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A surfing and kayaking guide to the Isle of Wight

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Thanks to the variety of fabulous beaches and breath-taking coastlines, the Isle of Wight is the perfect place to go kayaking or surfing. These activities are not only fun, they let you see parts of the island you cannot on land. It’s also great exercise!

If you’re interested on giving surfing or kayaking a go, or if you have lots of experience and just want to know the best places to visit, our guide will help.

Best places to go surfing and kayaking on the Isle of Wight

No matter your age or ability, there are several surfing and kayaking locations for you to try on the Isle of Wight. Below is a list of the best.

Freshwater

The cliffs here look beautiful from the water, and there are a few caves to explore too. Just make sure you go kayaking on a ‘flat’ day when the tide is just right, otherwise you won’t be able to reach the caves.

Compton

Boasting a sandy shore and often some fantastic waves, Compton is a popular beach with both surfers and kayakers.

Brook

Just down the road from Compton is Brook Beach, which is also great for surfing. If Compton looks a little busy, it may be worth giving it a try.

Ryde

The sandy beaches and shallow waters mean this beach is best suited to beginners or families who wish to try kayaking.

Yaverland Beach and Sandown Bay

Both of these beaches are ideal for taking a gentle kayak paddle around the bay, so long as the weather is good. On the plus side, if the weather is a bit rough, the surfing conditions are excellent here too.

Newtown Creek

Newtown Nature Reserve is a wonderfully peaceful and quiet place – a great location to go kayaking! Be sure to stop off for a picnic as you wander up the river.

Medina River

In comparison, this river is a very busy so should only be tackled by experienced paddlers. Be wary of the changeable tides and avoid kayaking when a yachting event is on.

Best places to learn how to kayak and surf

If you have no or little experience of kayaking or surfing, you’re going to want to have a lesson to get the most out of it. A qualified professional will be able to take you to the best locations, tell you where you’re going wrong and how to improve your surf/kayak skills. Here are some of the Island’s best watersports schools.

Adventure Activities

Based in Freshwater, Adventure Activities will introduce you to Sit on Top kayaking in just half a day. During your four-hour lesson, you’ll learn how to self-rescue as well as how to explore the nearby caves. The price is pretty reasonable too, at just £50 per person.

Medina Valley Centre

As you may have guessed, the Centre is located on the upper part of the Medina Valley river. The banks here are sheltered, so it’s the perfect place for novices or all ages to get to grips with kayaking. Thanks to the changing tides, the conditions are always ideal for kayaking, so all lessons must be booked in advance. A two-hour private taster session costs £35 per person.

iSurf Mobile Surf School

Proudly known as the only mobile surf school on the Island, iSurf ensures you always have the best surfing conditions, as the instructors can travel to any Isle of Wight location. Just let them know where you’re located and they will tailor a lesson to you depending on where the best waves are that day. A 90-minute one-to-one lesson will set you back £60 per person.

Where to hire surfing and kayaking equipment

If you feel you’re experienced enough to go surfing or kayaking without a professional, you may need to hire the appropriate equipment (kayaks and boards are rather hard to transport, after all). Fortunately, you can rent professional gear by the hour for a small fee.

Wightwaters, Dunroamin Beach

Also known as Lake Beach, Dunroamin is tucked away, making it an ideal place to go surfing in peace, away from the crowds in nearby Sandown and Shanklin. It’s no wonder then, that Wightwaters, an adventure watersports company, is based here. If you don’t need lessons, you can hire a range of equipment from them instead, including wetsuits, sit-on kayaks (singles and doubles) and hard and soft surf boards.

See the price list for more details.

For more inspiration on what activities to try during your next visit to the Isle of Wight, check out our guides on bird and wildlife watching, cycling and walking.