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Top SUP Pacific Northwest Paddle Destinations


Pacific Northwest Paddle Destinations

Stand Up paddle board touring and exploring is of the fastest growing travel trends that is taking over the world.  After the lockdown completely lifts, people will be looking to plan their next trip at an ideal paddle boarding destination. To begin your SUP touring journey, you need to have knowledge over the best stand up paddle boarding destinations.  

The freedom of exploration is something intrinsic to the sport of paddle boarding. It opens you the vastness of the open sea, and encourages you to travel into endless possibilities. The water can take you into some of the most mesmerizing spots that the majority is yet to discover.

On a paddleboard, you get to experience nature in its truest essence. A standup paddle board exploration tour is however, extensive in terms of time. This is why most people will hesitate staying on the paddle for days on ends. However, an exploration tour does not necessarily have to extend days. 

Most of the paddle board adventure tours only last a couple of hours, or even one. It entirely depends on the individual’s skill level and determination. Some extreme paddlers have a thriving adventurous spirit, which guides them to explore a month long trail across beautiful water bodies. 

However, staying for this long on the water body does not come easy and is not advisable for the average or beginner level paddler. It also requires plenty of planning and preparation.  Tours such as this are not just fun paddle boarding adventures, but also endurance tests and energy expenditure tests.

 What this means is that how sufficient you are in expending your energy and limited resources throughout the tour, which is a skill in itself, apart from paddle boarding. Nevertheless, you still have to be realistic about your level of paddling and match that with the particular touring and exploring that you plan to do. 

Whether you want to Stand-up paddle tour on steady waters, rapid rivers or high tide conditions, the longer the distance, the better your paddle boarding skills need to be. As long as your paddle boarding skills are on par, you do not have to worry about coastal or inland waterway tours. 

Provided you understand the risks involved, and have good insights over safety precautions, you can paddle board at any destination. Keep in mind that different types of destinations or water bodies will present their own set of risks and challenges. 

Even if you go through SUP school training, these challenges will take you outside of the risk assessment of the stand-up paddle tour. You need to be prepared to take responsibility for your own safety and learn how to adjust in adverse circumstances. 

Where can You SUP Tour?

The best thing about standup paddle boarding is that it is incredibly accessible. Unlike other water sports,  you can standup paddle board on a variety of different places. Whether it is the sea, lake, river, canal or even a swimming pool, hopping on a paddle board is incredibly easy. 

If you are travelling larger distances, you will have to be aware of many things apart from the general paddle techniques. These include the access points on canals or rivers, and winds, waves and currents on coastal regions. However, do not take the inland waterways lightly, the risks involving paddle boarding on them can be equally as dangerous. 

Who Should You Paddle Board with?

There are really no limits on whom you should paddle board with, you can go on a solo adventure if that is what you fancy, or, you can paddle along with a group like most people. Both are emphatically fulfilling and satisfying in their own ways. 

The isolation and feeling of seclusion is beneficial because you get to single yourself out from the bombardments of negative thoughts and focus on the water. This translates into deep self-assessment of yourself and brings about amazing therapeutic affects in a person. 

Solo touring and exploring on a paddleboard ultimately means that you can push away everything in the material world and push your own physical and mental boundaries. Similarly, going on a tour with other people is also great fun and therapeutic. 

It allows you to be sociable, build new relationships and engulf in the rejuvenating feeling of camaraderie.  Adventures with a group are incredibly satisfying and make up for great memorable time that you can discuss with others in the future. 

Paddleboards are very friendly to group adventures, so much so, that you can also purchase a multipurpose board that has a volume to carry two people. These boards are also usually inflatable, which makes them easy to carry.

Hence, they are amazing for a family paddleboard adventure. These boards offer you the chance to paddle with your buddy, children, or even your dog. This adds another element to your touring and exploring adventures and can be very useful. 

They can help develop a beginner’s confidence if they are not comfortable with the paddle boarding by themselves. Nevertheless, you can stand up paddle tour on any kind of board. It is important that you pick a board that is specific to your function and body weight to maximize performance. 

Which Board is Right for You?

If you are serious about paddle board touring, then choosing a specific touring board will help you in many ways. All the different types of touring boards have a similar outline to their design, which is a longer body shape, with proper glide and narrow body. 

They also have a more strap area that allows you to carry all the supplies that you will need to travel longer distances. This design feature is important because long distance touring requires you to have the kit, water and emergency equipments to make sure that you don’t get into any complications. 

Planning Your Route

Before you launch into a new destination, you must do your research over the particular place. Research involves scoping out the area, in terms of water conditions, currents, weather and jurisdictions over paddle boarding. 

To go for a SUP tour, it will involve the act of traveling to a new destination. Therefore, you have to think about the distance you will need to cover, in the time that you have available. In this instance, you need to be very well aware of your own and your fellow paddle boarding partner’s ability. 

This is why; initially starting with shorter distances and less challenging destinations is so helpful. This gives you a great idea on your capabilities as a paddle boarder. This allows you to plan your routes according to the average speed that you are able to sustain including breaks. 

This keeps you from panic rushing home because you were overconfident about how fast you can travel. You want to spend your day enjoying the environment and going on a blissful adventure. Furthermore, the board you use will also affect the average speed of you and your paddleboard group. 

Other factors that come into play are the water movement or the weather conditions. All of these factors can change throughout the day, and will affect your paddle boarding tour. Therefore, you must calculate an average paddling speed. 

There are number of ways you can do this. The first includes timing yourself over a particular distance, or you can also seek the help of applications. Another helpful suggestion would be to ask the help of the paddle boarding community and see how long it takes them to complete the route that you are starting to embark. 

Planning Around Weather

Suitable weather conditions will also be important when you plan your route. Not only will they allow you to meet your average paddling speed, they will also keep you safe from unfavorable environmental attacks. 

There are plenty of tools that help you take a deeper look into the weather conditions.  You can find these tools online, and they give you insights on the wind direction and tides of a particular location. Tools such as XC weather provide you real time updates and wind formations. These can be incredibly helpful for you. 

 You can check the forecast against the actual conditions just before you head out and launch your board at a new destination. To know that the forecast indication is good gives you that safety and confidence that will account for a stress free SUP tour. 

When you are planning around the weather conditions, you should make the initial assessment in terms of general weather conditions. Also, take into consideration your exact geographical location, as it can locally enhance the weather data that you collect. 

For example, features of a location such as a valley can cause the wind to funnel and get faster. Alternatively, if you are paddle boarding alongside a high cliff, then it can possibly shelter you from the high winds, making paddling easier.

Keep in mind that conditions and your initial plans over a route are not immutable, and they can change quite easily. In fact altering your plan according to the changing conditions is very essential skill that you must learn as a SUP touring enthusiast. 

Do not forget that the weather forecasts are nothing but predictions and speculative analysis because of earlier data. You can also consider using marine charts and ordinance survey maps that help you plan your route and stay secure. 

Wind conditions are often the biggest hurdles to paddle board routes. You must keep in mind that SUP touring takes you somewhere different and farther at a given location. Therefore, expect to come across conditions that you have never experienced before. 

You might have to paddle into the wind, across it, or downwind. This could come in conjunction with less stable water conditions. These unknown circumstances, although seem discouraging, should not stop you from paddle boarding. Instead, it can help you plan better and overcome adversity if you enter the water in preparation for all possible risks. 

Access to the Water

This is another crucial step into your planning and it involves considering the access points and exit points. Many waterways will have access restrictions and you must have the information over where you can end your paddle board route. 

Similarly, you should also be aware of where you can stop during your paddle route. In some cases, your need to have a permit or a license to access the waterways, which is why research is so important when you set out to paddle board at a new location. 

There are also areas of private land along many waterways and coastal areas, so you have to be very careful not to upset angry landowners. In other places, the geographic topology of a particular place will often result in land restrictions such high cliffs or river banks. 

Unless you are travelling on calm waters, a long stretch over the nearest stopping point can be the biggest problem. From a safety point of view, it is important to look at the routes and take note of all the emergency exit routes that you can use in the face of an emergency. 

Overnight Planning

An overnight SUP touring trip has its own set of planning, which primarily involves planning for accommodation and camping locations. There may be access restrictions to suitable camping spots so you need to be aware of that.

For an overnight travel, you need to make sure to get to your planned accommodation in the limited time that you have.  Inflatable paddle boards have an excellent use case for paddle boarders that also want to overnight camp to a long distance location. 

This is because, inflatable paddle boards make for amazing tools that help in one way travelling adventure.  This means that you can paddle board through water, stop at an exit point, deflate the paddle board and come back using another route such as train. 

For this, you want to make sure that your time off the board corresponds to the bus or train timings if you do not want to miss your train back home. These one-way trips are a great way to plan routes when the weather is unstable and you expect a much more difficult return paddle back to the starting point. 

Where should you start Stand-up Boarding?

The key is to start small and then slowly push yourself and try to beat your own record. If you are just getting started, look into your local areas and find if there is a nearby canal or slow moving river where you can paddle board. Look for calmer waters if you are at a beginner level, since they are ideal locations for people new to paddle boarding. 

How Challenging is SUP touring and exploring

SUP touring and exploring is as challenging as you want to make it. Depending on how much you are willing to push yourself, SUP touring at any destination can be either gruesome and exhausting, or fun and enjoyable. 

However, the irony of the matter is that much of the enjoyment comes from crossing your physical boundaries and overcoming your mental fears, along with witnessing the scenic pleasures of new places and breathing the fresh air of the outdoors. Some of the initial challenges that you face when travelling longer distances is your level of fitness and endurance. 

Top Pacific Northwest Paddle Destination for SUP

The pacific northwestern region is home to some of the most sublime and exquisite waterways of the world. Paddle boarders from around the world travel to this region for a paddling experience that they cherish for a lifetime. 

The smooth calm waters, infused with the elegant and graceful nature that you find throughout Washington, stretches over to Alaska. For this reason, Standup Paddle boarding is rising as a popular recreational activity in the Pacific Northwest. Below are some of the top spots for paddle boarding in the northwest. 

Lake Crescent, Washington

Located 20 minutes from the Olympic Peninsula, Lake crescent, near Port Angeles is a dream location for any paddle boarder.  The water here is crystal clear and expanding beside a few roadside shorelines. This shoreline acts as an amazing access point for the paddle boarders, and includes a historic Lake Crescent Lodge. 

In the summertime, you can find this place crowded with paddle boarders, which makes it a suitable destination for first time paddlers because they can easily tag along with a paddle boarding group. Lake Crescent is also home to the Beardslee trout, which is exclusive to the crescent waters. Hence, it makes for a great destination for paddleboard fishers as well. 

Hood River, Oregon

Hood  River is ideal for professional paddle boarders that look for adventurous downwind paddle boarding fun. The high winds of this location make it a perfect up-river tracking surface. In other words, this upstream river location is not for beginners looking for calm waters. However, for paddle boarders looking on towards new challenges, this is a great destination to check off your bucket list. 

Yakima River Canyon, Washington

For people that often travel across the busy interstate 90, this river is nothing less than a hidden treasure on Highway 821. Huge grasslands and lush green hills surround, and serenade the waterways in the most magnificent way. These areas are also habitat to big horn sheep that you can spot while paddle boarding. 

Lake Lenore, Washington

This narrow lake offers paddlers a chance to trail along the steeped basalt canyon walls and magnificent caves that you can explore from the shore. For fisherman paddlers of Washington, here, they have the chance to fish for the famous Lahontan Cutthroat trout. 

Bowman Bay, Washington

Even though to some the water ways here may be too rapid, the bowman bay is actually a waterbody that anyone can enjoy. All around the water body, there are many cliffs and beaches where paddlers can enjoy. 

You can also find seals on the sandy shorelines, along with many other sights and activities. The water here stays cold, even in the summers, and so remember to wear clothing that suits the environment. Many paddle boarding tours are available here in the summer, by Salmon Bay Paddle and Anacortes Kayak Tours. 

To Conclude

Paddle boarding is accessible to almost all water bodies; however, people prefer to paddle in lakes, rivers or canals, especially if it encompasses a beautiful view. 

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