If the big waves of surfing are not for you – of if you just want to try the fastest growing watersport in the world since 2004 – Kauai is the perfect place to learn what’s up: with Stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) that is. Offering some of the same excitement as surfing when you catch a wave, SUP also provides peace and tranquility as you glide effortlessly across the water. Plus, it’s an excellent full-body and core workout, it can be learned in an afternoon, and it is great for ocean enthusiasts of all ages.
All About a Stand-up Paddle Board
Similar to surf boards in construction, SUP boards are thicker and designed to float higher in the water. Ranging from 8-12 feet in length, riders stand atop the board which is designed to be easier to balance thanks to its width and thickness. This stability and makes it easier to navigate Oahu’s bays with iconic curved paddles. At Paddleboard Kaua‘i, they pride themselves on matching the rider to the right board size and shape, making it even easier for you to master this fun watersport. They offer daily and weekly SUP rentals at reasonable prices, as well as guided tours. Their helpful guides are also standing by to give you the inside tips on where to explore with your new board.
As Hawaii’s only navigable river, the Wailua is the perfect place to learn stand-up paddle boarding in Kauai. These calm waters weave among the foothills with hidden waterfalls and grottos just waiting to be explored. Easily accessed from eastern Kauai, this is an ideal spot for your first stand-up paddle board adventure and a great place to spend the day.
On the North Shore, Anini Beach boasts Hawaii’s largest coral reef, and the end result is a 2-mile stretch of enclosed lagoon perfect for standup. From your vantage point on your board you’ll see colorful reef fish darting past you in the crystal clear waters and green sea turtles lounging inside the reef as they take a break from foraging algae from the rocks and coral. Just past Anini lay the tranquil waters of Hanalei Bay, another idyllic spot to SUP. With gentle waves that break along the pier you can try your hand at SUP surfing, or simply explore the crescent bay draped in stunning 4,000-foot high mountains. If the bay is too rough for your liking, the adjacent Hanalei River offers a scenic and peaceful mile-long stretch of prime paddling. You’ll glide past palm trees and emerald green taro fields as you catch a glimpse back in time at Old Hawaii.
While the winter waves on the North Shore can make for rough conditions at many beaches, there are still plenty of prime spots for stand year-round. Check out the excellent boards from Paddleboard Kaua‘i or the other SUP vendors on island, or check to see if your Arrived vacation rental includes a SUP board at the property (many do). Then, grab your paddle, collect your balance, and hit the water!
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