Hilton Head tides, currents, etc

Hi. Anyone out here with decent knowledge of the Hilton Head area? I’m doing the Kayak for Charity on September 25th (32 miles around HH) and am trying to get a sense of what the tides and currents do there. The event starts on the Port Royal Sound side and goes around HH clockwise. The start is at 7am which coincides nicely with high tide, so that you catch the ebb out the whole way to the ocean. Low tide is at about noon at South Beach, so it will be flooding up the other side after that.

I’m planning to use my ski and should be able to maintain a 6mph + pace without too much difficulty, before any help from the currents. So, it seems like I may end up running into the ebb tide, especially if it runs counterclockwise on the ocean side. Does anyone know about this? What direction does the ebb current flow around the ocean side of Hilton Head?

My idea here is to try to do this as fast as possible. But, it seems silly to beat myself up fighting a strong ebb current if I can maybe slow down a bit and take better advantage of them (thinking about maybe using my 700 instead, which is a bit slower).



tide charts
Hilton Head is just N. of Savannah (my home). Check out www.wtoc.com and look for the “Weather” link on the left-hand side of the page. Find “Marine Weather” to get a Tide Chart (times and heights) AND a Tide Correction Chart (this gives the actual times and heights at different waterways in the area) I.E if high tide is at 1200 and 6.7 feet at Tybee Road it will be at 1345 and 6.0 feet at Elba Island. print the month you need and the Correction chart from the website and then make your corrections. I do this for the areas I like to paddle and they seem pretty accurate. Contact me if you have any specific questions… however I don’t paddle much at HH, but I may be able to help just the same.

hi. i have the tide tables and the corrections, as far as i can tell. i was mostly curious about the direction of the ebb flow in the ocean (north to south or vice versa?) . any ideas?


Where are you looking to paddle specifically? Your best bet would be to contact some local outfitters in HH, I think there are 2 or 3, I can try and find info for them later.

the river tide is more of a factor
my experience surfing off hunting island is that the tide moves north coming in and less strongly south on the ebb, but the tide is much less noticeable off shore than in the rivers and less a factor than the wind.

I have paddled the HH area many
times and agree with Danny.It is an unusual day when you can detect current off the beach and the rivers and creeks you will be in are very wide. Wind will be the key factor.