We are back on the south coast this week with Andy ‘Bubble’ Chambers to have a look at Avon Beach.
What wind and swell direction should we be looking for?
The best wind direction is SW-W. The way the beach faces means that a SW is perfect side shore. If it goes a bit more W then you might have a little wobble/swim out from the beach but then its windy on the sandbar and can be awesome for down the line riding. The more S the wind is the more onshore it is. So you can sail in anything from ESE to W The sandbar works with any swell but the best is a proper SW-W ground swell with a long period.
Any Wind directions we should avoid?
Anything with N in it!!
What works on what tide?
Always better on a pushing tide but depending on the swell it can work on most of the tides. If the swell is small then at dead low tide it will go flat but if theres some swell then you can actually get a nice punchy wave at low tide although a bit smaller in size.
Where exactly is Avon and how do you get there?
Avon is right on Mudeford Quay next to Christchurch Harbour and Hengistbury Head. Slightly further West than Highcliffe. The River Stour comes out of the harbour right next to Avon which helps create the saadbanks. Super easy to get to, just head towards Bournemouth from either direction and follow the signs to Christchurch Harbour/Mudeford or just stick BH23 4BA in your sat nav!
Where do you park and how much change do you need?
Theres a big carpark right on the beach which can get a bit busy in the summer but you can also park in some of the roads just back form the car park. In the summer its more expensive to park about £2.30 for a couple of hours but in the winter its about £1.60.
Where is the best spot to launch from?
Launching is straight off the beach between the groynes or walk upwind 50m to the next groyne. Up to you! No shorebreak either which is great for first time wave sailors except if its high tide with a massive ground swell but even then its pretty chilled compared to most places on the south coast!
What is launching like and any top tips for it?
If it’s a bit light on the inside walk upwind and launch from there because sometimes the river flow coming out of the harbour can sometimes pull you down wind if your swimming or wobbling out.
Anywhere we should avoid on the water?
Just don’t go too far downwind towards Highcliffe and come too close in as you will losse the wind. Just stay infront of the beach- easy!
What does my sailing ability need to be before I venture out?
If you are happy waterstarting then you’ll be fine. It’s a very easy spot to sail and get into waves easily. Just check the conditions before you go out and if it’s a mega and your not quite feeling up to it then just nip across and jump in the harbour for a blast!
Mast snaps… how much trouble am I in?
As someone who has broken a lot of mast at Avon I can assure you that you will fine, you will just a bit of a swim! The more towards Highcliffe you go the more the beach bends around so unless you are really far out you should always make it back into land on a normal W-SW. You will just have a long swim and a long walk back. For anything more serious theres a lifeboat crew at Christchurch and in the summer there are lifeguards on the beach.
What are the local vibes like? (other windsurfers and beach users)
Local vibe is really great and friendly. It’s a great local crowd but then also lots of people travel to Avon from all over the South Coast so you will most likely see other people you know as well. Make sure you check out Avon Beach Surfers on Facebook for info and lots of pics! Wetaher forecatss from Bigsalty as well. If you have any queries or questions just post it into the group. Make sure you check it when you get home as well to see if resident photographer Roger Bushnell has got a cheeky pic of as well!
Any inside secrets?
It always looks worse from the beach!! If theres ever a mega storm Avon is the place to go!
Toilets: Yes further down where the restaurants and beach huts are.
Van camping: If you can find some free parking then Yes!
Food: Yep from the Noisey Lobster or local sandwich shop
Kit Hire: No maybe some beginnenr kit form inside Mudeford Harbour from the Shore Watersports van
Instruction: Same as above
Post windsurf pint: Yep Noisey lobster or plenty of pubs on the harbour
Windsurfing shop: Spot On Water was there but they are online now, otherwise Poole is the closest. H20 Sports or Poole Harbour Boardsports.