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A Guide to Stand Up Paddling in Lake Tahoe: the ABCs of SUP

Submitted on: 6/7/24 | by Lindsey Carlson
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SUP (stand up paddleboarding) has been attracting people from all walks of life for awhile now, probably because it works great to tone the body and it’s just plain fun. Because you have to balance your body on the board, your core and legs get a workout in order to keep you from falling off, while the paddling itself incorporates cardio and strength training for an entire body, but low impact workout. SUP began long ago in Hawaii as a plausible way for beach guides to keep a watchful eye on tourists. It is now one of the most popular sports across the globe. Not only is it easy and fun, it’s a great way to stay in shape.

One of the best place to start if you’re not ready to buy a ticket to Hawaii is definitely Lake Tahoe. Between the fairly calm waters and the warm temperatures, it’s easy for beginners to get accustomed to the board and perfect their paddleboarding technique.

Lake Tahoe offers some of the most scenic views along its 72-mile shoreline that you will ever lay eyes on. And taking it all in by SUP provides an even more unique perspective that’s simply amazing. Before 10am, the lake remains calm and flat and winds generally lighten-up towards sunset. Therefore, the best time to SUP, especially for beginners, is early evening or in the morning. Barefoot is the best way to go if you want to paddle near the beachfront. But, be sure to bring plenty of snacks, fresh water, sandals, and lots of sunscreen if you plan on staying longer than an hour.

East Lake Area

Adjacent to the boat launch, Tahoe City Kayak (521 North Lake Boulevard), rents out paddleboards from Sand Harbor State Park. If you don’t like crowds, don’t visit during July or August. A scenic paddle over to the historic Thunderbird Lodge alongside the granite boulders is an excursion that should not be missed. They have more than 20 boards to rent out at just $25 per hour, $50 for a half day, and $75 for the entire day. Plan your day early and definitely call ahead to make reservations.

West Lake Area

Across from Obexer’s Marina close to Homewood, lies West Shore Sports that offers some of the most inexpensive rental rates found anywhere along the lake. The boards are perfect for beginners and people who find balancing somewhat of a ‘challenge’. More traditional boards that are designed for long distance paddling and are available.  Note that it’s first-come, first-serve. The prices also includes basic paddling instructions - launch happens across the street at Obexer’s (5395 West Lake Boulevard).

North Lake Area

Head over to Adrift Tahoe (8338 North Lake Boulevard) in King’s Beach. Intended as a Sierra surf shop, Adrift Tahoe has a distinct mountain feel with the full gear and guidance you’ll require in order to get started. Yogis can practice their skills during Adrift’s yoga class every Thursday morning. Taught by Mountain Lotus Yoga instructors, the class begins by warming up on the beach, and then heads to the boards for a series of poses, similar to a floating alpine studio. Want to go out for a paddle? Paddle rental is accompanied with basic instructions. Again, it’s a first-come, first-serve system. Adrift’s also offers SUP classes and weekly tours.

HINT: Find the best places to stay in North Lake Tahoe: http://www.tahoesbest.com/hotels_resorts/north_west_shore.htm

South Lake Area

South Tahoe SUP has more than 60 boards from the best manufacturers available for rent/sale as well as tours, basic lessons, and weekly race competitions at Regan Beach on Wednesdays. From 8am to 4pm, they offer whole-day tours starting from Regan Beach to Emerald Bay; or, there’s a half-day option starting from 8am to 12pm; and during the summer, there’s a sunset option beginning at 5pm. Each option includes a mini lesson and board rental. (3115 Harrison Avenue, Lake Tahoe)

HINT: Find the best places to stay in South Lake Tahoe: http://www.tahoesbest.com/specials/south-lake-tahoe.html

Lake Tahoe has much to offer whether you’re a first-time or seasoned paddleboarder, and summer is the best time to enjoy the Lake.