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Watersport to enjoy on the Dorset coast

PUBLISHED: 16:05 21 August 2015 | UPDATED: 16:05 21 August 2015

Kayaking at Old Harry Rocks with Fore Adventure

Kayaking at Old Harry Rocks with Fore Adventure


From kitesurfing to yoga on a paddleboard, there are a myriad of ways to get out on the water this summer. Abigail Butcher rounds up some of the best along the Dorset coast

Kitesurfing in Poole with PosidonKitesurfing in Poole with Posidon

Sea air is good for our wellbeing, charged with negative ions that speed up our ability to absorb oxygen; it also helps to balance levels of serotonin, the chemical in our bodies linked to mood and stress. Being outside while exercising is guaranteed to put a smile on anyone’s face — provided you have the appropriate clothing — and research has shown that the sound of waves lulls us into a state of relaxation by altering the patterns in our brain. What’s not to like?

To find out more about locally based water sports and coastal activites visit



Not into the adrenalin buzz? Then kayaking is an easy, low-impact way of improving your fitness out on the water. It’s not guaranteed that you’ll stay dry, but you’re highly unlikely to fall in - and there’s no danger of being trapped if you stick to the easier sit-on kayaks provided by Fore Adventure who run all sorts of kayaking activities from Studland Beach. These guys are qualified to the hilt and really know their stuff - as well as being passionate about the marine environment - so there’s no better place to give it a try.

Owner, Dan Scott runs kayak tours to Old Harry Rocks most weekends, he also offers courses such as an introduction to kayak fishing, kayak seashore foraging and kayak snorkel safaris on a regular basis. The company can also organise bespoke adventures for private groups.

Prices start from £50 for a half day. More details 01929 450430 or visit


Where better to learn to kitesurf than on “kite beach” in the middle Sandbanks. This area of Poole Harbour is too shallow for sailing or windsurfing, but perfect for kiting.

Founded by former pro kitesurfer Chris Burke in 2013, Poseidon Kiteschool on Banks Road offers everything from two-hour taster sessions to one-to-one crammer courses to get you up and surfing the wind. “You don’t need to be incredibly fit or strong to learn to kitesurf,” says Chris, “but you do need to be driven to learn something new because it’s a steep learning curve. After two days you can go away and kitesurf alone, but you need to be comfy in the water as you will be dragged around a bit.”

Want to have a go? Poseidon provides all the kit you need, including wetsuits. Two-hour taster sessions cost £50, and the two-day course £210. For more details visit their wesbite or call 0777 237 0007

Stand-up paddleboarding

An ancient form of surfing that originated from Hawaii, stand-up paddleboarding (or SUP) is not only fun but also surprisingly good exercise. An hour of ferocious paddling can burn up to 1,000 calories and engages almost the entire body, toning the core and abdominal muscles, arms and legs. Because the surface on which you are standing is unstable, you use your core to stabilise your body, once you get the hang of it SUP is an excellent cardiovascular activity, too. There are a number of businesses offering SUP including Jurassic Coast Activities which operates SUP safaris, lessons and hire (along with wetsuits) from Lulworth Cove, Overcombe Beach near Weymouth and Portland Harbour. For more details visit or 01305 834951.

If you really get into the sport you should try SUP Yoga or SUP Fitness (a low impact workout). There are a number of classes run by Zoe Lee, a renowned Ashtanga Yoga teacher based in Bournemouth ( Zoe teaches SUP Yoga sessions every Wednesday (6.15-7.15pm) and Saturday 8-9am and SUP Fitness 9.15 - 10.15am at the Watersports Academy in Banks Road. Cost £15 per person includes equipment, wetsuit and tuition. To book call 01202 708283. You can see more on the Facebook page SUP-Yoga Bournemouth.


The Andrew Simpson Sailing Centre at the Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy runs every type of sailing course under the sun. Whatever your age, ability or inclination, you can learn to sail here with expert tuition.

The sailing centre, opened in May 2014 in memory of Olympic and America’s Cup sailor Andrew “Bart” Simpson who died in a sailing accident, runs everything from summer camps for kids through to instructor training, all taught by Royal Yachting Association (RYA) instructors.

“As long as you are over five years of age, anybody can get in a boat,” explains sailing instructor Rosie Bain. “We have boats that are fast, boats that will keep you stable and ones you can sail alone or in groups — you name it, we have it.”

For more details call 01305 457400 or visit

Open water swimming

This is the ‘big trend’ for 2015, and very different from swimming in a heated indoor pool so it pays to know the risks before you start. Though you should always swim with others, open water swimmers need to know how to read the tides, manage their body temperature and know how their body will work in cold water, as well as the best times and places to swim.

ASA-accredited coach Kate Mason teaches beginners through to English Channel swimmers from Weymouth and Portland where she lives and trains herself. “Open water swimming is great and gets everyone involved,” says Kate, who has swum the English Channel solo as well as completed several ironman events. “It gives you a sense of freedom in the water that a pool just doesn’t offer.”

Kate runs small group training sessions, open water swim courses and one-to-ones. Prices start from £5. For more details call 0790 0604445 or visit her website



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