Water sports businesses along the West Sussex coastline, from kayaking to sailing to paddle boarding, have put competition aside and united in a mission to bring more tourism to the region. All on Board, a project by the Coastal West Sussex Partnership, has brought the businesses together to put West Sussex on the map as an active water sports hub.

Samantha Smithson, avid windsurfer

Led by avid windsurfer Samantha Smithson, the project seeks to grow water sports tourism, extend the season and help the businesses involved to thrive, grow and create new jobs.

Four times British Champion Kite Surfer, Vice World Champion 2016 and West Sussex local Lewis Crathern said: “The All on Board project is going incredibly well. I have met many other water sports businesses that I did not know were active in this area. What’s great about the project is that it has connected us up and we are all working together with the same vision.

“All on Board seems to be gaining more and more momentum and with the support of these businesses; it’s a matter of time before our area is recognised as the water sports capital of the UK.”

Simon Bassett, co-owner of 2XS in West Wittering, commented: “We’re really excited to be involved in the All on Board project, which is gaining traction fast. Sussex loses out to Cornwall all too often when it comes to water sports and that really shouldn’t be the case – we’ve plenty to offer on the coast from kite surfing and wind surfing to paddle boarding, surfing and kayaking. We’re hoping that through the All on Board project, all the water sports businesses will join together to help grow the market so that we can all collectively benefit.”

Adrian Fall, owner of The Kayak Coach, added: “West Sussex needs a project like this because it is without doubt a secret location. Due to the long shallow beaches it has some of the best coastline and rivers for a range of water sports, sail, windsurfing, kitesurfing as well as kayaking and paddle boarding, but no one seems to know about it.

“This project will help not only the water sports providers but the county as a whole. Visitors will need somewhere to stay and eat, they may take an extra day here and explore other local attractions, this of course all helps local employment.”

The Coastal West Sussex Partnership announced in October that the project had been awarded a £170,000 grant by the Coastal Communities Fund towards its £340,000 total.

Samantha Smithson said: “We’ve had a fantastic response from local water sports businesses and now it’s time to really get started. Our aim is for All on Board to empower businesses through collaboration, to have a lasting legacy and a powerful impact on tourism in the region. It’s wonderful that so many business owners are engaging with us and willing to work together to make this ambition a reality.”

For more information, please visit https://coastalwestsussex.org.uk.