Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, has exploded in popularity in recent years. Sort of a cross between kayaking and surfing, it’s a really fun way to get out on a lake, river or ocean, enjoy a good time and get in some great exercise too. Whether you’re highly experienced or brand new, these spots around the world are some of the best destinations for paddleboarding.
Sunset Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
Hawaii is a surfing mecca, so it’s no surprise that it’s also one of the best places for paddleboarding. There are a number of great spots on Oahu, particularly Sunset Beach on the north shore, which is known for its big wave surfing during the winter, hosting some of the most popular surfing competitions on the planet. But during the summer, the water here is a lot calmer, perfect for paddleboarding. You can even paddle all the way to Waimea Bay, a four-mile journey from Sunset Beach. If you’re a beginner, Puaena Point at Hale’iwa Beach Park on the Waimea Bay side of the Anahulu Bridge, is a perfect flat water area with few waves as well as easy access.
Santa Cruz, California
Santa Cruz is one of the best places you can go paddleboarding in Northern California, though the water is a bit chilly no matter what time of year so you’ll want to wear a wet suit. The wharf is a great spot for beginners – while you’ll have to share your space with surfers, kayakers and sea lions, you might get the chance to see a whale while you’re paddling. The Santa Cruz Harbor is another good spot, with a variety of boards, lessons and guides available in addition to the option to stay in the calm harbor and paddle around without venturing into the ocean. Steamer Lane offers a range of outstanding breaks for all skill levels, from beginner-friendly to highly experienced, though surfers would probably prefer you leave this area to them.
Bali is one of the best year-round destinations for paddleboarding with its consistent, glassy waves, ideal for both beginners and the advanced. Avoid the crowds and head to the even calmer, less-visited beaches to the north, like Medewi and Balian. While you’re here, you can also enjoy spectacular hiking and climbing in the mountains with various treks available, including up to a volcano or through the rice fields. Of course, the diving is legendary for being some of the best the planet has to offer.
Turks and Caicos Islands
The turquoise waters that surround these islands are a haven for paddleboarders, a sport that’s become increasingly popular here, especially in Providenciales. The clear, calm waters of Grace Bay are ideal, with guests at Alexandra Resort enjoying complimentary use of the property’s stand-up paddleboards. If you’d like to explore the spectacular backcountry of the archipelago, Big Blue Unlimited offers stand-up paddleboard tours that will allow you to do just that. In these islands, you’ll get a totally different perspective of the mangrove swamps, and in open shallows, you can watch wading herons as well as juvenile nurse sharks that swim right underneath your board.
Lake Tahoe, California
The crystal clear waters of Lake Tahoe have offered unparalleled opportunities for recreation for years – and, it’s breathtaking natural beauty is best appreciated through silent, non-motorized sports like paddleboarding. The North Shore is ideal, with typically tranquil, glassy waters – in fact, you can see as far down as 70 feet on a calm morning. Exploring any spot along the lake’s 72 mile shoreline by board offers an intimate experience that other types of watercraft just can’t match. Go in the morning or early evening, when the lake at its flattest and winds are typically light, especially if you’re a beginner.