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Guernsey Kitesurfing Guide

Ladies Bay
LADIES BAY- Ladies Bay is a beach at Grande Havre on the North West coast.

Direction: NW – Cross On (ideal), W-Onshore, SW cross-on (can be gusty).

Parking: Car park next to the children’s playground overlooking the beach.

Rigging: There is a rigging area for windsurfers at the northern end of the car park. Although suitable for rigging a kite, the brambles & rocks on the path/slipway mean its best to inflate on the beach.

Launch: During summer months there is a buoyed channel at the car park end of the beach. The Environment Department asks all kitesurfers to try and launch from this channel unless the prevailing conditions would make it more dangerous to do so than to launch from a different spot.

Description: Grande Havre is a large bay with rocks across most of the mouth, meaning that if you get in trouble or the wind turns offshore, there is still a good chance of getting ashore, albeit over rocks! Ladies Bay is at its best on a high neap tide (high tide around midday) when the water comes over the sand-bar into Chouet Bay giving a shallow flat water run over the bar into nice ramps from the incoming swell in Chouet. Also a good bay for poseurs with a car park overlooking the bay at both ends, there are always plenty of spectators. Look out for the tide on springs as the beach disappears completely leaving nowhere to land unless you can get out from the sand-bar and land on the golf course (not popular!). The beach is popular with dog walkers as it is one of the few beaches allowing year-round access for dogs, so be sure to leave lines tidy to avoid hassle from walkers!

Vazon
VAZON- On the West coast, south of Cobo, can’t miss it, big sandy beach. Main bay is at the northern end, Richmond is at the southern end.

Direction: NW – Cross On at richmond (ideal), W-Onshore at the main bay, cross-shore at Richmond end, SW cross-on at main bay, cross off at Richmond (can be gusty).

Parking: Car park opposite the big kiosk next to Crabby Jacks for the main bay, Next to the Richmond kiosk for Richmond.

Rigging: On the beach at both ends.

Launch: Anywhere suitable in the main bay. Richmond take note of the reef in line with the outfall pipe and either launch on the down-wind side, or walk upwind far enough to give an angle to get past the end of the reef (ie where the breaking waves stop!).

Description: A large bay split in two by a big reef. There is a surf zone clearly marked (read the signs) and kitesurfers should stay out of it. The main bay offers good waves and a large sandy beach which is completely covered at high tide. Avoid launching near to high spring tide as the beach runs out very quickly and strong currents suck you into the wall by the groins where you’ll be dashed to pieces on the cold hard granite seawall, thrown high into the air and over the road along with all the seaweed and stones….no really it is very dangerous and people have gotten into serious trouble. The Richmond end can be sailed at high tide, but bear in mind that if you lose it you’ll eventually end up down at the main bay end with no beach and that cold hard granite seawall again… Richmond can be excellent especially in a NW when the reef is exposed as the water on the downwind side stays flat, but as the tide comes in the waves kick up off the reef giving some ramps.

Belle Greve
BELLE GREVE- East coast North of St Peter Port

Directions: Easterly – Onshore, SE – Cross on

Parking: By the Red Lion pub.

Rigging/launching: errrrm. Get a mate to hold your kite while you pump it up, lay your lines out in the bus stop and try to avoid the rats as you slide over the rocks to the murky water.

Description: Described by Mike Smith in his Kitesurf review as a bit hardcore. He didn’t mention the islands sewage outfall pipe the discharges offshore and in an easterly wind it all blows back in towards the beach. Make sure you’ve had your shots. The bay is riddled with shallow rocks and the current rips round it on spring tides. Only for the desperate.

Grandes Rocques
GRANDES ROCQUES- West coast North of Cobo

Parking: By the road or the kiosk opposite the Wayside Cheer Pub

Directions: Westerly, South Westerly

Rigging/Launching: On the beach.

Description: A good alternative to Ladies Bay at low tide if its gusty at Ladies. Can be very flat, but bounded by rocks and quite short so only good for a small number of kiters. Very busy with beach goers in the summer so best avoided except in the evening/early morning.

Pembroke
PEMBROKE/L’ANCRESSE- Northern most tip of the island.

Directions: NNW Cross-on (ideal), N onshore (OK if you can get upwind), NE-E – Cross on/cross (good but gusty at the Eastern end).

Parking: Most kitesurfers park at the middle car-park. Drive to the big cafe, turn right and drive right tot he end of the car park. There is a break in teh wall giving access to the best launching area.

Rigging/Launching: Best done on the beach, there is a launching channel at the Western end of the beach, but getting out from there is near impossible. Kitesurfers tend to launch from the middle on the western side of the rocks.

Description: A large sandy beach sailable in all but spring high tides, but watch out for the patch of rocks in the middle. After a few days of northerly winds there can be some decent waves, gets choppy at low tide. Very busy in summer.

Shell Beach
SHELL BEACH- Herm Island, East coast.

Parking: Park in St Peter Port and catch the ferry.

Directions: E -Onshore, SE -Cross on, NE -Cross on (see below)

Rigging/launching : Anywhere on the beach.

Description: Better in the winter months as Shell Beach is rammed all summer with boats and people, although at low tide there are other opportunities (see below). Bit of an adventure and an OK spot, much better than Belle Greve in an Easterly. In stronger winds there can be a strong shore dump, but once you’re out sailing at high tide between the reef in the middle and the beach gives a sheltered flatter run up to the waves at either end. At low tide and with your own boat you can get out to the sand banks to the north east were there are no tourists and flat water. WARNING – There are very strong currents around shell beach and through the channels around the sand banks; at peak flow its similar to a fast flowing river and must be taken into account when considering the conditions. Wind against tide is the best option. Shell is much better if you have your own boat to provide rescue cover.

Many thanks to the Guernsey Kiting Association for this guide. You can find out more about them by visiting their site at www.kiting.org.gg. Don’t forget to check out the local regulations on their site to keep the island safe from kite controversy.

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