Are you looking for your next Welsh SUP Adventure?
Photo Credit - Janine Wales
Today we discuss the beautiful Welsh SUP route of Stackpole Quay to Barafundle Bay.
This route is an excellent coastal adventure for those that have begun their Stand Up Paddle journeys, perhaps had a few lessons on sheltered bays, paddled inland a few times, perhaps tried a slow-moving river and now want to progress onto the coast...where better to start than in beautiful Pembrokeshire, South West Wales.
Image of Stackpole Quay at low tide
The stunning 'Mediterranean Style Beach' of Barafundle Bay cannot be reached directly by a vehicle, there is a 20-minute walk from Stackpole National Trust Car Park. The car park we reference is situated near the Boathouse Tea Room, and costs only £6 for the full day (*cash only), or if lucky enough to be a National Trust
member you can park here for free. You'll be happy to hear there are also pre & post paddle refreshments on site and restroom facilities too.
Image of Barafundle Bay on Ebbing Tide
As paddlers, we say why walk? when we can 'paddle', and that's exactly what you can do by launching from Stackpole Quay to SUP around to Barafundle Bay.
Our team suggests paddling 1 hour before high water and allocating 2 hours to paddle around and back.
SUP Wales also recommends that you paddle with a companion, and hold two forms of flotation such as the Leash attached from the board to the ankle, calf or waist, and also a Buoyancy Aid.
We've illustrated a map of the location to help you get your bearings below.
Stackpole Quay Car Park Postcode - SA71 5LS
It's such a beautiful route to SUP as you hug the coast with intriguing geology and plenty of caves to explore along the way, not to mention the majestic marine life you should see.
Photo Credit - Alice Lawrence
Just make sure you have your phone in a waterproof case with you to capture the magical moments, or more importantly in an emergency to calmly dial 112 or 999 and ask for the Coastguard.
Photo credit - Clare Rutter
Planning is Key
For any SUP Adventure within the coastal environment planning is paramount to reduce risk and maximise self-safety.
It is useful to study and understand the Beaufort Scale for which we've provided a handy table for you to refer back to below:
Once you've mastered the table, we'd recommend 'check and check again' a minimum of three weather applications to gain a better handle on what the weather forecast might be for the route you have in mind. You'll need to get in the habit of checking the night before, and then performing a 2nd check on the day you want to paddle. Beaufort Force 0-2 is generally ok, even 3, however, it all comes down to competency, awareness and understanding of the conditions you can paddle in, and how to read the environment.
Weather resources such as:
Windy, XC Weather Windguru, Met Office, Meteoblue, Tide Times or MSW
are all useful to compare and contrast meteorological components such as wind speed/gusts, wind direction, wave height, swell distance etc.
To learn more on the formation of each feel free to check out our Wind, Wave and Swells & Tidal Formation articles.
We cannot stress enough how important it is to plan one paddle throw ahead of the weather to help mitigate risk and promote SUP safely. Ultimately, if you do have doubts, just don't go out and seek professional guidance instead.
Remember to live the Paddleboarding experience for the right reasons.
We wish you fun, safe & happy paddling in beautiful Wales!
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