SUP route, Ray 12k – Two Tree Island all the way down Benfleet Ray and back: 12km…

From the end of the slipway at Two Tree Island (Leigh-on-Sea) approaching low tide, head east (left!) out to the Ray. Follow Hadleigh Ray main channel right (south, past the moored boats) and then left (east, towards the pier). Keep going past the floating platform and Seal Point and hug the Ray bank as far as it’s exposed before turning and coming back the way you came…

Definitely a low tide route as Hadleigh Ray needs to be exposed! Depending on your average speed, set off from an hour (6kmph) to half an hour (9kmph) before low tide – as the tide will help you back, you can leave it a little later if you’re happy not to have tidal assistance on the way out. Ideally aim to turn as or soon after the tide turns. Not suitable on spring tides when low water is less than 0.5m. As less of the Ray bank will expose in neap tides, this can be an 11k route. Best in light winds. Not great in westerlies as it’s a headwind home. Easterly (summer sea breeze direction) can get choppy but will help blow you back. Southerly / northerly are crosswinds – flat but exposed! Check tide and wind conditions via our SUP weather page…

The slipway can get slippery, so watch your step! Also be careful launching and landing at the end of the slip. (More info at Two Tree Island.) Especially near the launch and a little way down the Ray, the water can get very shallow on the shoals. Stay left after going round the first (right hand) corner. Then stay right (near the marker buoys) a little way down the Ray (c. 500m after the left hand turn) as there’s a big shallow shoal mid-channel. Not suitable for strong or building westerly winds. Exposed to crosswinds (north or southerly). At Seal Point, respect the wildlife and don’t paddle too close to seals on the banks, especially if they have pups. Strong tides, so stick to slack water (within an hour of low tide) whenever possible.

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