Discovery

7 places to go stand-up paddleboarding in Sussex

by Ed Scott

With its rolling green hills, chalk coastal cliffs and seaside towns, Sussex is classic Southern England. Exploring its idyllic countryside, it can be hard to believe that the hustle and bustle of London is only an hour or two away.

Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is the ideal way to discover Sussex’s many incredible waterways. This gentle, low-impact activity offers a peaceful way to spend some time out in nature, and is suitable for all ages.

From sleepy inland rivers to dramatic coastal waters, here are 7 of the best locations to give stand-up paddleboarding a go across Sussex. 

loop watersports giant sup littlehampton
Source: LOOP Watersports

Ardingly Reservoir

Nestled in the High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, Ardingly Reservoir was created in 1978 by the damming of a local brook. The 75-hectare nature reserve is now home to a variety of birdlife, including herons, owls, and kingfishers. 

Ardingly Activity Centre sits on the southern shore of the reservoir, a 10-minute drive from Haywards Heath. The centre offers paddleboards and kayaks for hire by the hour, allowing you to discover the reservoir at your own pace. If you’re up for something a bit different, team up with a group of friends on a 4-person paddleboard

ardingly reservoir haywards heath

Bognor Regis

A truly iconic seaside resort, Bognor Regis has been called the country’s sunniest town thanks to the 1,900 hours of sunshine it gets each year. The town is within easy reach of many excellent SUP spots, and is less than a 2-hour train ride from London.

Based just along the coast in Pagham, Phil from Cave Active Adventures is an accomplished SUP racer and adventurer, and offers SUP activities and rentals all over West Sussex. Rent a paddleboard and explore Pagham’s isolated sand and shingle beach, or head into the South Downs National Park and join Phil on a River Arun SUP adventure of your own.

cave active bognor regis

Bosham

Bosham sits within the Chichester Harbour conservation site, home to one of the UK’s last remaining coastal wilderness. These vast salt flats are lined with a number of quaint villages, which seem to float along the water at high tide.

Based directly out of Bosham, Get Kiteboarding offer SUP sessions in this unique landscape. Explore the harbour on a 2-hour SUP tour and enjoy unbroken views of the open sky, or join a taster session to get to grips with the basics of stand-up paddleboarding. 

bosham sup

Chichester

With a history dating back to Roman times, Chichester is an ideal destination for history buffs. It’s also an easy 90-minute train ride from London, making it a great option for a day trip or a weekend getaway. 

Local husband-and-wife team Tony and Gemma are hugely passionate about the great outdoors that Chichester and West Sussex have to offer. They started TJ Board Hire to help spread the word, and offer regular paddleboarding sessions in and around the city, as well as paddleboards for hire.

“The ethos of our business is to get as many people as possible involved in paddleboarding, and enjoying the many activities and stunning scenery here in West Sussex,” says Gemma. 

tj board hire chichester

Eastbourne

The seaside town of Eastbourne has been drawing tourists for well over a century, and it’s not hard to see why. Sun, sea, and sand await visitors, who can reach the town from London in under 90 minutes by train.

Sussex Paddleboard Hire offers SUP rentals from nearby Westham. Pick up a board in the morning and venture where your heart desires. For an unbeatable view of the Seven Sisters cliffs, head west along the waterfront from Eastbourne.

sussex paddleboard hire eastbourne

Littlehampton

Sitting on the West Sussex coast at the mouth of the River Arun, Littlehampton is a vibrant seaside town home to two world-class beaches. If you’re looking to take to the water, then head to LOOP Watersports on the Littlehampton shorefront. 

Despite only being founded in 2020, LOOP have built a thriving watersports community in Littlehampton thanks to their friendly and inclusive approach. Their weekly ladies SUP night is a fantastic opportunity to spend an evening with new friends in a relaxed environment,  whilst their 2 Hour BSUPA Level 1 Learn to Paddleboard session covers everything you need to get started with SUP. 

Whichever adventure you choose, be sure to round out your trip with a post-SUP drink at The Beach Cafe, co-run by LOOP founder Liam Dredge.

littlehampton sup yoga

Pevensey

Located a few miles east of Eastbourne, Pevensey Bay is a hidden gem. A shingle beach at high tide gives way to a beautiful sandy open beach at low tide. Nearby Pevensey Castle offers a glimpse of ancient history a short walk away. 

Pevensey is the base of operations for Be-Rad Watersports, a watersports company run by long-time enthusiast Brad Mackelden. He’s instructed all over the world, but he was drawn back to his hometown of Pevensey thanks to its ideal location and conditions. Join Brad on a 90-minute SUP beginner or improver group lesson, or book in for a 1-on-1 lesson to sharpen your skills.

pevensey sup

We hope this article has helped inspire you to explore Sussex by SUP! If you’re interested in more paddling adventures in the South, check out our article on places to paddle in Essex, London, and the home counties.

Feeling inspired? Follow eola on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for ideas and inspiration, and check out the eola marketplace to find and book your next adventure.

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