Imagine a surf board but no surf and you get an idea of paddle boarding. Boarders stand upright, using a single paddle to glide through calm waters. It’s a great workout and a fantastic way for almost anyone to get out on the water.
And Vancouver just might be one of the prettiest spots in the world to paddle board. Calm seas, beautiful mountain and city views and plenty of places to rent equipment have turned downtown into a boarding hub.
Among the most popular spots for beginning paddle boarders is English Bay. Ecomarine Paddlesport Centre operates a concession right on the popular downtown beach. Grab a board ($19 the first hour; $10 each additional hour) and in minutes you can be cruising past sandy shores and rocky coastline, backed by the high-rises of downtown Vancouver. Adventurous types can even swing into False Creek, a saltwater inlet that plunges into the heart of the city. Ecomarine also offers intro lessons and fitness classes.
To get up close and personal with mother nature, head to the Vancouver suburb of Deep Cove, situated on a 12-mile-long glacial fjord. Pick up a board at Deep Cove Canoe and Kayak Centre ($20 the first hour; $10 each additional hour), then paddle your way along wild shores lined with cliffs and Pacific coastal rainforest. See seals, eagles and more as you wind deeper into the rugged Coast Mountains.