Last Summer, we had the good fortune to attend a sailing event in Exmouth on the Jurassic Coast and one of the oldest and most picturesque seaside towns in Devon. Situated on the south-east coast of Devon where the River Exe meets the sea, Exmouth enjoys a unique position with amazing estauary and sea views on two sides, as well as the town and countryside looking inland. Exmouth has the longest seafront in Devon and Cornwall along two miles of golden sand, rare on this coast, with fascinating rock pools to explore, making it perfect for family holidays, beachcombers and walkers alike.
It’s also known as a regional centre for watersports and, with a new watersports centre, Sideshore, completed in early 2021, plus plenty of restaurants, cafés and amenities along the Esplanade, the seafront is an incredible place to visit. Here are the top 10 watersports to enjoy on your visit to Exmouth.
(Note that although Exmouth is blessed with being one of the best natural locations for watersports, having the calmer Exe Estuary on one side and the sea on the other, extra care should be taken when out in open sea due to the strong tides in the area. Before embarking on any watersport, seek guidance from a local expert to find out more about conditions in the area.)
Exe Sailing Club is an RYA-Accredited Training Centre, offering courses covering the RYA scheme, in addition to holding regional and national events at various times of the year. We were there for the RS 200 Nationals, one of the most competitive adult fleets on the UK circuit.
Ben Rhodes, Stevie Morrison and Joe Glanfield all started their sailing careers at this club and went on to become Olympic sailors.
Emerging from the Californian surf culture in the 1970s, this sport will give your whole body a workout whilst you’re at one with the wind and water. Exmouth Watersports is a registered RYA centre that teachers everyone from beginners to the advanced.
Exmouth is also home to Team Bridge, a family of elite-level kitesurfers who boast countless World and European titles between them. Mum Steph is a five-times Kite World Champion and, when not competing, she and her husband Eric offer kitesurfing lessons from their base at Edge Watersports.
Look out for the Edge Race Cup, held each year, becoming an increasingly important event in preparation for the Paris 2024 Olympics, which is set to include kitesurfing for the first time.
This hydrofoiling evolution of windsurfing is the most up and coming watersport. It’s really taken off, quite literally, thanks to its simplicity: simple gear without lines or harnesses. Edge Watersports has been wingsurfing from the beginning and has some fo the most experienced coaches in the country.
Wakeboarding/ waterskiing and inflatable rides
Exewake are a British Water Ski and Wakeboard accredited school operating in the calm water surrounded by stunning scenery. They offer tuition for groups and individuals of all ages and abilities.
Kayaking is a great way to explore the Exe Estuary. There are two Exmouth-based companies offering tuition or safari tours of the Jurassic Coast – Exmouth Watersports and Sea Kayak Exmouth.
Stand-up paddle boarding
This watersport born from surfing with modern roots in Hawaii has gained enormous popularity in recent years. Edge Watersports and Exmouth Watersports both offer taste sessions, SUP safaris and paddleboard rental if you want to give it a go. The annual Exe Hammer Paddle is a popular 12 km race/regatta with participants paddling between Topsham and Exmouth and is great for spectators.
Exmouuth has two rowing clubs – Exmouth Gig Rowing Club and Exmouth Rowing Club. Exmouth Gig Rowing Club rows traditional, 34-foot long, bright orange, Cornish pilot gig boats. They take a cox and six rowers, each with a 13-foot long oar. Used in the past to row pilots out to visiting ships off the rugged south-west coast, the pilot that reached the ship first won the contract and so coule pay his crew. These days you can see boats out on the estuary either just enjoying the exercise or training for the next regatta.
On the beach, Exmouth Rowing Club’s boats attract a great deal of attention and provide the town with both a sporting and visual amenity. During training sessions, they row in stable 220kg offshore rowing boats. These allow new members to learn the rowing technique quickly and easily, as well as provide great resistance for training. For members wishing to take rowing to the next level, the club participates in both fine boat river races (Olympic-style rowing) and offshore rowing races in their two FSA approved, faster, lighter offshore boats.
Open water swimming
Thanks to funding from Wild Exmouth, a 10-week adult wild swimming course runs during the main season, from July to September. It’s an opportunity for adults to enjoy the benefits of open water swimming with the support of qualified trainers and lifeguards. A similar 6-week courses runs for under-18s. In both cases, participants are expected to be able to swim 100 metres out of their depth.
There are two fishing charter companies operating from Exmouth Marina – Exe Fishing and Tiger Charters. They both offer mackerel and reef fishing tribs during the Summer months that everyone can enjoy.