10 of the best places to SUP in the South West

by Anna Lane

The South West coast is one of the most popular destinations for watersports in the UK. It’s home to some of the best locations to go Stand Up Paddleboarding with a large array of stunningly beautiful winding rivers, pristine lakes and tranquil coastal bays. Paddleboarding is an incredibly fun and social activity that is widely accessible. Being a low impact activity, this wonderful experience can be enjoyed with friends or family, whatever age or fitness ability. You will have the opportunity to discover many hidden treasures along the UK waterways and explore the diverse range of wildlife. To guide you on your new SUP adventure, we have listed 10 of the best SUP locations on the South West coast.

SUP with sunset on the sea

1. River Hamble, Southampton 

What we love: The river is a stunning place to explore, running through the picturesque villages of Bishop’s Waltham, Botley and the village of Hamble. Paddle through this incredibly scenic route, totally immersed by ancient woodland. It's rich in wildlife- you will find curlews along the river and an amazing collection of wildflowers, insects and reptiles. Looking for a quick stop for lunch? Take a break and enjoy the delicious food at one of the beautiful traditional pubs or cafes along the way.

Where to go: The Paddle Centre has a large variety of courses and activities available for paddlers of all ages and levels of experience. Activities include beginner taster sessions, safaris, group yoga and fitness classes as well as bespoke private lessons. They also provide a hire service on an hourly basis all throughout the year. 

Book now SUP with The Paddle Centre

2. River Stour, Dorset  

What we love: The river is an impressive 61 miles long and is the home to many different species of fish such as eels, roach and grayling and if you are lucky you may encounter a family of otters! It's the perfect location for SUP with quiet, tranquil waters which are ideal if you are looking for a quick swim after a day of paddleboarding.

Where to go: Dorset SUP organise a range of sessions such as intro lessons and bespoke 2 hr lessons. If you are looking for an all-day experience, they offer a range of tours around picturesque locations such as Christchurch Harbour, Old Harry’s Rock, Studland Bay and Brownsea Island.

Book now SUP with Dorset SUP

3. The Duckpond, Devon 

What we love: Another stunning area to SUP is the Duckpond on the river Exe in Exmouth. It’s a great location to paddleboard with easy access to the river via a slip. There is a long stretch of golden sandy beach and an abundance of seabirds and geese. With a sandbank surrounding the bay, there is very little tide, and shallow waters, making it an ideal place to learn and improve for beginners.

Where to go: Edge Watersports is a family-run watersports school, managed by experts Eric and Steph Bridge. They are renowned as a top-quality kitesurfing school but also offer paddleboarding sessions along the Duckpond. Their 90 min taster sessions include all equipment and instruction on technique, tidal awareness and safety. If you are more experienced you can also hire out SUP boards for your own self guided adventure around the bay.

Book now SUP with Edge Watersports

4. Firestone Bay, Plymouth 

What we love: The beautiful Firestone Bay is right in the heart of Plymouth. It’s perfectly located between the River Tamar and Plymouth sound and provides breathtaking views. With tranquil calm waters, it is the perfect place for people looking for flatwater paddling. You also pass by a large array of restaurants and eateries around Royal Williams Yard, which you can stop off at along the way and explore. 

Where to go: South West SUP organises a large selection of SUP sessions. Join them for intro lessons, bespoke lessons, SUP yoga class or maybe a family session. They also offer full-day paddleboard hire for the more experienced explorers.

Book now SUP with South West SUP

5. River Tamar, Cornwall 

What we love: The River Tamar carves its path through the rolling hills of the Devon and Cornwall countryside, surrounded by ancient woodland. If you are a nature lover this location is ideal for some sightseeing. You will have the opportunity to discover a  diverse range of habitats and wildlife along the whole stretch. It’s great for a SUP adventure with glassy water conditions and the ability to connect with the surrounding nature. 

Where to go: Mai Adventures have a large variety of sessions for everyone! For beginners, they hold SUP intro sessions. If you are seeking a truly relaxing experience, try their paddleboard and yoga retreats. They even have sunset SUP, a great way to gaze at the stunning sunsets over the River Tamar.  

Book now SUP with South West SUP

6. Marazion, Cornwall

What we love: The beautiful old town of Marazion is a very popular destination for watersports. Mounts Bay is one of the most beautiful bays in the world, boasting breathtaking views towards the Lizard Peninsula and Land’s end. As the bay is naturally protected it is very calm and flat with crystal clear azure waters and a golden sandy beach.

Where to go: Ocean High was established in 2008 and founded by Laurence Smith, a former marine biologist and highly experienced watersports instructor. 

Book now SUP with Ocean High

7. River Gannel, Cornwall 

What we love: The River Gannel is a beautiful, flat-water tidal estuary which offers pristine paddling conditions. It is a very sheltered stretch of water which flows according to the tide. Revealing sweeping sands and breathtaking blue lagoon, it is one of the most beautiful area to paddle through!

Where to go: The Big Green Surf School is the exclusive surf school on Crantock Beach. They work alongside the Natural Trust and are dedicated to protecting this beautiful natural environment. Get out and explore the stunning estuary with their group sessions, private SUP lessons and tours.

Book SUP now with Big Green Surf School

8. Port Quin, Cornwall 

What we love: Port Quin, located a couple of miles from the popular Port Isaac, is a magical peaceful and rugged inlet with clear calm waters. A stunning area that offers prime conditions for paddling. Surrounded by a spectacular coastline, it’s a great place to explore.

Where to go: Cornish Coast Adventures offer 2hr paddle sessions and provide all the equipment you need for a great beginner adventure. The trips run at high tide whenever possible so that you get to explore the whole stunning stretch. Session sizes are kept small so you can effectively learn how to control the board whilst having bags of fun!Book now SUP with Cornish Coast Adventures

9. Port Gaverne, Cornwall 

What we love: Port Gaverne is a tiny hamlet clustered around a sheltered cove half a mile east of the picturesque village of Port Isaac. Situated in an award-winning ‘Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, it is an amazing location for paddleboarding. Offering a range of routes and venues along the rugged coastline, as well as breathtakingly beautiful views and landscapes.

Where to go: We recommend Cornish Rock Tors. You’ll be ensured top quality guidance and tuition as they have over 10 years of experience running adventure activities in Cornwall. Take part in their 2 hr guided lessons and tours in which full equipment is provided and the fun guaranteed. 

Book now SUP with Cornish Rock Tors

10. River Avon, Bristol 

What we love: The River Avon is a  long and beautiful stretch of water. It cuts through the great Avon Gorge in Bristol featuring dense and stunning woodland either side. You’ll experience some impressive landscape views of the Avon Valley and the Clifton Suspension Bridge on your paddle route.

Where to go: UK Active Outdoors organise a large variety of sessions. For beginners, there are a large number of beginner sessions, every day of the week. If you want to experience the calmness and serenity of the river whilst paddleboarding - try their SUP Yoga. They also provide paddleboard hire for those more experienced paddlers. 

Book now SUP with UK Active Outdoors

You’ll never be short of places to SUP and explore in the South West. These are just a few of the many amazing places available. Check out our marketplace for the full range of experiences we offer.

Looking for more SUP inspiration? Check out 7 of the best places to go stand up paddleboarding in London and SUPs 4 awesome health and well-being benefits

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