Paddleboarding is quickly becoming one of the most popular water sports out there. One big reason why paddleboarding is hitting the top of the charts is simply due to the fact that you can do it just about anywhere and even those who don’t have the best balance can pick up the sport with ease. Oh, and it’s loads of fun, too.
You can pretty much go paddleboarding on almost any body of water unless otherwise prohibited. Lakes, rivers, the ocean, and harbours and almost any water conditions are wonderful options for new and advanced paddleboarders alike.
Knowing where you can paddleboard is a good chunk of knowledge you will want to have stored in the back of your brain when you’re ready to hop on the board. However, knowing where to go is only half the battle. There are other things to take into consideration before hopping into the water.
Can You Paddle Board Anywhere?
To put it simply, yes. If you see a body of water, whether it’s a lake, creek, river, pond, or the ocean itself, you can likely go paddleboarding in it. The only time you would not be able to go paddleboarding in an area is if it’s not permitted or recommended to do (because of water levels, weather, etc.). So, always make sure you check beforehand for regulations and restrictions.
Paddle Boarding on a Lake
Lakes are a wonderful choice when it comes to paddleboarding. This is mostly due to the fact that the waters will generally be relatively calm and easy to board on. However, winds and boats can cause a little bit of waves and turbulence in the water at times, and that should be considered before heading out.
Before you decide to step out into the lake for some fun paddle boarding, there are a few things to check:
- Do you have access to the lake? If you live directly on the water, you can simply hop in when you please. But if you don’t, you need to find a public access area. These areas include marinas, parks, or even boat ramps.
- What is the depth of the water? The basic rule of thumb is you always want to make sure that you’re in a body of water that is deep enough to reach your knees. Otherwise, your fin is likely to catch on the bottom, eventually leading to the operator falling off. Always check the depth of the lake you’re going to paddleboard in.
- How is the weather? The biggest concern with lake boarding is the wind. Check the forecast in advance. No wind? No problem. Lots of wind? You might have a rough and not-so-great experience. Read up on how to handle your paddle board in choppy water.
- How many boats are out on the water? Unfortunately, paddle boarders aren’t the easiest thing to spot in the water. Try and stay away from areas with heavy boat traffic for your safety.
- Always wear your leash. The leash will ensure your paddleboard doesn’t go scurrying off in the event you fall down.
Paddle Boarding on a River
You have to be smart when choosing a river to paddleboard on. For the most part, rivers tend to be a bit more flowy and fast-moving. This can pose big problems for the paddleboarder, especially someone who is new to the scene. Try and find a river that is calmer and slower moving, then consider the following:
- Always check the current. Rivers will always have water that is flowing in the same direction. You want to make sure you can go with the flow, so to speak, and be able to return to your starting point with ease. If the waters are too fast, you’re going to want to avoid it as you’ll have difficulty going down and an even bigger challenge returning.
- Start your round trip by paddling into the current. You’ll be fresh and ready to go with the most energy at the start. Later, when it’s time to head back, you’ll have an easier time flowing with the current. For more on handling currents, read this post.
- Have a pickup point down river. If you are new to paddle boarding, you may want to have a friend or partner drop you off at one spot and then arrange a time for pickup at a different spot down river to make things easier.
- Know the water conditions. Rivers can change rapidly. What was one a calm and steadily moving river can quickly change into a quick and fierce river that just won’t quit. For that reason, look ahead and know the water conditions of the entirety of the area you will be paddleboarding.
- What is the water depth? Just like the lake, whatever river you’re paddleboarding in should have water at least knee-deep. However, rivers can change abruptly and get shallow in an instant. Always make sure you’re keeping your eyes on the water and looking for spots that might catch your fin.
- Don’t go inside the channel. There’s no actual rule saying you can’t, but for your safety, you should stay away from the channel. Channels will likely have several motorized boats with not a whole lot of extra room for persons.
- Always wear your leash. If you get caught in a sudden quick river situation and fly off your board, you don’t want your board going down the current without you. Always have your leash on!
Paddle Boarding in the Ocean
There are two ways to paddleboard in the ocean: either in calmer waters, like those found on the bay, or in the rough waters where there’s an influx of fast-moving water and waves.
When Paddle Boarding in the Calm Ocean
When you decide to choose the calm ocean to paddleboard in, you can have one of the most remarkable and beautiful experiences of your life. There isn’t too much to be concerned about in these waters, but a few things to keep in mind are:
- Tides. Always make sure you know the tide forecast in the area you will be paddleboarding. Tides can change everything from the depth of the water to the current, and it can be incredibly dangerous. Be safe and check beforehand.
- Wildlife. Also, check for warnings about the dangerous wildlife in the ocean. You’re likely to be all clear, but if there have been any shark sightings recently, it’s best to stay out of that body of water for a while.
- Weather. On the ocean, the weather can change rapidly. It’s important to always check the weather conditions before paddling into the ocean.
- Always wear your leash. No matter if the ocean waters are cool and calm or throwing you a curveball, you want to keep your leash on. There’s nothing worse than having your board run away from you into the deep blue sea.
Paddle Boarding in the Surf Area
Paddleboarding in the surf area is exciting, thrilling, and downright fun; if you are prepared for the challenge. Paddling out onto the waves is certainly not something for beginners, but when you’re ready to take your SUP to the next level, consider the waves. Also, consider these things:
- What are the water conditions? Like we previously mentioned, always check for tides or severe weather conditions before trekking out into the ocean.
- Do you know the local surf etiquette? Yes, it’s true: there is a surf etiquette found in every ocean, and anyone planning to ride the waves needs to abide by these rules. That being said, check in to see what the local surf etiquette is and abide by it.
- Always wear your leash. You’re likely to lose your board often, especially when you’re beginning or dealing with some larger-than-life waves, so keeping your leash on is very important. You don’t want to lose your board out to open sea!
Want to take your kid with you? Read How to Paddle Board with a Child.
Paddleboarding, otherwise known as SUP, is quickly becoming the top sport to play in the water. It’s fun, exciting, and can also be done just about anywhere, making it a versatile watersport. Always make sure to check the weather forecast before heading out, as well as other important factors pertaining to the body of water you’re planning to enjoy.