At a loss on what to do this weekend? Once a “lost” sport of California that enjoyed its heyday from the 1930s to the ’60s, paddleboarding is now hot again, as it is the perfect killer aerobic exercise and gives a fantastic arm, leg and core workout. For us water lovers, Stand-Up Paddling (SUP) is a great low-impact way to stay in shape IN THE WATER and it suits and benefits people of all ages, abilities and fitness levels.
Of course, you can use a stand up paddleboard on most beaches, but it is also perfectly done on estuaries, lakes and beaches that are flat and don’t have any surf.
Here’s a short list of favorite places to paddleboard:
Newport Harbor, California
The temperatures have started dropping almost everywhere else, but Southern Californians can still enjoy temps in the mid-70s. Take advantage of the Pacific and the Balboa Peninsula, plus 880 acres of pristine nature, including a bird sanctuary, marine mammals, sea birds, fish and a variety of other marine life, while getting your workout on!
Pensacola Beach, Florida
Pensacola Beach is one of the busiest and most popular beaches in the Florida panhandle, which comprises several other popular beach spots, too. With surfing hotspots that include The Bay, Picken’s Point, Picken’s Point Dunes, The Slabs, Pensacola Pier Parking Lot, and 12th-17th Street, the eight mile stretch offers some great paddle board surfing spots, complimented by clear water and white sandy beaches.
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
Waikiki Beach on Oahu with its calm, safe waters is a great place for beginning paddleboarders. This spot combines the Waikiki vibe with great views of Waikiki and Honolulu, and there are lots of places to rent boards and get instruction. The North Shore is less congested and offers calm areas as well. Best of all, there are lots of sheltered bays and often, you’ll get to spot sea turtles!
Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
With 86-degree water temps and the wind-sheltered Banderas Bay, Puerto Vallarta is ideal for stand up paddleboarding! Take a covered boat six miles offshore to Las Islas Marietas, a protected wildlife sanctuary, and spend an afternoon paddling above coral reefs, floating by the arid coastline, and scoping endangered sea birds perched on rock pinnacles.
Rose Bay, Sydney, Australia
Want to get a workout in and also enjoy the best vantage points Sydney has to offer? Check out the Rose Bay Stand Up Paddle Centre near the Woollahra Sailing Club. Take a paddle to Shark Island (named because of its shape; not its wildlife) and enjoy the spectacular views of Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House.
Porth Beach, Newquay, United Kingdom
Aptly referred to as a “Surfer’s Paradise,” the only problem Newquay provides is choosing which of its eleven beaches to go to. In addition to surfing and a range of water sports, Porth is ideal for families since you’ll find lots of children’s attractions, plus it’s very wide with lots of room to build the biggest and best sandcastles and you can also explore the many rock pools. Moreover, if you’re sick of the water (but how can that be?), it’s only 2 and a half hours away from London by train in case you want to head into the city.