Great Places to Standup Paddle Around the World

standup paddling, paddleboarding, paddlexaminer
Photo: Dimitris Vetsikas

Standup Paddling, making a splash worldwide

Standup paddling dates back centuries and originally started life as a means of transport for fishermen in remote islands. These days of course it is more of a leisure pursuit enjoyed by millions globally due to its close relationship to surfing. In fact, things only began to turn around for standup paddling because surfers have popularized the pastime over the last twenty years. Now, it has evolved into a huge business and can rightly claim to be to the fastest growing water sport in the world. One reason for standup paddling’s sharp rise in popularity is that people find it relaxing enough to take their mind off their work, but still physically challenging enough to be sufficiently entertaining.

People from all walks of life, regardless of profession, enjoy living an outdoors lifestyle, away from their daily tasks. Now, if you are one of these, and if you are reading this site the chances are that you are, you might be asking yourself what some of the best standup paddling destinations in the world are. Well, here are a few recommendations.

Where it all began

Kauai in Hawaii is where it all began, first emerging as a sport here in the 1960’s. Known for its spectacular beaches, it’s the perfect location, particularly Poipu Beach. Other paddleboarding spots on the island include Kilauea Bay, which is where the Kilauea stream runs into the Pacific. Also worth trying, are Polihale Beach and Sunset Beach, the latter of which can found on the north shore of Oahu, and is well known for producing big waves in the winter. Staying in the US and California’s Lake Tahoe is another incredibly popular spot with paddle boarders. The lake has lush, clear blue waters up to 70 feet deep that are just begging to be paddled.

Over in Europe, Spain has always been a hugely popular tourist destination and today it is becoming increasingly popular with paddlers too. Off the West African coast, adrift in the Atlantic, Spain’s Canary Islands are an awesome paddleboarding destination. Particularly recommended are the beach destinations El Bollullo, Famara and Maspalomas. Another set of Spanish islands are the Balearics, which are located in the Mediterranean Sea. These are Majorca, Menorca and Ibiza, which all have rugged coastlines filled with caves, making it another great spot for paddlers.

standup paddling, paddleboarding, paddlexaminer
Hold the sunset. Photo: Tammy Cuff

Paddle the Med

Further down Europe’s Mediterranean coast in Italy, there are almost limitless possibilities for enjoying a boarding vacation. The UNESCO World Heritage site, the Cinque Terre National Park has proved to be very popular among paddlers who enjoy the open sea and riding the large waves that crash along the shoreline. Greece is another Mediterranean country with amazing standup paddling destinations. Considering Greece has over 8,000 miles of coastline and upwards of 6,000 islands to its name, this is hardly surprising. Plenty of paddleboard enthusiasts choose to explore the Greek islands such as Crete, Corfu, Kefallonia, Santorini and Zakynthos all of which boast stunning locations for this particular water sport.

Nosara in Costa Rica is another destination of interest for paddlers the world over. Here, visitors can paddle along the beaches of the Rio Montana and the Rio Nosara.  Also in Central America is Mexico, home to the pristine beaches of Cabo San Lucas and Acapulco. The first one, Cabo San Lucas, can be found up in Baja California peninsula. It is well known for its incredible coastline and it’s incredible marine landscape that draws paddlers to its shores.

As for Acapulco, being a tourist resort means that there are plenty of teachers and paddling schools here for rookies to find their water feet. As soon as they’re good to go, they can head out on their board and explore the regions hidden beaches and take in the stunning range of marine life that share these waters. We know, we know, we have missed plenty of other great destinations off the list too, including in-land rivers, so wherever you are in the world, you are never far from a great spot to pick up your board and go for a paddle.


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