Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is a pastime that has only been around for a decade or so, but in that time has become one of the fastest-growing water sports in the world. And it's easy to see why. Here's your ultimate guide to paddle boarding in Brisbane (and surrounds):
At its more advanced levels, SUP can be a thrilling alternative to surfing, with the extra paddle power giving boarders more speed and control when catching waves.
On flat water, it is a laid-back outdoor activity that is easy to pick up, pleasantly addictive and good for your health. You'll probably be enjoying yourself too much to notice as you're cruising around, but SUP is an excellent work out for core and shoulder muscles especially — something that will become apparent the following day.
Hey, if celebrities make a point of being photographed doing it, it must be okay for ordinary humans like you and me, right?
For Brisbanites who want to see what all the fuss is about, there are various options around the city, or up or down the coast. Most outlets who'll hire boards out will also offer beginner lessons, and many run organised group paddles as well.
You can learn all the basics in about 20 minutes, and from there the instructors will either stick with you as you gingerly set off, or, if you're confident enough, let you make your own way. After a couple of sessions you'll be coasting around like a boss. Believe it or not, it's actually quite hard to fall off a paddle board.
Once you have some experience behind you, there are lots of ways to get more out of SUP. As mentioned earlier, you can hit the surf for a more action-packed version of the sport, or embark on a long-distance course that takes in attractive scenery or wildlife spotting.
The latest trend to really take off is paddle board yoga, which involves doing yoga poses while floating on the water. The serenity of the setting only adds to the yoga experience, while the many mutual elements to both activities, such as balance, strength and flexibility, mean they naturally go hand in hand. Pilates is another pursuit that is well-suited to SUP.
'Oh mercy, that sounds marvellous!' I hear you say, 'but where on God's green earth would I go if I want to try stand up paddle boarding?'
I have already anticipated that question, and compiled a list of board hirers/lesson givers below.
Brisbane Stand Up Paddle Club (Moreton Bay)
This enjoyable get-together for SUPers of all standards and experience levels meets once a fortnight.
170 Flinders Parade, Sandgate, Brisbane
Club Director: Padi Kotwall
Ph: 07 3137 0500
Email: [email protected]
Floating Yoga (Redcliffe)
Held monthly on a Sunday from 7am–8.30am (check website for the next date), this relaxing class involves a paddle out to sea as a warm up, then practising some yoga poses closer to shore. Bookings essential.
Redcliffe Jetty Beach, Redcliffe Parade
25 Tubbs St, Clontarf
Ph: 0421 999 433
Riverlife | Stand Up Paddle Boarding (Kangaroo Point)
Riverlife's talented instructors will set you up with the techniques you need to know to get you going, before you set off from the Kangaroo Point cliffs and take in the sights along the Brisbane River. Best of all, this friendly class is suitable for boarders of any skill level.
Fill in the online contact form here.
Ph: 07 3891 5766
BrisKites (Brisbane River)
Offering a variety of options for those with or without their own paddle boards, whether you are looking for lessons, hire or group paddles along the river.
Sunshine Coast Adventure Centre (Mooloolaba)
This is a convenient option if you want to go for a quick paddle at the Sunshine Coast. Located right across from Underwater World at Mooloolaba in the Wharf Complex, you can head into the Hire Hut, pay the nice lady and be in the water in minutes. They also provide instructions, if required, and the staff will also suggest the best circuit to take through the well-protected canals, depending on the conditions of the day.
The HIRE HUT Sunshine Coast Adventure Centre
Shop 9 The Wharf Complex
Phone: (07) 5444 0366, 0422 178 444
Stand Up Paddle Surfing (Noosa)
Local guru Hayden Stintman conducts lessons and guided paddles in the gorgeous Noosa River. With a mobile van he can meet you anywhere if you arrange it in advance, or recommend the best spots to launch from on any particular day. Noosa Heads is also the perfect spot to try out paddle boarding in small surf, if you have been doing it for a while and are looking for a new challenge.
Daily Classes: Jetty 17, 248 Gympie Terrace, Noosaville
Or for the mobile van to come to you:
Phone: 0412 175 217
Online booking here.
Go Vertical SUP Hire (Mobile)
If you're heading down from Brisbane for the day, you can give GV a call and find out where they are set up. Suitable for beginners who need to learn the basics, and more experienced boarders who just want to putter about the Gold Coast canals.
Covering the area from Tweed Heads to Hope Island, call for information.
Phone: 0423 71 66 25
Book online here.
Image Credit: Yogi Moni