The Bitches are a spectacular set of tidal overfalls located just off the Pembrokeshire coast, forming in Ramsey Sound between the mainland and Ramsey Island.
They’ve long been a popular spot for both the ocean kayak and freestyle kayak communities. In 1991, the Bitches played host to the first ever Kayak Rodeo World championships, putting it on the map as a world-class freestyle venue.
Not simple a turnkey spot, the Bitches require consideration for safety and planning, and a basic understanding of tidal flows. Access is a two kilometer paddle from the shore near St. David’s. Due to the distance, swims have been fatal for boaters in the past. A keen knowledge of the incoming weather is valuable as wind or fog can cause navigation issues.
There’s always some form of tidal rapids at the Bitches, but freestyle kayakers should look for tides over six meters for the features to be at their best. The biggest tides occur in the spring, just after full moons and new moons. Keen groups can paddle at both ends of the day, catching both the morning and evening tides. www.the-bitches.co.uk.
IF YOU GO:
Sea Kayak guides in Pembrokeshire will get you set up— they cater to playboats through to five-meter monsters. www.seakayakguides.co.uk
Steve Rogers is a British Columbia-based adventure photographer, writer and kayaker, originally from the north of England. www.steveophotos.com.
This article appeared in Rapid, Early Summer 2013. Download our free iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch App or Android App or read the rest here.