Standup 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.
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.