The nice weather and good tides brought out the paddlers this weekend with Lepe Beach being the favoured launch point. Having previously only met a couple other paddlers at the beach I was really suprised to pull in to the car park and find a whole row of cars with padded roof bars, j-bars and uprights.

The New Forest Canoe Club were just launching on a trip to Newtown Creek, Lymington and back. Hamble Canoe Club had only recently departed for the Beaulieu River and a couple of keen ladies were setting off for Bucklers Hard.

Peter - SOT off Cowes

Peter - SOT off Cowes

I opted to cross to the Isle of Wight by Gunnard then fight the tide up to Cowes. Stopping on the Sea front for a coffee and the much needed chocolate I watched a sit on top kayak work it’s way towards me. The paddler, Peter, stopped for a chat and we spent an enjoyable few minutes comparing kit, experiences and common paddling acquaintances.

He had caught the Sea Kayaking bug when attending one of Owen Burson’s courses at IOW Sea Kayaking. He had nothing but praise for Owen and the team and decided to take up paddling. His family had stumped up the money for a christmas present and he had picked up a second hand sit on top, paddles and other equipment from Island Kayaks – the shop part of IOW Sea Kayaking.

Strip built Sea Kayak

Strip built Sea Kayak

My return to Lepe was a quick affair. I aimed off at the Calshot chimneys and threaded my way through the plethora of sailing boats enjoying the wind. The tide was moving fast allowing me to ferry glide across the 2.5 mile stretch between Cowes & Lepe landing on the beach as the Ladies I had watched launch earlier returned from Bucklers Hard.

We spent an enjoyable half hour trading stories and experiences, along with some delicious ‘Indian Sweets’. Penny, one of the ladies had a wealth of paddling experience and some fantastic stories. We swapped contact details – and if you are reading Penny – the link to the Sea Kayak With Gordon Brown DVD should be on the right of this webpage: hugely recommended!

Hamble Canoe Club

Hamble Canoe Club

I started loading up the boat and looking out to the Western Solent saw Hamble Canoe Club returning, led by a beautiful strip built wooden sea kayak.

All in all a fantastic days paddle, enhanced by the opportunity to meet so many other paddlers and chewing the fat on this fantastic pastime of ours.