On Hayling Island we love to get outdoors and enjoy our long stretches of coastline. From the Blue Flag beaches of the Solent seafront to the sheltered harbours, there’s plenty of places to access clean waters. Watersports are big on the island, with Hayling Island windsurfing holding a special place in our hearts. Here’s a few things to know about our connection with one of the world’s most-loved water-based pursuits.
Birth of a Worldwide Craze
Hayling Island traces its windsurfing heritage back to 1958, a full decade prior to the first patented
windsurfer arrived in the USA. Peter Chilvers, a 12-year-old local boy, attached a mast and sail to his board
and launched into The Solent. This was the catalyst for the windsurfing culture that continues with dozens of
enthusiasts in the water every day. Whether you are a surfer or not, the sight of boarders jumping waves and
brightly coloured sails flapping in the wind is spectacular.
Best Windsurfing Spots
West Beachlands is where windsurfing in Hayling Island began and remains one of the most frequented
beachfront launches. Windsurfers and kite-boarders alike delight in waves that cross the sandbar and a shore
break created by high tides. At low tide the water is shallow, making this pretty shingle beach great for
beginners. Imagine learning at the actual birthplace of a sport!
On the island’s Langstone Harbour coastline, Esso Beach attracts everyone from rookies to accomplished
freestylers. This is a high tide spot and gets notably busy when the wind blows strong along The Solent. Our
hotel is only a 20-minute walk from here via the Hayling Billy Trail and there’s parking nearby. You can escape the larger crowds by windsurfing in Chichester Harbour. Do so from Northney Marina and Hayling Island Sailing Club, situated at the northern and easternmost points of the island. Just be sure to enquire about any fees required to use the sailing club’s facilities.
Watersports Schools and Rentals
If you need to rent and purchase equipment or hone your talent with lessons then the town’s watersports
centers are here to help. Andy Biggs Watersports is the go-to for everything from friendly advice to new and used boards, sails and wetsuits. WindWise arranges lessons with qualified instructors, if you feel like
dabbling in an international pastime. Hayling Island windsurfing is just one of a number of watersports that lure the adventuresome to Hayling Island. You can try your hand at kayaking, kiteboarding, sailing and standup paddle boarding, too. Get in touch to find out more about a plethora of activities within easy reach of our hotel.