Windsurfing in and around Suffolk

Information on windsurf spots in East Anglia can also be found here and beachseeker guide.

If you're a Suffolk windsurfer I recommended you join the Felixstowe windsurfing email list. It's a friendly and active list with lots of advice and sailing plans.

Round Suffolk there are 3 places I can recommend within easy travelling distance, places where you'll find other people out and reasonable conditions: Felixstowe, Aldeburgh and West Mersea.

Felixstowe Dip Nearest live weather conditions: FFSC, HHA and Port of Felixstowe. There's a car park built into the sea wall which is convenient. You need a code for the gate. A group of local windsurfers have negotiated with the local council to use this facility for windsurfing for a nominal fee - details can be found from the Felixstowe email list mentioned above. The Dip is usually choppy and can have a nasty shoredump at high tide. You will however find windsurfers here whenever there is a SW, S, SE, E, NE wind (SSW works best). The nearby Dip Kiosk (blue hut, flags outside) sells drinks and snacks. Big Salty beach guide and tide tides can be found here.

Felixstowe Fludyers Further south just below the Fludyers Arms is more a SE facing beach, with free parking on the road and public toilets. It can be a nasty launch, but worth coming here if the wind is too offshore at Dip or Manor.

Felixstowe Manor Another regular haunt in Felixstowe. Free car park and generally less choppy than the Dip. The tide possibly has a stronger effect here; wind against tide results in a stronger wind and vice-versa.

Levington drive into the marina and turn left (or right), go all the way to the end. Works well in a Westerly, particularly a WNW. Check tide times as the tide goes out a long way leaving a muddy walk. Best 2hrs either side of high tide.

Aldeburgh is a great place for intermediates, you can park right next to the launch site for free all year round and there's always a friendly bunch down at the weekend. During the week, the chances are you'll be by yourself, but it's a safe on the estuary with river banks either side. Wind-wise the estuary is only seperated from the coast by a thin strip of land so you get reasonably clean wind. Best, cleanest wind is a SSW as it comes unobstructed up the river. Of course Aldeburgh is a good place to go in a Westerly wind as most of the coast will be offshore. In practice Aldeburgh will work in pretty much any direction. Other nice things about Aldeburgh - shallow at both sides of the estuary, therefore nice and easy to get back on when practising the gybes. You get also get a really good bump-and-jump session if the wind is against the tide for about an hour after the tide turns. Speaking of which when looking at tide times for the estuary look at Slaughden Quay as it lags Aldeburgh coast by about an hour. Live weather conditions here. You can generally sail 3 hours either side of high tide. Remember to add or subtract a few knots to the wind speed depending on whether wind is with or against the tide. This can make the difference between planing and not planing!

West Mersea is another popular local venue. I've had a couple of fantastic sessions in an Eastly wind. Not so great in a Southerly (dead onshore) or Northerly (offshore). Chop doesn't seem as bad as Felixstowe. Also beware of the long walk back at low tide! Check out the Mersea Windsurfers website. The Strood (road that connects Mersea to the mainland) can flood at high tide - see details here.

Alton Water is a good choice for learners, but intermediates will be frustrated by the gusty wind conditions... not to mention the outrageous launch fees. They have a nice weather page.

East Tidal Streams

Note: Felixstowe is about 45mins BEHIND Dover

Useful windsurf links

Not specific to East Anglia, but useful nonetheless