prevailing SW winds occasionally swing!
Wing foil resources
XC Weather https://www.xcweather.co.uk/
Magic Seaweed https://magicseaweed.com/
BBC Tides https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/coast-and-sea/tide-tables
The Varne Sailing Club, Littlestone http://www.varneboatclub.co.uk/weatherdata/index.html
Lydd Aerodrome http://www.lyddaero.co.uk/weatherdisplay/
Hythe & Saltwood Sailing Club http://www.hssc.net/live-windspeeds/