Entries close on 31 September 2012, and the winner will be drawn at random (from the list of shares of the picture on Facebook, qualified by inclusion on our page’s list of likes at www.facebook.com/WetnDryBoardsports)
Made in Australia and dating back to the 1970s, Penny Skateboards are the original plastic skateboard. The deck is injection moulded, making it durable with just the right amount of flex. Its size means the Penny has sharp turns and a small surface area, making it the perfect way to get around town. It will even fit in your backpack. And here’s the Aussie TV ad to prove it!
As we continue to endure the wettest spring in living memory, we’re beginning to dream of the sunny days of summer 2011. OK, it wasn’t the windiest of years, but we got our fill last season thanks to some versatile Starboard stand-up paddleboards.
SUPsailing, windSUPing, or just old-school windsurfing – call it what you like, one thing’s for sure: it’s a lot of fun on a warm summer’s day in light winds. Their 12’ waterlines mean they glide satisfyingly well in light airs so are a pleasure just to sail about on, but as there’s so much volume in these designs they’re also great for polishing up on your technique if the wind’s not blowing. Chuck on a 5.5-6m rig and they offer a stable platform to try all manner of sail-spinning trickery that can only be good for your muscle memory and high-wind sailing.
Before the advent of super-wide, super-stable beginners’ boards, we all learnt to windsurf on boards similar to these. So they offer a nostalgic ride for many. And for anyone who’s learnt to windsurf more recently, getting into SUPsailing offers a whole new world of light-wind sailing. Forget about trying to get planing when the wind’s light – even forget the harness if you want to – and just enjoy cruising around and trying new tricks.
Thanks to Mike Horsfall, here’s a movie from a session towards the end of last summer. Filmed with a GoPro attached to the luff-tube with Mike’s Magic Mast-Mount – available for £25 exclusively from Wet’n’Dry Boardsports!
Earlier this year Dave White paid us another one of his regular visits, this time with digicam in hand to record a quick guided tour around our Wet’n'Dry store in Sadlers Farm. So – starring Jamie, Al and Graham (and not forgetting our shiny new hot chocolate / tea / coffee machine!) – here’s Whitey’s Wet’n'Dry walkabout…
There can’t be too many around the beaches of Britain that haven’t at least heard of Dave White, but as it the way of legend there’s plenty more to windsurfing’s widest Essex boy than meets the eye! So here’s five things you might not know about the Mighty Whitey…
1. Way back in the day, before starting Wet’n'Dry Boardsports, our very own Graham Dodds was the first in the country to spot Whitey’s potential. In the early nineties Graham set Dave up with his first sponsorship deal for HyLine Sails, kitting him out with ‘Sotavento Speed’ sails and signing his first windsurfing paycheque.
2. Although best known for his speedsailing – he’s a former World Champ, and widely associated with Southend’s world-famous speedstrip on the Ray – nowadays Dave’s main passion is wavesailing. He won the masters fleet at the BWA Ireland event in Brandon Bay last season, and was spotted throwing double forwards on his latest trip to Maui…
3. Despite having spent decades as Britain’s biggest windsurfing evangelist, Dave doesn’t limit his boardsport exploits to boardsailing. He’s more likely to be kitesurfing these days if it’s marginal, you’ll see him out on his SUP if there’s no wind, or away snowboarding when it’s just too cold!
4. Dave’s still a long way from hanging up his harness just yet, but there’s already a new generation of Mighty Whitey waiting in the wings: oldest son Reece is still in his teens but is already a fully-qualified windsurfing and SUP instructor, and has recently been spotted charging down the Ray with his dad’s trademark full-power style.
5. Having originally been the face of F2 / Arrows in the UK, then Tabou / Gaastra before a spell as the esteemed editor of BOARDS Magazine, Dave’s now supplying Wet’n'Dry with RRD boards, kites and sails. Come and check out his latest delivery of RRD windsurfing and kiting goodness in store at www.wetndryboardsports.com
Summer 2012′s here at last, and there’s no better time to get into the rapidly growing sport of stand-up paddleboarding (a.k.a. paddlesurfing, or SUP for short). Initially seen as a light wind alternative to windsurfing, paddling has quickly extended its appeal well beyond windsports. It’s a low cost, hassle-free introduction to watersports. A great way of keeping in shape, it works your core, improves strength and conditioning, and even cardiovascular fitness. But equally, it’s a mellow way to unwind, improve your balance and board skills, and simply have some fun out on the water.
If you’re thinking of giving paddlesurfing a go this summer, here’s how to: our three steps to SUP heaven…
1 – Get Kitted Out
One of the joys of SUP is its simplicity – all you need is a board and a paddle and you’re ready to go… (And if you don’t have them already, you might also appreciate a wetsuit if the water’s cold, and a surf-leash to attach to your board.) Wet’n'Dry stock two of the UK’s biggest board brands and have some top value recommendations for typical Essex conditions.
The 2012 Starboard Atlas 12′ in super-tough Slick construction is a great family or beginner’s board, yet also a very competent flat-water cruiser offering effortless glide. 33″ wide, it has a full soft deckpad, high-density PVA rails, and will accept a windsurfing mastbase.
The 2012 Starboard Whopper 10′, also in super-tough Slick construction, is short enough to fit into most vans yet super-stable at 34″ wide. While perfectly at home for beginners on flat water and still windsurf-capable, it offers good crossover into waves and surfing.
Or if space is tight, take a look at the Red Paddle Co Eleven Air – an 11′ inflatable paddleboard that’s easy to store, totally ding-proof and perfect for travelling, yet with surprisingly good performance.
2 – Choose Your Moment
Ideally pick a calm, sunny day, and flat water. There are dozens of paddle spots within 20-minutes of Wet’n'Dry Boardsports near Basildon: the sea, lakes, rivers, canals… Basically, wherever there’s water you can paddle it. You can SUP when it’s windy, but (just like riding a bike) it’s a lot easier if it’s not blowing. Once you’re comfortable on a board, you’ll soon be paddling in choppier water, waves, and even surf: at breaks all around Britain, paddlesurfers catch way more waves than regular surfers!
3 – Stand Up and Paddle!
If you’re used to boardsports, it could be as simple as that. But even if you’ve never stood on a board in your life, within half an hour you should be happy paddling around. To begin with, kneel in the middle of the board, take a few strokes to get going, and find your balance. Once moving, get to your feet, stand tall, and keep paddling. Change sides every few strokes to stay in a straight line, keep paddling on one side to turn. With a bit of instruction, you’ll soon learn more advanced paddling, stance and turning techniques – click here for details of SUP Tuition at Wet’n'Dry Boardsports and check out this basics movie from John Hibbard at SUP UK.
SUP is different things to different people. For many it’s enough just to get out onto the water more regularly. Others do it as part of their fitness regime: paddling will improve your core stability, provide a full body workout, and cardiovascular session all in one – and you can work as hard (or easy) as you like. Once you’re happy on a board, you can cruise a little further afield: maybe paddle up to the pub, plan a route around an island, or if the tide’s out go seal-spotting in estuary? If you want to get competitive, the British Stand Up Paddle Association run a whole series of race events around the country. Or if you want to get into the surf, catching and riding waves is so much easier when you’re already standing up…
Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea is the most popular beach for kitesurfing in North Essex. It has a series of four large sandy sheltered bays which offer the perfect conditions for all kitesurfers regardless of their level. Martello Bay is a designated watersports area meaning the beach is always well maintained and has plenty of space to safely launch and land your kite. The water is clean and is often awarded a blue flag status. Tidal waters mean that kitesurfers can enjoy varied conditions. Low to mid tide gives the rider flat, calm and shallow waters with some fun kickers to play with. This period lasts approximately 6 hours with water depth around waist height so perfect for beginners and other riders practising new tricks. Local kitesurfing school Zenith Kiting run by Matty Hurrell provides kitesurfing lessons in Martello Bay and other surrounding areas in Essex. They are a friendly team and are well know at the beach. Zenith Kiting are very approachable and are willing to help anyone from either un-tangling lines, launching, landing or showing new riders other local spots. They also work with the largest kitesurfing shop in Essex, Wet ‘n’ Dry Boardsports. They team up nicely organising different events and demo days in the season providing a fun vibe for everyone. Contact Matty if you have any questions about the area.
Prevailing south westerly winds provides Clacton clean cross-shore winds and is often around 20 knots. Other directions which work are WSW, S, SE, E and NEE. Best wind directions are anything with south in it and are usually the warmest winds. In the warmer months sea breezes are more common fuelling some epic late afternoon/evening sessions.
Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea offers one of the biggest beaches in Essex which makes it perfect for kitesurfing however riders should always use common sense when launching, landing and riding. Hazards include the usual such as sea walls and sea defences such as rocks. The bays are big enough to accommodate a good amount of riders without anyone having to sail to close to these hazards. On low water a storm drainage pipe is revealed in the first bay. Please ask a local rider where this exactly is if you’re not sure. Riders should also be careful with dog walkers and other beach users.
Free parking is available along the sea wall (park and ride!), however if spaces are full there is a pay and display car park nearby.
Selsey Av, Martello Bay, Clacton-on-sea, Essex CO15 1NQ
From M25 – At junction 28, take the A12/A1023 exit to Chelmsford/Romford/Brentwood, Merge onto A12, Exit A120 after around 40mi, Slight left toward Colchester Rd/A133, At the roundabout, take the 1st exit onto Colchester Rd/A133, At the roundabout, take the 3rd exit ontoA133, go through 4 round abouts, Turn right onto Marine Parade E Go through 1 roundabout, Turn left onto Hastings Ave.
One of the best secret spots in Essex for Windsurfing is Marconi’s Sailing Club along the Blackwater Estuary. This is usually a members only sailing club, but any visiting Windsurfers are welcome to sail at any time. On arrival, stop at the front gates. Walk to the windsurfers rigging area and a member will be more then happy to show you around and let you in. Parking is free, and there is a large grass rigging area within meters of the shoreline. There is a large clubhouse on site, which at weekends has a full bar and cafe. There are also hot showers and large male and female changing rooms. The windsurf members have access to their own rescue boat, making the location worry free, especially throughout the winter months.
Directly across from Marconi’s, is Osea Island and at low tide there is flat, shallow water on both sides. There is a deep Channel in the middle where you can get large ramps, which are great for jumping. This is an awesome spot for Freestyle windsurfing, Bump N Jump or just free-riding.
You can windsurf here in any wind direction, but South round to West is best on an incoming tide. The wind gets accelerated in this direction through the land and between the Island and the mainland, giving up to an extra 5 knts. Sailing from Southeast to Northeast is best on an outgoing tide. North westerly are sailable, but sailing across to the opposite side of the Estuary the conditions are epic. Northerlies are also sailable here, being one of the few places in Essex that are. At low tide sailing across to Osea Island, there is a spit of sand that gives mirror flat water even in 4-meter weather.
Coming clockwise around the M25 leave at junction 28 A12. Follow the signs to Chelmsford / Harwich. Leave the A12 at the Maldon junction and follow signs to Maldon. Go through the village of Danbury until you reach a roundabout. Take the second exit (straight over) signposted Burnham / Latchingdon. Follow a winding road until you reach a T-junction – at which turn right, still following signs to Burnham. Follow the road to a mini-roundabout and turn left, still following the signs to Burnham / Latchingdon.
In Latchingdon you will come to a fork. Take the left fork (signposted Bradwell / Maylandsea) and follow the road for about 10 minutes until you reach the village of Steeple. Go through the village and just outside it, you will find a small turn on the left called Stansgate Road. Take this left turn and follow the lane all the way to its end where you will find Marconi Sailing Club.
Most people over look the importance of first layer… And a heck of a lot of people don’t realise how much technology goes into first layer. Let’s face it, it’s because they look like pyjamas.
But please tell me, who wants to feel cold? Yeah, a good quality breathable snowboard jacket is great, and yeah throw on a couple of t-shirts to layer up… But when you’ve been shredding the hill hard and sweating you’ll get cold on a chair lift sitting still!
Let’s blame cotton. The most common substitute for first layer is made out of cotton. As soon as cotton clothing gets wet, its insulation capacities are lost and it stays wet throughout. It gets soaked and then freezes, alas; it makes you chilly and ruins your day of riding!
Burton, Dakine, Nikita and Volcom are very clever and use synthetic materials such as polypropylene in their first layer clothing. Burton first layer is made with DRYRIDE Ultrawick™ fabric. It is scientifically engineered to pull heat robbing moisture away from your skin and propels it through your layers. Not to mention most snowboarding first layer also doesn’t just keep you dry, it’s comfortable and looks awesome underneath your jacket.
In addition to all of that, guys Volcom has hit the nail on the head with its ‘Onezie’ stylesuit to guarantee you warmth and dry skin. It also has a hood to seal the deal, but not that sealed, it does have a bum pouch for those who have to drop the kids off at the pool….
Another main area for windsurfing is Thorpe Bay. This is situated about two miles east of the Southend Pier near Thorp Bay Yatch Club.
Parking is next to a large green area on the other side of the road to the beach.
There are steps going down to the beach opposite the parking.
Thorpe Bay beach is a good sailing area for all levels, but in the summer months there are boats moored out off the beach. This can be a problem when the winds from the south at high tide. These club boats come out early November and are back in the water around April.
Nearest postcode SS1 3NP
At Thorpe Bay you can windsurf around three and a half hours either side of high tide.
However it can vary depending on spring or neap tides and low and high pressure. Thorpe Bay is a great place to sail 2 hours after high tide when the water is waist deep and flat. This state of the tide is popular with windsurfers who are learning to water start or gybe or in the winter months when it’s cold.
There are no banks or shallow parts, however it is a very long walk back if you leave it too long before returning to the beach.
Best wind for Thorpe Bay
SW Thorpe Bay faces slightly SW so tends to be a bit on shore on a SW wind direction it can also be quite rough on windy days at high tide. As the tide goes out you can get some great sailing as the water flattens off.
S or SE is a good direction for Thorpe Bay, great as the tide goes out with long runs and steady winds.
W wind is a good direction on an incoming tide. This can be good for jumps when it gets windy.
When the tide goes out at Chalkwell it exposes the Ray. This channel runs from east to west from Southend Pier to the Two Tree Island at distance of around 2.5 miles. This channel when very windy has some of the flattest water for speed sailing in the world and has hosted many speed sailing contest with windsurfers coming from all over the world to compete on this natural speed strip.
Wet n Dry team sailors and World Production Speed Sailing Champion and Essex boy Dave White are out on the windiest days of the year trying for a world record!
The key to the flat water is the far side of the Ray bank, which curves cleanly in to the water allowing you to sail very close to the edge in flat water.
From the beach it’s about a 10 min walk out to the Ray along a path to the left of the beach as you look out. The path starts at the Crowstone marker and goes over a small bridge to the Ray gut, which runs in to Leigh-on-Sea. From the gut it’s a short walk to the Ray.
Nearest postcode SS0 8JH
You can windsurf around 3 hours either side of low tide. Most sailors sail out and walk in or walk out and sail in. When sailing around before the Ray is exposed watch out for shallow banks, these move around every year so its best to sail the Ray at low tide only until you know where the shallow banks are. This also applies to the Ray itself, it tends to shallow at the pier end!
Best winds for the Ray
S or SE is a good direction for blasting up and down on big sail and small boards or sailing Freestyle kit. You get long runs along the western end of the Ray towards Leigh-on-Sea.
SW or W is a great direction for speed sailing and blasting along the eastern end of the Ray passed the dogleg, which is about half way. The fastest for speed sailing is towards the Western end of the Ray on a SW swinging West wind. This gives you the broadest coarse close to the bank.
For more info on windsurfing at the Ray please call 01268 569988.
Chalkwell has become the hub of most of the Windsurfing that takes place in the Southend area, as it has become the base of Essex Windsurfing Club.
Chalkwell has a nice friendly vibe with windsurfers out most days.
This spot is good for beginner, intermediate and advanced windsurfers.
Wet n Dry team and staff are often there to help you out if you have any problems.
Plenty of parking in front of the rigging area, however on very sunny days and school holidays it can get busy.
Rigging is on a large green in front of the beach. (which is managed and leased by Essex Windsurf Club).
Non-members are welcome to use the rigging green although membership to the club is only £10 per year!
Nearest postcode SS0 8JH
You can windsurf 3 hours either side of high tide, however it can varies depending on spring and neap tides and low and high pressure. If not sure please feel free to give the shop a ring on 01268 569988.
Best Winds for Chalkwell Beach
SW. (Cross on from the left) This is the prevailing wind direction and probably the most common. This direction can offer some great blasting, it tends to flatten off with the tide going out. Best sailing is with tide coming in.
S. (On Shore) This direction can be good however at hi tide can be a bit confused with large chop near the beach. It’s also a good idea to rig a bit bigger because there can be bit of a wind shadow and you need to sail upwind to get out.
West. (Cross shore from the right) Best on an incoming tide, the water tends to flatten off as the tide turns. Westerly can swing NW as a weather front comes through.
NW. (Cross off from the right) This direction can be a bit gusty however it tends to flatten the water off which is great for fast sailing up towards Leigh-on-Sea. Some of my best days windsurfing have been in this direction. Rig for the lulls the flat water helps hold down a big rig.
E and SE (Cross shore and Cross on from the left) we very rarely get this direction, mainly in the spring as a sea breeze. Or when a high-pressure system moves in. On very hot days it can really pick up late in the afternoon as London warms up and pulls the cool air in from the North Sea. Best on an out going tide.