Dungeness point on its day has the potential to offer some great waves for both surfers and stand up paddle surfers. The problem is it does not work that often. Dungeness needs the right conditions and the right tides to make it happen. I paddle surfed Dungeness point recently and a report about that day is in another post. Since then i have been back there on a very windy day. Blown out for surfing and definately blown out for paddle surfing.
The wind on this day i took these pictures was gusting 30mph. So i decided not to paddlesurf dungeness and went for a windsurf around at camber instead. Hopefully though these pictures will give some sort of idea of the potential of Dungeness as a point break.
The best place to launch is up by the fishing boats. There are a couple of mini points that stick out and make for perfect launching spots.
You can actually wait on the beach at Dungeness by the boats and then when you see a set coming just launch and catch one of the set waves. You will though have to walk back up the beach after every 2 or 3 waves though. As trying to paddle back up to where you started from is a fruitless task. Well it was when i paddle surfed here on my Sup. It was a lot easier to come ashore and walk back up. A lot less energetic also.
The best chance to get a surf at Dungeness is when the wind has been blowing from a southerly direction. The big thing to look out for though is spring tides as it has a much better chance of working on springs. Then you want to catch it about half tide on the way down. Just as the ebb tide flows and pushes the waves right up. You wont surf many times a year at dungeness as the conditions have to be just right i for one though will be there with my wave sup to give it a go when it does.
The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo passed across the uk the day before. Producing some 3 to 4m waves as it did so. The wind had kept blowing for most of the night. So Richard and myself were quietly optimistic that there would be a chance of a surf over the high water at camber.
We got to Camber about half an hour before high water and got on the water at about high. The swell though had nearly all but died. There was just the odd waist to chest high sets left. They were however few and far between, We were about to call it a day when Rupert from the kitesurf centre came afloat for a sup. o we thought we had better keep him company for a while. To be honest as the water dropped from high water a bit the waves did get a bit better. Not good enough if you were on a surfboard but good enough for our stand up paddleboards and Richard,s waveski.
So all in all no epic wave riding to be had. However the weather was good the wind light and offshore and some fun little sets coming through. So again well worth getting the sup out and having a paddle with friends.
This is the first post on my site. I thought i would start with a brief post about our local break (Camber Sands). I know this is not the first place that springs to mind when you are thinking about a decent beach break for surfing and suping. Camber is very popular for kite and windsurfing as it is quite often windy at Camber when other spots are struggling to get any wind. When you live though on the south east corner of the UK good breaks of any sort are in short supply for both surfing and stand up paddlesurfing.
Long range swell that has crossed the atlantic has very little chance of getting through to camber. So we look out for a specific weather pattern that is most common in the autumn and winter months. So the use of a summer wetsuit has very limited use at camber sands for surfing. So the weather pattern that we look for is a low pressure that tracks across the southern part of the UK. Which will hopefully develop some ground swell that will push all the way up the channel. Why this is happening the wind is nearly always predominantly from a south westerly direction. Which unfortunately with camber beach facing near due south, south westerly wind is to onshore to produce any sort of a clean wave.
So this is the important bit to look out for and which we look out for everytime a low pressure tracks up the channel or southern england and that is what the wind does as the low goes off in to the north sea. Ideally you will get a cold front on the back edge of the low pressure. Which will swing the wind in to a north westerly direction. This usually leaves you in a colder but sunny day. More importantly though north west wind is cross off shore and produces the cleanest waves. Camber can also be surfed if the wind only go around to due west which is cross shore. This really limits you to surfing up by the harbour arm at the entrance to the river rother. This is not all bad though as this is often the the spot that you get the longest rides at camber. With rides often long enough to get 3 or 4 bottom turns going both left and right. Dymchurch rich loves this spot.
The best time to surf camber sands or stand up paddlesurf for that fact is from high water to about 4 hours after high. I know a lot of breaks around the country get their best waves on the pushing tide. At camber though the best waves and often an extra foot to boot is after high water as the ebb tide comes through and pushes up against the swell coming up the english channel from the west. Other good places to surf at camber apart from up by the harbour arm are opposite the houses and from Broomhill sands car park. Again the best state of tide for an extra foot is after high water these spots though can all be surfed from half tide up to half tide down. You can surf over the low water although the wave height drops off significantly. If you do have to surf over the low tide then the best spot is often by the wreck of an old trawler which is easily visable at low tide and has some good sand bars around it.