Circumnavigating Anglesey on a SUP

I can happily say I have completed the first SUP circumnavigation of Anglesey, Wales! #findyourepic

I spent a 5 days in total journeying around the 120km fascinating and dramatic coastline of Anglesey, where I work and live. 

I did it to raise money for The North Wales Wildlife Trust & Surfers Against Sewage. Both I'm very passionate about. My Nain (Grandmother in welsh) loved wildlife, taking photographs and actively involved with the Wildlife Trust in Wales, so I'm continuing her legacy. I'm also a supporter of Surfers Against Sewage as they raise awareness about water pollution which I'm very passionate about.

Secondly I did it because I wanted a challenge to see if I could do it! Anglesey has complex and challenging coastline and it's all in the planning and strategy to get it right!

I first hatched the plan just before joining my friends who were crossing England on paddleboard, I joined them from Bath to Reading and I loved the adventure, the freedom and to journey on a paddleboard!

I allocated time in August and after speaking to my sea kayaking friends who have done it plenty of times, it was agreed 5 days would be suitable to do it in and they also provided some valuable intel about some of the complex areas on the Anglesey coastline. 

 

Day 1

I had planned to journey in a clockwise direction starting from Rhoscolyn and heading to South Stacks and North Stacks. I had it all planned beautifully. The next morning I checked the weather forecast again for the day, sadly the forecasted strong winds arrived early! It was blowing a F6! So I had to change my strategy, so I journeyed from Newborough beach, in a anti clockwise direction to take advantage of the wind and tide on my side. When I set off on my journey, it was raining and strong winds, but it didn't dampen my spirits, I was excited to be setting off on my challenge! I paddled through the Menai Straits! It's a narrow section of shallow tidal water, which separates the island of Anglesey from the mainland of Wales. The differential tides at the two ends of the Straits cause very strong currents to flow in both directions through the Straits at different times, creating tricky conditions. One of the most challenging parts of the Straits is known as the Swellies. Here rocks near the surface cause local whirlpools. I loved every minute travelling through this section! It's such a classic and iconic stretch to do and I always enjoy paddling there.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Menai Straits, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Menai Straits, Anglesey

I popped into Dylans for a pizza for lunch, a paddler needs feeding! ;) After lunch I got back onto the water and paddled to Beaumaris and thats where the day ended.

Day 2

I continued in an anti clockwise direction of the island, journeying around the coastline, exploring more areas of the island I have never been to, lots of beautiful hidden coves. It is a truly beautiful place to paddle.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Beaumaris, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Beaumaris, Anglesey

I had a good start from Beaumaris in the sun (hooray!) some wind, so a bit of surfing carrying me forward to Puffin Island, listening to Florence & The Machine and Chemical Brothers to keep me going, made great time to Penmon (Puffin Island) but as soon as I went round the corner, it was windy chops! I paddled hard for 40 minutes or so and didn't move at all, tired myself out completely. I knew I had to get some distance before the tide change direction, but I was running out of time whilst also battling it out with the wind..so I came inshore, I was gutted I couldn't press on but it was the safest and best decision to make.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Puffin Island / Penmon, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Puffin Island / Penmon, Anglesey

Day 3  

The wind was still brutal, and a hard slog with the Westly wind!  I covered 17km. The highlights today for me was certainly seeing porpoise, magical!! And I paddleboarded with some friendly seals. Stopped at Lligwy Beach Cafe for lunch and a panad (Welsh for tea). A great little cafe with yummy looking homemade cakes.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Lligwy Beach Cafe, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Lligwy Beach Cafe, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Lligwy Beach Cafe, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Lligwy Beach Cafe, Anglesey

Day 4

A monster day after an early start on the water! Really pleased with today's progress!

But my plans altered slightly, as I'm on a paddleboard I can easily get affected by the wind and it really affects my progress. On day 1, I had planned to start at Rhoscolyn (West Anglesey) heading clockwise, however the force 6 winds changed my plans so I revised my plan and started at Newborough. Since then I have paddled anti clockwise, but that blasted Westly wind affected my progress.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding to Rhoscolyn, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding to Rhoscolyn, Anglesey

I had to change plans again, I really wanted to complete all sections of Anglesey safely and successfully, with the forecast being perfect for me to head on to Holyhead. I journey around the classic and iconic North Stacks, South Stacks, Penrhyn Mawr with some fun and exciting tidal race and I'm pleased to say, I only went swimming with the fishies once! So super chuffed! I headed passed Rhoscolyn, Rhosniger and all the way to Newborough passed Llanddywn Island.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding South Stack, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding South Stack, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Newborough Beach, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Newborough Beach, Anglesey

I enjoyed seeing porpoise, having a break with some inquisitive seals, 4 big open crosses some reaching 9km, I felt strong and solid and certainly bobbing away to music on the board helped, sorry fellow paddlers for subjecting my singing to you. I so enjoyed the big open space, the peace of the ocean, the freedom and the sun on my face. A perfect day paddleboarding around the beautiful Anglesey coastline. Day 4 complete, 39km of paddleboarding!!

 

 Day 5

Guess what....I've only gone and done it!! First ever person to paddleboard around the whole of Anglesey!!  I am over the moon you wouldn't believe!!

It was a long day, paddleboarding 44km from Lligwy Bay all the way to Holyhead harbour! I played on a bit of tidal race, enjoyed the glorious sun, calm sea, not much wind (think it finally got the hint)! I have enjoyed seeing seals and porpoise! The last 7km was a hard push with fighting the tide into Holyhead and waiting for Irish Ferries Holyhead to pass, they are big! I am chuffed I managed to get to paddleboarding 7km an hour, I was flying! I really enjoyed the stunning coastline of Anglesey, discovered lots of wonderful bays. Anglesey is one beautiful island and I'm so happy to call it home.

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Holyhead Harbour, Anglesey

SUP circumnavigation | Stand up Paddleboarding Holyhead Harbour, Anglesey

Thank you everyone for all your encouragement and donations, you well and truly rock and I look forward to paddleboarding with you all soon.

I did it! First person to SUP circumnavigate Anglesey

Surfers Against Sewage

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Anglesey-sup 

 

North Wales Wildlife Trust

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Anglesey-SUP-NWWT

 

Lots of love xx

Sian Sykes | 1st person to SUP Circumnavigate Anglesey

 

Thank you for your support Aquapac, Palm and Peak Uk. 

 

Notes | SUP Safety 

During my trip, I carried a lot of safety kit on my board such as flares, first aid kit, spare (warm) clothes, head torch with spare batteries, water and food, VHF radio, mobile phone, two way radio so I could communicate with my support team, spare paddles, pump for my inflatable board, repair kit, leash around my ankle, leash for my paddle, map, compass, charts and more. I also communicated with the Coastguard too. My support came from a friend who joined me on some sections kayaking, carrying extra gear or driving a vehicle while monitoring my performance from the headland. Committing yourself to this type of adventure, you need to be well experienced, have the right gear and know how to use it, be able to self rescue, understand the weather and tide, can navigate and have a clear strategy.

SUP Safety & Awareness | The Kit  

Notes |

The kit I used

Sian Sykes | 1st person to SUP Circumnavigate Anglesey

 - Peak UK Tecwik Rashy vest

- Palm Vantage jacket (a great multi purpose jacket for on and off the water, a great barrier against the wind)

- Palm Wairoa neoprene leggings and Palm Atom dry suit trousers 

- Palm Gradient shoes

- Sunglasses 

- Patagonia baseball hat 

- Petzl knife on leash (for emergency rescues or handy for picnic lunches)

 - VHF radio in Aquapac waterproof case

- 2 way radio to communicate to my support

 - Aqupac lightweight waterproof  backpacks (wet & dry range) (first aid kit, lunch, extra warm layers, repair kit) This was attached to my my stand up paddle board (SUP)

- Aquapac Trailproof Waist Pack (inside includes; flare, neoprene gloves, sun cream, tissues, hand sanitizer, tow line, snacks, spare karabiner, towline)

- Mobile phone and power pack, kept in Aquapac phone case (essential to keep phone dry)

- Aquapac waterproof keymaster (car keys and money) 

 - Nalgene bottle (1l water)

- Snacks (Bounce Balls) 

- Aquapac Kaituna map case and map, tidal plans and weather forecast

- SUP inflatable pump

- Spare split carbon paddles

- Origin Paddleboard leash

- Origin Paddleboard 10'6 inflatable board

- Sea to Summit paddle leash

 

Related articles  

SUP MAG UK

SUP CONNECT 

LIMITLESS PURSUITS

ITV WALES