Paddle boarding is one of the fastest growing sports in the world. In a city like Sydney, which is all about the water, be it the harbour, or world class beaches, its popularity is hardly surprising.
One of the most appealing aspects is its really easy to get started, for pretty much anybody, it is a bit similar to uncoordinated surfing. You experience that connection to the beach high with the minimal possibility of getting cast off by a wave.
Nevertheless, there is no guarantee you won’t take a dunk if you are really uncoordinated. If you are trying it out for the first time, it is advisable that you paddleboard in tranquil waters and on a calm day.
In case the winds pick up, the waves may heighten, however, never underestimate the seemingly low waves. You should know that the flatter the water, the easier it is to paddle.
Sydney beaches are always a beehive of activities associated with this sport. People flock in from all directions and cities to paddleboard at various locations throughout Sydney and NSW. This is due to some of the amazing scenery you can see, that would otherwise be inaccessible.
To experience the best paddleboarding Sydney and surrounding areas in NSW, here are the best places to visit, working from North to South…
Clareville Beach is best for paddleboarding since it is calmer more protected water that is only 10 minutes from Palm Beach.
The following are some amenities in the beach that should make you prefer it over others.
- Toilet facilities for both male and female
- Outdoor shower
- Picnic site
- Variety of picnic tables viewing areas
- Electric BBQs
- Disabled toilet access
- Dinghy Storage
The beach is suitable for paddling beginners due to the calm water.
There are also instructors available who can teach you before you go out and try it by yourself
Similar to most things in life, when you decide to do something, learn to do it excellently.
The Narrabeen is a calm beach that is most suitable for beginners of this sport.
In the beach, you can be offered a private or group paddleboarding Sydney training, which are conducted on the flat water or even in the surf.
You should consider visiting the north of the Narrabeen Lagoon. It is a captivating site.
The clean and calm water in this beach is never crowded, and it is therefore absolutely perfect for training.
After paddling, you can walk across the iconic lagoon bridge to Mexicana and have a meal of chipotle fish tacos or jalapeno margaritas.
Manly beach is quite unique and one that you should consider visiting if you want a great day out – whether you are paddleboarding or not.
The wharf itself is only a couple of minutes from the beach which and is the only place in Sydney to offer both yoga and paddleboard Sydney coaching.
Not only does the wharf offer calm waters for beginners, but its array of shops and cafés make it a great place to spend the day with the family.
The most preferred areas surrounding the wharf include; Quarantine Beach, and the Ocean World Sea Life Sanctuary.
Parking can be tricky around Manly since it is very a popular destination, but you can get a 2-hour parking space on the East Esplanade hill.
Parking is also available on Ashburner Street and Victoria Parade but it can be quite pricey with fees ranging from $20 to $35 for two hours.
The still waters of Balmoral are excellent for paddleboarding.
If you want to experience the sport, consider it a must do activity next time you visit Balmoral beach.
The great thing about Balmoral beach is that beginners can remain in the safety of the moored boats or hang around on the slightly exposed island.
The Mosman locals are very familiar with the beach lifestyle and the area has several cafes where you can spend time when you aren’t out on the water.
There are several professional teachers around that can teach you how to paddleboard, or you can use the calmer areas to learn yourself.
In Balmoral beach, there is a two-hour free street parking area around the beach.
If you come as a family, it is recommendable that you pay for parking. This costs between $10 and $15.
After enjoying paddleboarding, you can go to the Balmoral Boatshed and get some brunch.
You can also relax and lie on the deck while sipping some cider.
From the Gibson’s Beach, the Sydney Scenic SUP provides exciting tours in the calm waters of the Sydney Harbor.
During the two-hour paddle adventure, you will get unbeatable scenic views of the Sydney skyline.
Admire Sydney’s iconic sites while paddleboarding at the Watsons Bay as you enjoy views of Sydney’s CBD and glimpses of the trademark Sydney Harbor Bridge.
Paddle your way towards the quiet Camp Cove Beach to gaze at a harbour sunset.
Paddleboard beginners can also train at this beach since it is wide and has calm waters.
After paddling, you can visit the recently revamped Watson’s Bay Boutique Hotel.
Rose Bay is a small park found below the Rose Bay Police station and sandwiched between Point Piper Marina and Rose Bay Marina.
The park has a sandy beach and a shaded picnic site.
Mostly preferred for small wedding ceremonies since there are a variety of reception venues in the area, this give you an indication that you will have some beautiful views when out on the water.
Some of the facilities available around are park benches, white sandy beach, disabled access, dinghy storage and playground.
Paddleboarding beginners can train and practice easily at Rose bay beach since it features flat, calm waters. You can hire paddleboards on the beach most days of the week.
Coogee Beach is a popular family retreat destination.
The clear waters and picturesque view makes it a fantastic location to test your paddling balance on a board while enjoying the saltwater breeze. Coogee tends to be calmer than neighbouring beaches Bondi, Tamarama and Bronte, making it ideal for SUP’ing
When you get back on land, enjoy Coogee’s clean sandy shoreline and picnic facilities without skipping the popular Bondi to Coogee walk.
Heading to South Sydney, just after Maroubra beach resides the beautiful Malabar beach. It is not the most well known of beaches, which is how the locals love it. Malabar, however, is probably our favourite beach for paddleboarding. It’s almost always calm and flat, but to the right hand side there is always a little wave to play on.
We like it so much we shot all our SUP videos there!
It’s a family friendly spot, with a nice cafe just off the beach for après SUP coffee.
If Malabar is not as placid as usual you can head over to the other side of the head and try out Frenchmans Bay. This is a lovely calm beach located within Botany Bay. Shops, restaurants and a children’s playground are located nearby.
Frenchmans must be great for paddleboarding because there is even a SUP school based there. They offer board hire, adventure tours and even children’s parties. They use the Sevylor Inflatable SUP boards, so it’s a great way to try before you buy.
Cronulla is also another popular destination for paddleboard Sydney enthusiasts.
For children and beginners, this is a good place for them since the beach is calm and trainers are readily available.
Cronulla is a great place for paddleboarding in Sydney due to it having conditions for both beginners and the more experienced.
Beginners will enjoy heading around to Gunnamatta bay to practice, while the more seasoned will enjoy one of the several beaches along the esplanade.
Port Hacking Waterway
Found one-hour drive south of Sydney, in Bundeena, the Port Hacking Waterway features a natural splendour of the famous Royal National Park.
You can explore the tranquil waterway environment as you discover magnificent stretches of beaches and breathtaking picnic sites.
The beach isn’t as suitable for beginners as some of the others on this list as it can be overcrowded, but it is an excellent location for experienced paddle boarders.
Tips on Paddleboarding
- Pick the size suitable for your body. A wider and longer paddling board is easier to use as compared to a smaller and narrow board.
- First practice paddling in flat water before you try the waves.
- Balance on your knees first before attempting to stand.
- Hold the paddleboard correctly.
- Alternate your hands to avoid rotating on the water.
- Utilize all your strength by making sure that the head of the paddleboard is under the water. Push it hard. Note that, the harder you push, the faster your pace will be.
- Paddle with your head up while facing the horizon to maintain balance.
- Be ready to get wet and when you fall off, do it away from the paddleboard. Make sure your board strap is tied to your ankle.
Within no time you will be ready for the next challenge – Standing with someone else on the board.
Which is the Best Board?
Your right board is determined by your weight, skill and size.
Normally, the heavier and taller you are, the wider, longer and thicker the board you need.
Beginners usually spend more than a year on a bigger board to consolidate confidence and skills before trying something specialized like long-distance paddling or catching waves.
- For Beginners: They should use boards between three meters and 3.3 meters long that are wide and steady.
- For wave surfing: Smaller boards, more manoeuvrable, suit into the waves better and are lighter to carry.
- For long-distance paddling: Use thicker and very stable board featuring flatter curves between the tail and nose. They should be designed to assist you to glide further with every stroke.
Sevylor make inflatable Stand Up Paddleboards. They are rigid like a normal hard board, but are great for storage and transportation.