Stand Up Paddle Surfing the Bitches

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Friday, 16 May 2008 14:18

The Bitches Stand Up Paddle SurfingMatt Smith from Gower SUP has always been a hardcore surfer, and he is now taking SUP to new levels, and new locations in the UK.  A well known Kayaking spot in Pembrokeshire was his recent target on account of its standing wave, known as the Bitches.

 

I had heard of the spot but had not personally seen it, so I got straight onto youtube to find some video footage so I could be mentally prepared. There are plenty of fishermen’s tales about ‘The Bitches’ and some which misrepresent what is out there - for better or worse. It is rare for a first time Bitcher to come back having experienced what they were expecting. For those dragged along ‘because it’s good for you’, eyes may still be out on stalks, whilst hardened big water paddlers maybe relieved at the lack of mermaids snatching at their decks.

The Bitches Stand Up Paddle Surfing

In short it is a standing wave caused by the fast flowing tides funnelled between the mainland and Ramsey island in Pembrokeshire.

Kayakers have been surfing it for years however we believe we were the first ever to Stand up paddle surf it and it was a really exhilarating experience and so much fun. We actually cheated and got a ride out to the spot in a Zapcat but the hardcore kayakers will paddle from the mainland and information on how to, when and where can be found at the Bitches website.

 

GONG Sup on the bitchesIf a SUPer was to attempt the paddle over to ‘the bitches’ they would want to make sure they had the stamina to make it back, Its definitely no joke out there, and we were thoroughly knackered after all the paddling especially after a unsuccessful wave/wipeout which meant you could be swept 100m away from the wave unless you could recover the board quick enough.

The Bitches can work on all tides, big tides however ( 6.5m and above) are the most powerful and can produce standing waves 8ft tall, but we believed this to be a kayakers 8ft so SUPer’s 4ft which is still a fair size.

It took us around an hour to get the place wired and figure out how best to ferry glide over to the peak or drop back onto the wave by paddling off a nearby rock, but by the 2nd hour the place was firing and the Pocket or ‘Hole’ as the kayakers call it was really starting to show. Our first attempts were laughable and we soon figured out the best method to get on the super clean 3ft face, however as most SUP boards are pretty big, getting the board over to the ‘Hole’ was great, trying to keep a 12ft board in there was even harder.

Olly (Big Blue Kitesurfing) was all over it, the Naish 11’6’’ with its huge volume and rocker line was the perfect tool for the job, even the kayakers seemed interested in having a go and especially in my carbon paddle.

In terms of equipment needed to SUP a standing wave a leash is definitely needed as well as an impact vest and decent warm wetsuit, You may also want to take a larger board out as some standing waves break so fast that unless you have a board with good flat water paddling speed it becomes very hard to mimic the waves pace. I found this out while using my GONGsup 102 greedy which didn’t quite have the paddle speed to successfully get onto the waves.

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Stand Up Paddle Surfing