ESSO Beach, on Hayling Island, is a good launching spot onto Langstone Harbour, a nice flat-water venue particularly suitable for beginners and intermediates. It is one of the few South-Coast spots that works in Northerly winds, and can get pretty busy on these occasions. It is also a useful location if the high-tide shorebreak at Hayling Seafront is too big. Check the tide-times before travelling because this is a high-tide-only venue.
Flat Water: YES
Car parking : YES (free)
Hayling Island is located on the South Coast between Portsmouth and Chichester. Access is via the A27/M27 and A3023. To find ESSO Beach, cross onto the island and follow the road for about a mile. The ESSO garage is on the right hand side, and the access road to the beach is immediately after it (adjacent to the forecourt). You can't really see the road until you're upon it, so just look out for the garage. There is a car park by the beach, but it is pretty small, so get there early on a popular day or you'll have to park in the nearby roads.
The sailing area (Langstone Harbour) is huge, but once the tide goes out it all turns to mud. There are several shingle banks that become progressively uncovered as the tide recedes, so keep an eye out and be sure to avoid them, as your fin will not be happy if you hit one! Click the map to the left to see a more detailed photo showing the sailing area, the "safe channel", and some of the banks.
The photos below should give an idea of the range of conditions found at this location. The larger images have a description of the conditions at the time the shot was taken. If you've got any good photos that you'd like to see here then email the site and I'll add them on if possible.
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