There aren’t too many activities out there as versatile as stand-up paddleboarding, the sport can range from an easy session on flat water to a challenging outing surfing big waves—there’s even a major yoga component for some paddlers. All that diversity may help explain why it’s the fastest growing water sport around.
We’ve highlighted 10 locations around the world so you can try it for yourself. These spots offer incredible conditions, wildlife and scenery, in addition to offering rentals and instruction. From Italy to South Africa, take a look at these stellar stand-up paddling trips.
The birthplace of modern stand-up paddling, Hawaii is a must-visit spot for avid paddlers. Among the extensive coastline and waters that surround the eight major Hawaiian Islands, Oahu is the best when it comes to SUP. The island offers every iteration of the sport from stand-up surfing to SUP yoga, in addition to the many places to paddle and shops that rent out gear. Beginners will find plenty of flat water in protected coves like Waimea Bay, while expert paddlers can get their share of thrills on the north shore.
Best known for ancient canals, old fashioned gondolas and hundreds of bridges, Venice may seem like an unorthodox SUP location at first, but the beauty and novelty make it one of the most spectacular places to paddle. Routinely described as the highlight of the trip, travelers rave about seeing the city from their boards, calling out to passing gondoliers and learning about the history and culture of Italy from qualified guides.
Stand-up paddling has become incredibly popular along much of the California coast and San Diego is a perfect example of prime paddling. Suitable for everyone from novice paddlers to seasoned experts, San Diego offers calm waters in its namesake bay, an outlet to the ocean at beautiful La Jolla Cove and a chance to check out the goings on by paddling along the tourism hot spot Coronado.
Set in the southern Caribbean, Grenada is a tropical paradise, principally known for amazing snorkeling and diving opportunities. Though underwater action is the main attraction, SUP is slowly gaining popularity and it’s not hard to see why—paddle out in water that’s 80 degrees year round and take in views of marine life just beneath the surface.
Likely best known for the natural anomaly, Table Mountain, there’s much more to Cape Town than the one rock formation. This coastal city offers great SUP opportunities, both out in the ocean and in some of the canals. Rent equipment, hire a guide or venture out on your own for a picturesque paddling experience.
Warm water lapping at your feet, sun shining on your shoulders and eagle rays gliding by beneath your board—if that sounds like an ideal paddling experience, head to Bora Bora. This incredible island offers paddling for all levels, beginners can easily find calm waters and advanced paddlers can take advantage of downwind experiences.
When it comes to SUP, or almost any other water sport for that matter, Australia is a no-brainer, but choosing where exactly you should go can be tough. For a good mix of beginner spots with challenges for the more extreme paddler head to the Gold Coast. Tallebudgera Creek offers mostly calm, scenic waters for the less advanced and those looking for a challenge can take to the waves off the coast.
This SUP destination is for the most extreme paddlers and it’s not hard to understand why when you’re cruising past gigantic glaciers and some of the most stunningly beautiful landscapes on the planet. Home to some of the best races in the sport, Patagonia is proof that SUP is not just a tropical sport. For rentals, tips and guided tours check out Patagonia SUP.
This pristine crater of outdoor paradise straddling the California/ Nevada border is predictably the perfect place to learn to SUP, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing for the advanced paddler. The calm lake makes a great classroom for first-time paddlers, but the 70+ miles of coastline leave plenty to be explored. Rental shops are located on all sides of the lake and many offer great instruction and if you’re looking to try something new, some of the outfitters in the area offer SUP yoga classes.
Turquoise ocean waters give way to tree-lined mangroves in Turks and Caicos, where marine life is plentiful. Stand-up paddling is gaining popularity as a way to see the islands and the animals that surround them, catch a glimpse of tropical fish and stingrays as you dip your paddle. There are outfitters with qualified instructors are available in the area, including one run by pro wind surfer Dave Kalama on the island of Providenciales.