A day’s Paddleboarding Adventure in Porthcawl, South Wales (with dolphins!).
After waiting all summer for the wind to calm down enough for us to paddle our eagerly awaited ‘Porthcawl & Chips Paddle’ we were very excited when the tides and forecast winds lined up perfectly for a day’s paddleboarding.
So what if the forecast said? We were determined to get out for a paddle! If anything, this meant the car park and beach would be quieter!
I called the coastguard to let them know we were going for a paddle and spoke to the Lifeguards on duty at Rest Bay before heading down onto the beach.
There were some medium-sized waves to deal with on our way out, so we tried to time our paddle out between the breakers but they were nice and frequent so we ended up having a great time ploughing through the surf to get out beyond the break!
Once past the white water crashing around and over us we took a good breather and sat in the gentle swell to get our breaths back and stop laughing!
We paddled out to look at some debris which was gathering offshore, an unexplained, huge amount of branches and seaweed, slowly floating along
(the lifeguards were telling me they thought one of the large trees might be a paddleboarder until they got their binoculars out!).
Go with the Flow…
The tide was flowing up the Bristol Channel so we made good progress along the shoreline, chatting and enjoying the cloudless skies and gentle tailwind pushing us southeast along the coastline towards Porthcawl Sea Front.
The conditions were so perfect, and the flow and wind moving us along so nicely, we stopped and drifted, taking in the stunning rocky scenery, flat calm waters and amazing houses overlooking the sea.
That was when I saw something come out of the water, about 100 meters away, out towards the floating debris. At first, I thought it was a tree stump rolling in the gentle swell, but it had a mysteriously fin-shaped quality to it… could it be…? There it was again! No mistaking it this time ‘- that was definitely a dolphin! Making sure it wasn’t my imagination I called to the group; ‘Look! amongst the debris, there’s a dolphin!’. I could tell the group members weren’t convinced, but a few seconds later another fin broke the water! And another! What an amazing sight, totally unexpected and such a wonderful thing to see!
We carried on past Porthcawl Sea Front, chatting excitedly about the fins (and how they were dolphins, not porpoises as the fin was curved) and taking a wide berth around the breakwater and Porthcawl Lighthouse to avoid the anglers’ lines.
As we’d made such good time from Rest Bay to this point we decided it wasn’t time for our chippy break yet, so we carried on paddling across Sandy Bay and Trecco Bay towards Newton Point.
We rounded Newton Point and took the opportunity to enjoy some ‘rock-hopping’ between the rocks sticking out of the water just inside Newton Beach bay.
Hunger has now well and truly set in, so it’s time to head towards Sandy Bay and the promise of chips on the beach!
After stuffing ourselves with some delicious chips and letting the food settle a bit, we boarded our craft again and set off on our return journey to Rest Bay.
We’d timed the trip perfectly, so we were now riding the outgoing tide back to our egress, and the wind had dropped completely, leaving a glassy surface to the sea. The sun was beginning to lower itself through the sky and we were treated to some stunning and spectacular views and reflections.
We got back to Rest Bay with plenty of time to spare, so decided to carry on towards Pink Bay Beach, just soaking in the chilled-out environment and peace and quiet.
We paddled back to Rest Bay and couldn’t help but take advantage of the lovely crisp waves crashing on the shore. After a brief tutorial on how to land in the surf, we rode a wave in, found a rock to leave our bags on and headed back out to play in the surf!
Despite being pretty tired, we caught some great surf and had an awesome end to the day – those that had stayed dry all day were dry no longer!
Perfect weather, flat seas, dolphins, chips, great company, topped off with some fun in the surf: it was definitely a successful day’s paddle, certainly one of the best paddles I’ve been on this year, possibly since starting Outdoor Explore Wales!
If you want to join one of our epic paddle trips visit www.outdoorexplore.wales/book and see what we have coming up!
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