Living in High Salvington, Worthing is perfect as it gives me easy access to a beautiful stretch of coastline and rivers such as the Adur and Aran. As a kayaker, it really is an ideal location to be based. The best paddling is downwind, and with a predominant SE wind, the stretch between Worthing and Shoreham creates a perfect line to paddle across.
I first got into paddling when I lived in South Africa, but then I stopped for 15 years. I always wanted to get back into it though so when I found a group of guys who regularly paddled out of Shoreham, I joined them and I’m now a part of the larger UK community that races too.
Most weekends I meet up with other kayakers at the Shoreham Rowing Club, but you can’t control the weather, so if the wind is blowing along the coast we will meet at an upwind point instead and paddle downwind back towards Shoreham.
One of my favourite routes is from Selsy Bill to Littlehampton, with the common SE wind. An average morning will see us meeting early, paddling at least 5km out into the wind or tide, then turning back and riding the tide and waves back towards the shore. It can be hard work, but it certainly gets you fit and it’s great fun! We tend to refuel afterwards anyway and once back on dry land we head to the local café for breakfast, coffee and camaraderie.
Kayaking is a fantastic outdoor sport. It’s great for increasing your fitness and I love the fact that the conditions are always different as it means you are never bored. It’s a very social sport and I generally paddle with friends, but being out on the kayak also offers peace and quiet and gives you thinking time. There’s nothing quite like the free feeling and the excitement you get with a downwind paddle – adrenalin really kicks in when you catch a wave, or when you find yourself travelling at speeds of up to 20 km/h on top of a wave.