Have you ever wondered what those people were doing paddling in the middle of the ocean on really big surfboards? First originating in Hawaii as an offshoot of surfing, stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has made waves on Southern California’s culture as the fastest growing water sport – and the popularity has even spread north to Lake Tahoe’s shores. Resurrected by famed big-wave riders Laird Hamilton and Dave Kalama, SUPing works your entire core, making it the complete summer workout.

Navigate the Golden State’s coast by paddle board to access secluded coves, get up close and personal with native marine life and experience the beautiful landscape, all without leaving the comfort of your board. Whether you’re cruising a calm bay, riding the surf, or perfecting your warrior pose, make a splash at one of these top SUP spots.


Santa Barbara Harbor


One of the greatest things about stand up paddle boarding is that it can be done anywhere there is water and has a short learning curve. Known for its calm and isolated waters, Santa Barbara Harbor is one of the most popular spots for beginners. A special SUP launch pad makes it easy to get in the water and glide around the Harbor.


Mother’s Beach, Marina Del Rey


When paddling isn’t enough to fuel your active lifestyle, take your favorite yoga poses to the water. Soak in the sun while rejuvenating your mind, body, and spirit with a SUP-Yoga class. Best anywhere the waters are tranquil, we recommend to hone your yogi skills on the quiet waters of Marina Del Rey at Mother’s Beach.


Back Bay, Newport Beach

Photo Courtesy of Pirate Coast Paddle Company

Cool off those hot summer nights with an evening paddle adventure through Newport Beach’s Back Bay. Pirate Coast Paddle Company offers SUP Glow Night tours Friday and Saturday nights June through September. Each board is equipped with waterproof LED lighting allowing you to see the marine life and experience SUP in a whole new way.


Coronado Island, San Diego


One of San Diego’s best-kept secrets, launch your SUP directly into one of Coronado’s bays and paddle around the majestic 250ft bay bridge that connects this quaint island to the mainland. Take in panoramic views of San Diego’s skyline and military ships as you continue under the bridge to catch a glimpse of the famous Hotel Del.


Northern California

Not just for SoCal, SUP is taking all of California by storm. Popular Northern California SUP locations include Sausalito’s Richardson Bay, Tomales Bay, Bolinas, Fremont’s Quarry Lake Regional Park, Foster City’s Leo J. Ryan Park, Alameda’s Crown Beach and Livermore’s Del Valle Regional Park. Perhaps the most popular spot, however, is Lake Tahoe, where there’s a weekly Wednesday Night SUP Racing Series that takes off from El Dorado Beach and the Tahoe Cup, a SUP racing series with three major annual events.

Where’s your favorite place to SUP?