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sunsetHayling Island… is Like Hawaii?!


Contributed by Tez Plavenieks of the UK's Sitons Info Website

Yes, we said it; "Hayling Island is like Hawaii." And yes, we also know this may seem like a bold claim.

You may be asking yourself what a tiny little island on the South Coast of the United Kingdom, nestling in the shadow of its bigger sibling the Isle of Wight, has got in common with a tropical paradise located in the Pacific Ocean.

Granted, the inclement weather in the UK is indeed changeable and it's hardly the wall to wall sunshine and warm air temperatures of Hawaii – but there are similarities.

Watersports! Watersports everywhere!

Due to it being an island, Hayling lends itself to a variety of different watersports disciplines and caters for skill levels of all types - just like Hawaii.

The weather is changeable and the area is tidal, but once enthusiasts understand this and pick the appropriate day then they can have as much fun on the water here as you can in foreign climes.

windsurfingA little bit of history

Hayling's main claim to fame is regarding windsurfing and the infamous patent lawsuit that featured Pete Chilvers up against Hoyle Schweitzer.

Chilvers is famed for being the first person to plonk a multi rotational sail on a 'board' and therefore credited with inventing windsurfing. However, Schweitzer and his company, Windsurfing International, claimed it was they who got there first. During the early 80s a high profile court case was fought with Chilvers and Tabur Marine ultimately emerging victorious.

Much has been debated regarding the suit and still to this day arguments crop up about who invented the sport. The fact is this has helped cement Hayling Island's reputation as a watersports centre of excellence in the UK.

Modern times

In 2013 it's not just windsurfing that's practiced on the island. All types of watersports participants are attracted to Hayling.  Kayakers, SUPers, dinghy sailors, yachties, jet bikers and divers all head to the island on the right forecast.

HaylingOn any windy day you'll see kitesurfers intermingled with the 'windies' off the seafront. On particularly good days, it's not uncommon to have 300+ sails and kites whizzing up and down.

In particular the high tide nooks and crannies that lie around Langestone and Chichester Harbour lend themselves perfectly to exploratory kayaking. Get it right with the tide and you could even stop off at one of the drinking holes on route before ferry gliding back to your launch point with the tide.

Sitons crew

With such a longstanding pedigree it's no wonder that the sitons.com crew are based on this modest south coast 'rock'. With ample launching options close by, the water surrounding Hayling Island offers the chance of a paddle whatever the weather.

Sitons.com site is the brainchild of recreational paddler turned family man Mat Bennett, who took up the sport as a way to enjoy summer beach sessions more. After an initial online presence the site was relaunched in October 2012 and now provides a community driven platform where users can post their reviews, opinions and interact with other sit on top paddlers. Mat continues to paddle as and when family commitments allow.

sitonsDan Callis looks after the promotional and networking side of the website. Although his main love of active sports came from Skateboarding as a teenager, he still loves hitting the beach when an opportunity arises.

Tez Plavenieks is the all-round watersports fanatic who practices a variety of different disciplines right through the year. He lives by the motto 'tools for the job' so whatever the weather you can guarantee he'll have some form of equipment in his van suitable for the task. Tez contributes to a huge bulk of the articles, location guides and gear reviews on the website.

Hayling Island for all

Siton kayaking has grown considerably over the last few years on the island and is looking set to continue this trend.

As more people look to some form of escapist activity with minimal hassle, sit on top kayaks will undoubtedly fit the bill. Whether you're looking for waves, flatwater or distance paddling; Hayling Island can tick all the boxes.

The only form of paddling that isn't available is whitewater. But hey, you can't have everything!

More Reading:

  • The Hayling Island community online - online community site for Hayling Island. This site contains thousands of pages of contacts, views, pictures, news and community information centred around Hayling Island in Hampshire.

  • Kayak Diving In The UK & Ireland by Julian Todd - Inspiring images and advice from a kayak diver who has pioneered the sport in the UK.

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