Thorpe Bay, Southend
East of Southend, Thorpe Bay can be a handy mid-tide spot in lighter winds. It’s a nice sandy beach with pretty beach-huts, yet in high summer it’s often much less crowded than Chalkwell and central Southend beaches. On an ebb tide, as long as you’re sure the sea breeze won’t build, either hug the shore into Southend and back – or take on the loop around the end of the pier?
Tides: Contrary to sensible tidal precautions, Thorpe Bay is often at its best for SUP at mid-tide. High tide can be OK, especially in northerlies, but it’s often lumpy in any west / south / easterly breeze. But between two and three hours from high tide, the water is usually very flat and stays waist-deep for miles. Flood tide creates a gentle current running east-west towards Southend, whereas ebb tide sees a strong current pulling out towards Shoebury.
Wind: Worth avoiding is southerly / westerly winds or on sunny afternoons when an easterly sea breeze often builds. Northerlies blow offshore, so the water stays flat – just be careful not to venture too far offshore into higher winds and stronger tidal currents.
Facilities: Plentiful paid parking in bays just across the road from the beach. Food and drink are available nearby – non-members are welcome at Thorpe Bay Yacht Club, there’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin to the east, or the Halfway House pub and Ocean Beach restaurant to the west…