Enjoy water sports safely
Want to try a fun water-based activity?
You’ll be spoiled for choice.
Holidays are the perfect time to try your hand at something new, maybe a water-based activity you’ve always fancied having a go at but never quite got round to. And thanks to our rugged coastline, pristine seas and renowned National Park, Pembrokeshire is the natural base for all sorts of water sports and adventures.
However, those pristine seas are also powerful and unpredictable. So it’s vitally important you choose a reputable provider with fully trained instructors and guides who know the ropes and the area – especially if you, or any of your party, are first-timers or inexperienced.
Luckily, Pembrokeshire is home to a whole host of companies, with years of experience, who will offer you the opportunity to learn in a safe environment.
We’ve picked out a few here, but you will find others by using the search function on our web site. Some specialise, but many offer a wide variety of activities and adventure holidays, so it’s well worth checking out their web sites in full. You never know, you might end up choosing to try more than one new activity.
The clue is in the name: Masterclass Surfing. These seasoned surf nuts have put together training programmes for national teams and world champions (head coach Pete is a Welsh champion himself). But Masterclass Surfing’s qualified instructors also offer lessons and courses for individuals, families and groups, from beginners to more experienced surfers.
You’ll receive expert tuition at Newgale (voted best UK beach for sunsets) and Broad Haven (North), two of the best surfing beaches in Wales.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding
SUP has taken off in a big way in the past few years and it’s easy to see why. It’s fairly easy to learn, suitable for all ages and abilities – and great fun. Plus, you get to enjoy our stunning scenery and even spot some local wildlife while getting a good work-out.
Outer Reef has spent years fully exploring our rivers and coastline to offer routes full of unspoilt beauty and hidden wonders. Instructors are all fully qualified ISA surf and SUP coaches and SLSGB Beach Lifeguards who will run you through the first stages of learning how to paddle board before taking you on a magical 2-hour tour.
Alternatively, at Llys y Fran Lake the water is clean, deep and there are no tides to restrict your fun, which makes it a great place to learn to paddle board. Book an instructor-led SUP session, complete with board and other equipment, to help you get going. Or if you have your own kit and are confident on the water, you can simply pay and play.
Pembrokeshire is the home of modern coasteering, introduced to the world from our rocky shores back in 1986. If you don’t know, it’s a combination of cliff jumping, rock hopping, adventure swimming, cave exploring and more…and the most fun you can have in and around the sea!
Preseli Venture has been running coasteering sessions on the North Pembrokeshire coast for more than 25 years. They welcome everyone – young (8+) and old, fit and non-fit, even non- swimmers, for half-day sessions, full weekends and longer. And every guide is equipped with the skill and judgement to ensure you never get out of your depth
With its high sea cliffs, waterfalls, sea caves and natural rock arches, and abundant wildlife, Pembrokeshire is a kayaking paradise. There’s so much to see and explore. And it’s something you can do all year round.
The Real Adventure Company specialises in working with private family and friends groups and offers everything from a half-day taster session to a multi-day course where, as your kayaking skills and your confidence rise, you can head out to Skomer, Ramsey and Caldey Islands.
They’ll provide all the equipment you need – you just bring an appetite for fun and adventure.
Never tried sailing before? Don’t know your aft from your bow? Then dinghy sailing is the way to go. Dinghies are easy to operate (and difficult to capsize!) and so much fun. And with good instructors you can learn the basics in an afternoon.
The Performance Sailing Academy, based at Llanion Cove, is a RYA accredited training centre. Chief instructor, Taff Owens, has 15 years of coaching experience under his belt and the Academy also trains dinghy instructors to a professional level. So you know you’re in good hands.
Remember James Bond kitesurfing a tsunami in ‘Die Another Day’? Well you don’t have to go to that extreme to get a kick out of riding the wind (and yes, it’s all about wind, not waves, 007).
Here in Pembrokeshire, The Big Blue Experience offers a number of courses, from beginners to advanced. On a two-day beginners course, you’ll learn all the basics from body dragging to board starts – and essential safety. Improver courses build skills and confidence, introducing you to jumps, carving and transitions. Advanced kitesurfers can move on to wave riding.
There is nothing like swimming in open water – a swimming pool just doesn’t compare. Bluetits is a friendly and informal group that gets together to swim – or just splash about – off the Pembrokeshire Coast. There’s no membership, no booking – just show up. If you’ve never tried it, and you’re not a particularly strong swimmer, don’t worry, someone will be there to stay with you. With the Bluetits it’s all about just getting into the water and enjoying the experience together.
See someone in trouble?
The providers we have listed are absolutely committed – and trained – to the highest safety standards, which is why it makes sense to learn with them. If you go it alone, the RNLI has published safety advice for various water-based activities.
Unfortunately, every year our lifeguards and coastguard are called out to rescue those who overestimate their abilities and underestimate the power of the sea. If you see anyone else in difficulty in the water, dial 999 or 112 and ask for the coastguard.
If you are inland and see someone in difficulty on a river or a lake, you should ask for Fire and Rescue when you call for help.