Disclosure: I am not affiliated with nor I am receiving any form of income from the recommended companies below.
One of my absolute favorite things to do in Southern California is stand-up paddleboard. The very first time I went, I took a lesson in a lagoon in Marina Del Rey. I am ALL about taking lessons before I do something that I think I’m going to end up loving (next up: indoor rock climbing lessons). I’m a weirdo about proper form and technique, and this class was great for learning the basics. I found a Groupon for a place call Pro SUP Shop, and the instructor teaches you and a small group how to mount your board, proper foot placement, use of paddle, etc. The water is super calm, no waves, and it’s a great place to learn! While I was at the lesson, I saw a group of women doing yoga on their paddleboards in the water, and my first thought was, “They’re nuts.” My second thought was, “I want to do that.”
I went SUP-ing a few more times in marinas and bays before hitting the ocean for the first time. My favorite company to rent from is called Bliss Paddle Yoga. They operate out of San Diego, Laguna Beach and Newport Beach, and I’ve used them multiple times in Laguna and once in SD. It’s basically just a truck with their logo on it, and they have directions when you make your reservation on where the van will be parked so you can check in and pick up your board. They offer guided SUP rentals, where an instructor will go out with you, solo SUP rentals and paddleboard yoga! I’ve done each of these and you really can’t go wrong. With the guided tour, the instructor kind of acts as a tour guide, pointing things out along the shore or sharing SUP facts with you. I’ve only had one instance where the waves were too strong and my reservation was cancelled. I would definitely advise going earlier in the morning, as the waves tend to pick up around 10-11am.
The yoga class with Bliss Paddle is SUPER cool. The classes are kept small (no more than 8 people) so you really get to know your instructor and can try out cool things with their guidance. A few people in my class were even doing headstands on their boards! Meanwhile, I was happily floating out to sea during savasana because my board came loose from the kelp that was anchoring us. Whoops!
Rentals with Bliss Paddle are either $20 or $25 for 1 hour (plus $10 per additional hours) depending on the location, and the yoga classes are $40 to $45.
If you’re looking for a great way to get some sun and some exercise before brunch and beach lounging, I would highly recommend stand-up paddleboarding! Don’t forget to purchase a waterproof floating bag for your phone if you plan to take pictures, and don’t take your sunglasses out on the board unless you’re okay with losing them in the ocean should you fall in. Sunglasses sink. I sadly speak from experience here.
Have you ever been stand-up paddleboarding? Where did you do it? What did you think?