Five Great North American Beaches for Paddleboarders

standup paddleboarding SUPStandup Pad­dle­board­ing has man­aged to turn itself into a main­stream sport. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, not every body of water is ful­ly con­ducive for SUP. To solve that prob­lem, here are some of the best beach­es in North Amer­i­ca for standup paddleboarders.

Mal­ibu, California
The Cal­i­for­nia coast­line offers up some of the most epic surf spots in the con­ti­nen­tal U.S. and Mal­ibu is eas­i­ly the best for those who pre­fer to stand and pad­dle. The waves here vary pret­ty wild­ly depend­ing on the sea­son, but even SUP enthu­si­asts can find great ones to ride just past the most pop­u­lar breaks. Even if you pre­fer flat­ter waters, a short dri­ve will take you to some pret­ty gor­geous scenery while you pad­dle your way along the shore, with­out hav­ing to wor­ry about surfers try­ing to bowl you over.

Sayuli­ta, Riv­iera Nayarit, Mexico
One of the most thrilling char­ac­ter­is­tics of SUP, and what makes it tru­ly a sport, is the abil­i­ty to race oth­er stand up pad­dle­board­ers. There’s no bet­ter place to do so in North Amer­i­ca than off the Mex­i­can coast. Sayuli­ta is regard­ed as one of the top SUP race sites in the world and is host to the annu­al Pun­ta Sayuli­ta Long Board & Stand-Up Clas­sic. Rac­ers from all across the globe con­verge here to see who can tack­le the waters the fastest. Riv­iera Nayarit was also home to one of the biggest events in all of SUP last year, the ISA World Standup Pad­dle and Pad­dle­board Cham­pi­onship. Don’t wor­ry, though, there is also plen­ty of room for those who’d love to just pad­dle along the coast and enjoy the awe­some views.

Tofi­no, British Columbia
Coastal Cana­da might not be known for hav­ing a great beach cli­mate, but just off the Van­cou­ver Islands lies one of the best SUP spots in the entire world. Tofi­no played host to the country’s first offi­cial SUP surf com­pe­ti­tion in 2014 and is a haven for both ama­teur and expert pad­dlers. The tran­quil MacKen­zie Beach is great for fam­i­lies want­ed to get their kids into the sport, while Cox Beach con­sis­tent­ly has waves that reach up to five meters high even on the bad days.

Sun­set Beach, Oahu, Hawaii
When it comes to surf­ing, whether tra­di­tion­al or SUP, there’s no bet­ter place in North Amer­i­ca than Hawaii. The waves are treach­er­ous, the excite­ment immea­sur­able and the legions of SUP and surf fanat­ics liv­ing here have made it a prime loca­tion for all things involv­ing waves. Sun­set Beach is the crown jew­el of SUP spots in the state and dur­ing the sum­mer months, the water is just the right amount of calm to make it fun, but not dan­ger­ous. The four-mile trip from Sun­set Beach to Waimea Bay is one of the most breath­tak­ing coastal pad­dles in the world if your arms can han­dle it.

Cabo San Lucas, Baja California
Where the U.S. and Mex­i­co con­verge lies one of the best places to test your pad­dle­board skills, thanks pri­mar­i­ly to some pret­ty spec­tac­u­lar weath­er all year round. It also doesn’t hurt that Cabo San Lucas is a vaca­tion and relax­ation mec­ca with tons of things to see and do off the waters as well as on. The area hosts plen­ty of down­wind SUP com­pe­ti­tions, along with some great waters at Acalpulquito for those want­i­ng some­what calmer waves, while Zipper’s has some pret­ty great reef breaks.