How To Stand Up Paddle Board In La Jolla

Stand Up Paddle-Boarding, or SUP’ing as it’s commonly referred to, is one of the fastest growing beach sports around the world. In a nutshell, it combines the stability and user-friendly qualities of canoeing with the freedom and accessibility of surfing. It’s fun, easy to get into and a great workout – you’ll find yourself using core muscles you didn’t know existed. The warm water and striking backdrops of La Jolla’s beaches are also ideal for getting your first taste of it, which is why you see more and more people paddling around the cove every day.

To find out more about where, how and why you should try it, we spoke with Chris Lynch of

How To Begin

The large, buoyant boards are stable enough for novices to paddle around in flat water, where they can learn the ropes without endangering themselves or others. The easiest way to start is on your knees – use the paddle (oar) to propel yourself forwards, backwards and in circles. Once you’ve mastered this, try standing up with your feet together or in a traditional surfing stance and doing the same thing.

We asked Chris where people who’ve never set foot on a board should start. “For beginner paddle boarders, we always recommend Mission Bay. We’re not making anything out of it, but if you are a 100% beginner it’s safe to try the Bay. If you’re comfortable in the water and want to go one step up, the cove is great. We’ll often be out in La Jolla and it’ll be completely flat – which is perfect.

How Difficult Is It?

Stand up paddle boarding for me is one of those things that you can learn on your own, Chris says. “I’d recommend a surfing SUP lesson to anybody, but a touring SUP you can rent. With a little bit of paddling and some practice, you can be up in no time. We actually don’t rent our boards out to be surfed – they’re meant as touring boards, like the big 12 footers for paddling in the cove.”

Very Important: Do not go into a crowded swimming or surfing area if you’re not experienced on an SUP or under the supervision of an instructor. You’ll be putting yourself and others at risk if you lose control of the board. While you’re still getting things dialed it will be far less stressful for you and everyone else in the water.

Go straight out into the open water (where it’s flat) first and learn there. Figure it out and get your balance there. Don’t surf the board. Get a handle on it first – even before you buy one.

Where To Go:


We recommend the same route that we follow kayaking, we recommend SUP’s to follow, Christ explains. “Go down the coastline to the caves (you can’t go inside the caves), but that loop in the cove is amazing. You can Stand Up Paddleboard right over the leopard sharks, right by the sea lions and the caves. It’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and it’s right here.

Where It Began

Although it’s a relatively new contemporary sport, Stand Up Paddle-boarding was born in Hawaii during the nineteen fifties and sixties, after the Second World War ended. Tourism took off across the islands – Waikiki Beach was the main place people could learn to surf. The locals, known as ‘Beach Boys’ would work as surf instructors to the haoles (tourists) who naturally wanted pictures of themselves doing it for bragging rights when they got home. By standing up and using an outrigger paddle to steer their redwood boards, the ‘Beach Boys’ could take snapshots of the holiday makers riding a wave and then charge them for the service. The style of surfing with a paddle became known as ‘Beach Boy Surfing’, which is what we call Stand Up Paddle-Boarding today.

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