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Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Victoria BC

Stand Up Paddle Boarding is a newer water sport that seems to be gaining in popularity every year. Some people predict it will take over kayaking as far as most popular water adventure activity. Stand up paddle boarding is abbreviated to SUP and uses a surf style board and a long paddle. It has also been described as a cross between canoeing and surfing. 

Disclaimer: I may make a small commission from some of the links on this page.

To propel the board across the water, you stand up on the board and paddle like a canoe. Participants can also sit on the board and paddle if desired. Transport Canada considers paddle boards to be a “human-powered pleasure craft” and with that comes requirements to carry on board certain safety equipment. Review the Transport Canada Safe Boating Guide for details.  

Best Spots to Paddle Board Near Victoria

  • Gorge Waterway - get a quick lesson and 2-hour paddle with this SUP experience
  • Thetis Lake
  • Langford Lake
  • Matheson Lake
  • Elk Lake
  • Inner Harbour
  • Gonzales Beach
  • Willows Beach
  • Cadboro Bay
  • Esquimalt Lagoon
  • Tod Inlet

What to Wear While Paddle Boarding

Naturally, for the most part, deciding what to wear on a stand-up paddle board is dependent on the weather conditions and your own comfort level. For most people who go out on the ocean or one of the region’s many lakes on a warm summer day, shorts and a t-shirt or bathing suit is appropriate. A wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses are highly recommended. Layered clothing and a wind breaker may be required on cooler days. 

Remember that a lifejacket or PFD is required. A lifejacket is your best defence against the cold water and will provide more flotation than most PFDs. Refer to Transport Canada Getting Started with Safe Boating

Instruction and Guided Tours

The following local businesses provide equipment rentals, lessons and guided stand up paddle board tours. You can also check TourScanner for the best deals on outdoor activities

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club

  • 115 – 2940 Jutland Road, Victoria
  • 778-432-3472
  • Rentals: Yes – SUPs and Kayaks
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: No
  • Sales: Yes – used kayaks

Gyro Beach Board Shop

  • 3840 Cadboro Bay Rd, Victoria, BC V8N 4G2
  • 778-433-9200
  • Rentals: Yes 
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: No
  • Sales: No

Oak Bay Marina (in partnership with Ocean River Sports)

  • 1327 Beach Drive, Victoria
  • 250-598-3369
  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: No
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: No

Ocean River Sports

  • 1630 Store St, Victoria, BC V8W 1V3
  • 250-381-4233
  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: Yes

Pacifica Paddle Sports

  • 789 Saunders Lane, Brentwood Bay
  • 250-665-7411 OR
  • Canoe Cove Marina, Swartz Bay
  • 250-665-4548
  • Rentals: Yes – kayak (single and tandem), canoe and stand up paddle board
  • Lessons: Yes, kayak, canoe and stand up paddle board
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: Yes

Palli Paddleboards

  • Near the entrance to Thetis Lake on Six-Mile Road
  • Book online
  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: No
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: Yes

South Island SUP

  • 273 Richmond Avenue, Victoria BC  
  • 778-679-1423
  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes (with accredited guides)
  • Sales: Yes

Sports Rent

  • 3-1950 Government Street, Victoria, BC V8T 4N8
  • 250-385-7368
  • rentals include SUPS, surf gear, bicycles and much more

SUP Victoria

  • 355 Gorge Rd W, Victoria, BC V9A 1M9
  • 778-977-3877
  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: No

West Coast Outdoor Adventure Rentals

  • 6971 W Coast Road, Sooke, BC V9Z 0R7
  • 250-664-7794
  • kayaks, paddleboards and bikes
  • rentals and tours

Equipment

You’re going to need a stand-up paddle board – either inflatable or hard epoxy/fiberglass - and a paddle. If you are purchasing a board, factors such as portability, storage space, durability, performance and cost will help you determine which one is best for you. Inflatable boards are more durable than a hard board and better suited to people new to the sport. Local companies have just the right equipment and guidance for your skills. We suggest you use TourScanner to compare  options

Weather

Ideal weather for paddle boarding is air temperature that is warm enough to be out on the water but not too warm that you overheat. Other factors are the water temperature, tides and currents, wind speed, wind direction, precipitation, lightning and fog. 

Victoria experiences very little in the way of lightning and thunder but it is important to get off the water as quickly as possible if you see lightning.  

As for our water temperature, the average daily temperature of the seas around Victoria BC range from 7.3°C (45.1°F) to 11.5°C (52.7°F).  

Before going out on the water, be sure to check the conditions and forecast at Environment Canada. Local water sports enthusiasts head to BigWaveDave for weather information, wind reports, wind predictions and area webcams. 

Best Time of the Year to Paddle Board

With our temperate climate, I’ve seen paddlers out throughout the year but the best time to go is April through October, weather permitting. 

What You Might See

*Marine life viewing will vary depending on whether you paddle on a lake or the ocean.

  • Harbour seals
  • Blue herons
  • Moon jellies
  • Oyster catchers
  • Sea lions
  • Whales
  • River otters
  • Bald eagles

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