Swanwick (River Hamble) SUP
From the bustle of the working end of the river to the peaceful meanders in the countryside further up the Hamble.
≈ Quick Facts:
- River Name: River Hamble
- What is the distance: 3.4 miles each way
- How long does it take: One and a half hours each way
- Shelter from wind: Any direction if light
- Best Tide: Start on incoming tide 2 hours before high tide in Warsash
- Pay To Park: No / but limited space on sunny days
- Parking Distance: 5 seconds walk
- Do you pay to launch: No, There’s a public slipway
- SUP Rental: No
- Wildlife: General river birds and mullet surfacing
- Eat & Drink: Restaurants & pubs
- Toilets: No
- Hazards: Powerful outgoing & incoming tide (it is essential to get the tide right). Some form of footwear is needed for visiting the pubs (I take flip flops).
≈ Location Guide:
Where to park and launch a SUP in Swanwick
Head for Swanwick Shore Road, there are 35 free car parking spaces. When it gets busy people tend to park at the top of the slipway. On nice days it can be tricky to get a space and the surrounding area does not have parking.
Be careful with the tides!
If you get the tides wrong as a strong outgoing tide will make this trip near impossible. I got it wrong once and tried to paddle against the flow which resulted in an exhausting paddle covering only one mile over ground in 45 minutes. It is essential that you set off 2 hours before high tide as this will assist you up the river. If the tide is running downstream don’t be tempted to head south towards Hamble unless you have planned for the tidal flow as it is highly likely that this will be a one way trip.
What is there to see heading NORTH?
You are paddle boarding North on this route. The start of the route sets off travelling past Swanwick Marina and the river sweeps right past The Jolly Sailor pub on the left. I tend to stop here for some refreshment on my return trip. I would suggest wearing something appropriate if stopping for food, in my case I have a stable board so I jump straight on after work in my chinos and shirt which enables me to fit in with the yachties.
Just after the pub there are often some nice classic yachts moored on the left of the river which are worth a look.
Continuing north under a road bridge will be the point at which it is essential you have the correct tide times (if you have made a mistake only the fittest riders will be able to get past this point and you may notice the standing waves under the bridge). Past the bridge you will see a series of house boats on the left, be careful to take the central channel otherwise you will be blocked by the pontoons. Head under the motorway bridge, this part of the trip has to be endured but please embrace it as it is worth the peace of the countryside north of this. Leave the pontoons to your right after the bridge and then continue up the river into the tranquillity of the countryside.
I was lucky enough to be greeted by a beautiful rainbow as I passed under the motorway so I took the opportunity to hop onto the bank and capture it.
On the first meander you will see the Manor Farm Pontoon which is a convenient place to get off if you need to stretch your legs. Manor Farm is a historic working farm with a country park. The pontoon is situated on one of the surrounding country park walks where there are benches dotted around if you wish to stop for a picnic.
The route continues meandering north for quite some time. At any point riders can turn around if they are restricted on time or endurance. Continuing you will reach a fork in the river.
Take the right fork and head up Curbridge Creek. This is a photo that I took about half way up the creek showing its quite commonly glassy waters only to be broke every now and again by the surfacing fish.
If you keep following you will come to the turning point as the small bridge crosses the river. This is the location of the Horse and Jockey pub, which is well worth a visit for a pint.
On your return journey ensure you turn left out of Curbridge Creek heading the way you came from unless you are feeling ambitious. There is an extension that can be done by heading right out of the Creek. This is a pleasant ride but remember that it is a 3.4 mile paddle back on the normal route.
Jonnie is located in Warsash and has been paddling since 2009. He enjoys the peace and tranquility that paddling offers when the wind does not allow for kitesurfing. Being a real explorer, he is devoted to SUPing creeks, caves, rapids and always wondering what’s around the next corner.