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Where to try water sports in South Devon

Girl body boarding in sea - one of the water sports in South Devon

Devon’s coastal location and nature rich rivers make it the perfect place for activities on the water. Whether you are an avid wearer of boardies or a novice when it comes to fins and paddles, here’s our guide to where to try water sports in South Devon.

And if you are looking for places to holiday by the sea we can recommend lots of beautiful places to stay in Devon.


Visit Devon in the summer or winter and there are a range of beaches on the south coast that are ideal surfing spots. Two of them are Bantham and Thurlestone, which are on the Atlantic facing coast between Salcombe and Plymouth. Expect waves aplenty.

If you are a beginner or would like to take some classes to improve your skills then Bantham Surfing Academy is a Surfing England approved surf school.

Discovery Surf School is also close by in Bigbury.

Kite surfing

With prevailing winds from the West and South-West Bigbury and Bantham make ideal kite surfing spots. But when the breeze swings round and comes from the East Paignton or Slapton Sands are the beaches to head to.

Kite surfing coaching is available from Seabreezes Sports at Bantham Beach.

If you enjoy golf as well as water sports then find out where to stay near South Devon’s golf courses.

Stand-up paddle boarding

For a slower pace on the water try stand-up paddle boarding or SUP. South Devon has some beautiful locations to try paddle boarding. 

Inland there’s the River Dart between Dartmouth and Totnes where you share the water with seals, kingfishers and swans. The Kingsbridge Estuary is another sheltered waterway with plenty of creeks to explore. 

Waterborn is a Red Paddle Co Centre of Excellence offering tuition and even SUP yoga lessons.

South Devon coastal spots for SUP include Bigbury, South Milton Sands and Salcombe South Sands and North Sands.

Sea Kayak Salcombe are based at Salcombe South Sands and offer SUP tours in the area.

Wind surfing 

Wind surfing basics can be picked up quickly in just a few lessons. You then have a great choice of Devon beaches where you can go for a relaxed ride across the waves or take advantage of the Atlantic breeze to pick up speed.

In South Devon top wind surfing spots are Slapton Sands, Street Gate, Bigbury on Sea and Mill Bay.

Inland you can take wind surfing lessons at Decoy Country Park with Devon Windsurf & Canoe Centre.

Kayaking and canoeing 

Kayaking or canoeing are the perfect way to explore the coves and bays on the south coast. It’s also an ideal water sport for getting close to wildlife on Devon’s rivers. 

Dartmouth is renowned as one of the best places to launch your canoe or kayak. From here you can either paddle up the River Dart to Totnes or towards the sea and along the coast to Start Bay or Brixham.

You can hire kayaks from Totnes Kayaks or take a tour with Sea Kayak Devon in Dartmouth.

Find out more about South Devon’s best beaches.

Looking for a base for water sports during your South Devon holiday? We have a range of holiday cottages in and around Dartmouth. Whether you are looking for a cottage in town or a rural location Dart Valley Cottages has plenty of choice. Contact us to find out more.

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