How to Go Paddleboarding in Vancouver

Two people are seen in silhouette paddleboarding in Vancouver

Paddleboarding near Kits Beach. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Kindred and Scout

Vancouver is the perfect place to plan a paddleboarding adventure. You can get on the water in the heart of downtown, at the beaches, and on wilderness coastlines. No matter where you go, you’ll experience incredible mountain and cityscape views.

Know Before You Go

With lots of calm coves and protected inlets, Vancouver is a great place for beginner paddleboarders. Many outfitters offer tours and lessons. Rental operators can also give you technique tips and recommendations for safe places to paddle.

Paddleboard rentals come with PFDs (short for personal flotation devices, a.k.a. life jackets), which are required by law in Canada. You can also rent wetsuits, which are great in chilly spring and fall weather.

Don’t forget to bring sunglasses, a hat, sunscreen, a bathing suit and a towel. Out on the water you might want to wear quick-drying workout clothing for sun protection over your bathing suit. It’s also a good idea to bring a change of clothes to wear afterward.

Most paddleboards have bungee cords on the front where you can stash a pair of sandals, a water bottle, or other gear.

False Creek

Stand-up paddleboarding in False Creek

Stand up paddle boarding in False Creek. Photo: Destination Vancouver/Tanya Goehring

You can paddleboard right in the middle of the city by launching at Granville Island. You’ll paddle in the quiet and calm waters of False Creek. Steer yourself east to the end of the creek at Science World, then work your way back, admiring the city as you go. Vancouver Water Adventures offers rentals and lessons out of their Granville Island office. Or sign up for their popular 2-hour SUP Tour. You’ll see Granville Island, the Olympic Village, Science World, BC Place stadium, and other must-see sites as you cruise past on your paddleboard.


Kitsilano Beach

Paddleboarder at Spanish Banks Beach in Vancouver

Photo: Destination Vancouver / Hubert Kang

Known as “Kits Beach” to locals, sandy Kitsilano Beach is one of Vancouver’s most popular beaches. It also has a great view of the North Shore Mountains. Vancouver Water Adventures operates a kayak and paddleboard rental kiosk here in the summer months. The shallow water just offshore is great for beginners to practice. But it can get windy further out, so exploring to the west towards Spanish Banks Beach is best for more experienced paddlers.


Cates Park

Two people padleboard at Cates Park in North Vancouver

Paddleboarding at Cates Park. Photo: Cates Park Paddling Centre/Facebook

North Vancouver’s Cates Park is a great place to launch a paddleboard. It’s also known as Whey-Ah-Wichen (which means ‘facing the wind‘) in the Tsleil-Waututh language. You can rent paddleboards from the Indigenous-run Cates Park Paddling Centre. Beginners will enjoy paddling along the beach in front of the park. If you’re more advanced, head east along the coast to Deep Cove or across the inlet to Belcarra Park.


Deep Cove

Three people paddleboarding in Deep Cove

Photo: Deep Cove Kayak

Deep Cove in North Vancouver has been a top destination for paddlers for decades. Rent a paddleboard at Deep Cove Kayak then paddle the tranquil waters of the cove. More experienced and adventurous paddlers can head north into the wilderness of Indian Arm, which has spectacular mountain views. And if you want to paddleboard with your friends, rent their Starship SUP. It holds four people! Deep Cove Kayak also offers SUP lessons to sharpen your technique.


Bowen Island

Kayaking on Bowen Island

Photo: Bowen Island Sea Kayaking

Although it’s just a short ferry ride from Vancouver, Bowen Island feels worlds away. Bowen Island Sea Kayaking is located right next to the ferry dock so you can walk onto the ferry and leave the car behind. They rent stand-up paddleboards and also offer lessons if you need help mastering the sport. The calm waters of Snug Cove and nearby Deep Bay are a great place for beginners. More advanced paddleboarders can explore Bowen Island’s rugged shoreline.

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