Whether you already harbour a passion for water sports or you’re keen to give some a try for the first time, I think the Isle of Wight is a great destination to choose. Located just off the coast of Hampshire, this tiny island is a veritable water sports heaven and, as it’s so quick and easy to reach compared to overseas locations, it’s just as well suited to short breaks as longer holidays.
Why choose the Isle of Wight?
First of all, let’s take a quick look at what makes the Isle of Wight so perfect for water sports holidays. As this tiny island is just 147 sq km in size, water is never too far away. This means that no matter where you choose to stay (Sykes Cottages has some great accommodation options, by the way), it’s easy to fit something like surfing, sailing or kayaking into your schedule.
Another benefit of coming here is the fact that the conditions can be quite different depending on what beach you’re on (something that ultimately comes down to tide and wind). This means that you can give a wide variety of water sports a go, and that there should be conditions well suited to beginners and pros alike – it’s just a matter of keeping your ear to the ground when it comes to weather forecasts and such.
Top water sports to try
The number one water sport to try in the Isle of Wight is definitely sailing. After all, each year the destination hosts the world-famous Cowes Week – a sailing extravaganza that sees professionals flock from all over the world to take part in competitions that can number up to 40 a day. Held every August, this festival is absolutely brilliant for sailing enthusiasts because you can watch lots of events from the shore, while plenty of live entertainment and parties are put on for visitors.
If you want to give sailing a go yourself there are lots of companies that will help you to do so. Sail for Fun, for example, offers skippered sailing yacht and motor yacht charters. What’s nice about this company is that they let you decide how involved in the sailing you actually want to be, making it suitable for novices and experienced sailors alike.
Kayaking is an absolutely great activity to try on the Isle of Wight, largely because as well as having suitably sheltered beaches, it has lots of inlets that are ideally suited to the sport. As a quick tip for newcomers to kayaking, it’s really important that if you do decide to kayak in open water, you choose your spot very carefully – keep an eye on tide reports and seek local advice to make sure you select somewhere safe.
Ryde and Puckpool beaches are generally very sheltered, which means they’re great for beginners. If, however, you fancy more of a challenge, tackling the stretch of river from Cowes to Newport is a good bet. That said, you should check whether any yachting events are set to be held here before you set off, and be prepared for the water to be busy.