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  1. #1
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2017

    London as Windsurf city?

    Hi there, first post in this forum.
    I am from Amsterdam and got a job offer from London potentially. It's a good offer meaning my wife and I could life quite comfortablly. Life quite central no long commute to work, afford a van etc... Amsterdam is quite decent for windsurfing but we are a bit over it tbh. How about London though as a windsurf city whats your opinion on it?...its close to the North Sea and a few spots are in about an hour driving distance . On windy days I could get off work at 3 pm. And obviously Cornwall over the weekend. But is it close enough to the beach to windsurf regularly?? Or you reckon I will hardly get in the water? What's your experience? I am a wavesailor but I dont need perfect waves if its bump and jump its ok aswell during the week. Lake etc is no option for me. Many thanks in advance !

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2014
    Welcome. A lot depends on where you choose to live in London. Traffic can be so bad that getting out to the M25 motorway (the circular one that surrounds the whole city) can take an hour or (much) more from some central places depending on time of day. If you really live very centrally then that could constrain your windsurfing - and driving out of central London at 3pm will be awful. On the upside there are tons of places to sail that are 60 to 90 minutes from the right point on the M25 and can suit different wind, tide and swell conditions. Try playing around with Google maps and see how long it takes to get to Southend on Sea, Whitstable, Hove, Hayling Island, Avon Beach (mudeford). There are lots of other places to sail in between these, but they would give you a feel for your options and are relatively accessible (i cant vouch for the sailing at southend though, never having sailed there).

    I once thought about living in central London and renting a garage near a train station by the coast. Plan being to keep a van in the garage and take a train down there in order to cut through the traffic.

  3. #3
    I lived in south London and windsurfed a lot for years.
    If you are serious about windsurfing it's better to live a little further out (South) and train into the city for work.
    If you live centrally or N of the river expect a 2hr+ journey to the South Coast (for some waves). If you live nearer the m25 (south) you can cut that down to 90 minutes or less.

    for reference I lived in London Bridge and then Lewisham, Lewisham (not particularly nice area) was excellent for getting to Brighton / Hove where I sailed the most. It was still 90 mins driving though.

    Hove in Brighton and Camber sands are the most reliable spots for wind and waves, particularly in the Summer. (Wind from the right).

    Many people who post here live in the South parts of London. a blog about looping

    UPDATED Feb 2016

  4. #4
    Senior Member TwoFish's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    towards the right
    Pretty much what Smidge and Rod said really. The real call is the balance between commuting time and getting out of London time. Getting the train in obviously means you can live further out, but some train journeys into London can be fairly grim. In particular on the Southern Rail network, militant trade union extremists have been for the last couple of years been 'waging a war' on the travelling public which (combined with major upgrade works) has made life for many on those routes pretty dreadful.

    Another option is to find somewhere that gives you a good long cycle commute into the centre without being reliant on public transport. I lived in Clapham for a few years which involved a five mile cycle commute into Central London but did make 'escape' a little easier, though on a bad day the first four miles of the journey from Clapham to the coast could take up to an hour. As I'm sure you've worked out, if you're anywhere near the centre of London, parking for a van will be very hard to find and you'll also have to consider increasingly tough emissions requirements. I now live in a West London suburb (Twickenham) which would involve a train commute, except that I no longer work in central London.

    All this is sounding a bit negative. I don't mean it to be. As Rod and Smidge have said, there are a lot of sailing spots within reach of London on the South Coast and for weekend trips Dorset, South / West Wales or (just about) Cornwall are all within reasonable range.
    Last edited by TwoFish; 12th October 2017 at 07:36 AM.
    Eeeh 'tis grim dahn Sarf.

  5. #5
    Senior Member Bmg253's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Balham, Gateway to the South (coast)
    I live in Tooting, south west London. I sail on the south coast and it does take a while to get anywhere but it's an advantage really as you get to sail far more places.

    Depending on wind direction and tide I regularly sail: Avon beach (2.5 hrs), Hayling island (1.15 hrs), Bracklesham (1.5 hrs), Worthing (1.5 hrs), Shoreham (1.5 hrs), Camber sands (2 hrs) and occasionally Minster and bits of the north Kent coast in desperation.

    As Two fish says it can take ages to get out of town on a week day. I went to Avon yesterday and it took me nearly an hour to get to the A3 dual carriage way. It's pretty quick at the weekends though.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by TwoFish View Post
    .......Getting the train in obviously means you can live further out, but some train journeys into London can be fairly grim. In particular on the Southern Rail network, militant trade union extremists have been for the last couple of years been 'waging a war' on the travelling public which (combined with major upgrade works) has made life for many on those routes pretty dreadful.

    In fairness to the 'militant trade union extremists' , they are arguing that trains are safer with a guard on board in addition to the driver. Given the total revenue from each journey as a result of the high passenger fares, it seems reasonable to pay for two staff to be on board as a safety priority.

    Unfortunately, 'capitalist extremists' think their profits are more important than public safety.

    One of the 'grim' aspects of travelling on a train is when there are delays due to understaffing and passengers are left sat on a non-moving train with no communication. So having a second member of staff on each train is also about passenger service.

    I guess modern technology could allow the trains to run with no staff at all. That would mean the train companies could get rid of all their 'militant' human beings, trying to do a decent job.

    As it is, the other interpretation of why some commuter services are unreliable is that the Southern Rail company has staff shortages, and that's because no drivers want the stress of working with them.

    This is on topic, in the sense that you can live on the south coast and commute to a job in London. Several of my friends do this, but say that commute is very stressful when the trains don't work. However, when they do work, it can take the same time to get to a job in London as it does if you live in London itself but need to travel some distance to your place of work.
    But you can live near a beach and yet work in London.
    Last edited by basher; 12th October 2017 at 08:30 AM.
    Now back in the UK.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    South East London would be my choice as it would give you more options to sail in any wind directions. An hour fifteen to Camber which is probably the windiest spot in England and you can sail on any tide. Less than an hour to various North Kent spots when the wind is blowing from the North.

    Finishing work at 3 won't be much good in the darker winter months but you should get some after work sessions in the spring/summer.

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