Paddle Boarding Exmouth
Exmouth is a little seaside town located in South Devon around 15 miles south of Exeter. It nestles at the mouth of the Exe Estuary and provides a superb location for all manner of waters sport from windsurfing, sailing, kayaking, jet-skiing, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kite surfing, diving, swimming and through to paddle boarding or SUP as it is know (Stand Up Paddle-boarding).
SUP is the fastest growing water sport in the UK
Easy access, easy to pick up and relatively cheap to start has made paddle boarding one of the fastest growing water sports currently in the UK with a huge boost during the 2020 Lockdown when it seemed the entire population of Exmouth took to the water!
The value of the stand up paddle boarding market 2019 to 2020 is a staggering $9.99 billion with over 19,000 new paddlers taking to the water alone in 2019!
Quote: "This statistic shows the value of the stand up paddle (SUP) board market worldwide in 2015 and 2020. In 2015, the value of the stand up paddle board market was 4.96 billion U.S. dollars worldwide, and this figure has been forecasted to reach almost 10 billion U.S. dollars by 2020."
So what does Exmouth get out of it?
Well, not that much but we have a few thousand dedicated SUP fans in this area alone which means we are on the SUP radar and that is going to continue to grow as the sport takes hold.
Exmouth has so much to offer the avid fan of the SUP. The new Sideshore development on Exmouth seafront houses the all new EDGE waterspouts centre where you can get all your SUP kit plus surfing and kite surfing kit too.
We will start our tour on the far left (looking out to sea) of the town - a place known locally as Orcombe Point.
Orcombe Point is a gem of a spot. The safe, sadly waters are cut with sandbanks that can produce a small wave ideal for learning to surf your paddle board. It benefits from not being as tidal as the beaches closer to the estuary mouth and on a flat day you can paddle further left around the headland toward Sandy Bay. It's beautiful - give it a go if you can.
Exmouth Lifeboat Station
Half way between the town beaches and Orcombe Point we have an area to the right of the Lifeboat station of perfectly safe, shallow and sandy bay which works beautifully at low tide for learners.
During the peak season it can get quite busy so head out and left toward Orcombe point for the best SUP.
From the Lifeboat station towards the estuary mouth is swimming and beach users. It is also quite tidal so take care! The tides can be quite fast so make yourself aware of the tides before paddling!
From the beach however at low tide there are some amazing sandbars that form. The outside produces some fun little waves and the maze of small inlets and coves that form make for warm, yes, warm water in the summer and some flat paddling. Well worth a look but keep your eye on the tides!
Through the estuary mouth there are a good few locations and it's here that the best SUP adventures can be had. There are lots of places to launch and it's a great safe environment to get a grip on the sport. As ever - it is TIDAL to please take care and make yourself aware of the tides and of course the wind as that can really ruin your day!
There's a sand spit across the water from Exmouth known as Dawlish Warren. It's a little spot of sandy wilderness and also a sanctuary so please respect local rules regarding landing here. There is a landing zone further toward Dawlish on the Estuary side and it is the only place you are permitted to land. No dogs please! It is a nature reserve and they don't like dogs there.
SUP Safari Cockwood
From Dawlish around the west of the estuary there's Cockwood. It has a great hidden harbour and access is under the railway tunnel. It's a really fun paddle and you could even call in the Exe Cafe on route back for something to eat and a beer.
Also at Cockwood is a small pub - ideal for topping up the energy! If you're lucky you will even see the local seals basking in the sun! As usual - check those tides and the wind conditions!
The big push toward Turf Locks
Some 3.5 miles following the West Bank of the estuary north you will come to the mouth of the Exeter canal which flows into the estuary. Turf Locks is a great place to paddle to. We undertook a venture up there early February 2020 and you'll see form the photo - it's a superb trip and as with all longer trips please do check those tides!
From Turf Locks right over toward Topsham
Topsham is an old viking town and is your next port when doing a SUP safari. Do NOT spend too long up here because the tide might bite!
Handy tips for SUP safari's Exmouth
When travelling a longer distance here's the optimal tide/weather situations.
- Heading North - you should aim to leave the south of the estuary at least 1 hour before high water
- Heading south - you should aim to depart at least 1 hour after high water.
It is possible to go at most tidal states but there is a HUGE sandbar that forms and trust me - it's a LONG walk over it if you mess the tides up.
Lympstone is your next port of call
Lympstone village lays around 2.5 miles north of Exmouth and makes. great little adventure. It really is unique and locals even hang their washing out on lines from posts actually in the sea!
The coast leading toward Lympstone is beautiful. The beaches can be a little pebbly so shoes the order of the day! At least bring flip flops. There's a pub and small shop for topping up your energy - a lovely paddle!
Exmouth SUP safari
Most local paddlers head toward an area of the town known as the REC. It's home to Exmouth Festival and has space to park right by the water. There's a slip leading in to the water and plenty of space. At low tide there's also a safe, waste deep channel that's great for learning and practicing some SUP freestyle.
Considerations when SUP around Exmouth
- Check the tides!
- Be aware of the weather conditions
- Carry your phone
- Wear a leash
- Let people know where you are
- Preferable paddle with a group or join a SUP safari - you will get the best out fo the area through their experience of it
- Never paddle alone at distance
- Wear a buoyancy aid if you are a weaker swimmer
- In the summer - suncream and water is a must!
Handy links to SUP groups in Exmouth
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