Stay cool and keep fit this Perth summer with stand up paddle boarding, an easy, low-impact watersport activity everybody can do! Here’s how to get into it.
*This post has been copied across from my other blog www.perthgirl.com.au
Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Western Australia
‘Sup, Perth? Stand up paddle boarding has taken the world by storm, including Western Australia!
A combination of kayaking and surfing all-in-one, stand up paddle boarding requires you to stand on a wide, buoyant surfboard and use a paddle to propel yourself across flat water.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it is – even dogs can do it! (minus using the paddle part, that is).
With Western Australia being the largest state of Australia and boasting one of the longest coastlines in the world – it’s understandable to see why “SUP’ing” is one of the hottest and most popular water-spots to do here, alongside other favourite past-times scuba diving, snorkelling, surfing and kitesurfing.
Since Perth has a lot of outer reefs and lack of point breaks, the water here is often calm and flat (sorry surfers – try Margaret River instead.) But BINGO! These conditions are exactly what you need for safe and enjoyable stand-up paddle boarding, making the Perth coast perfect to give stand up paddle boarding a go this hot summer.
The best part is you won’t even get your hair wet and everybody can do it! It’s very easy to learn! Now watch me go:
Stand Up Paddle Board Lessons in Perth – MY LIST
So you want to start to stand up paddle boarding in Perth but you don’t know where or how to start?
If you are already active in the ocean, confident and have good core balance, then you likely won’t need many SUP lessons, if at all. It may be just as simple as you buying a standup paddleboard and taking it down to the beach (with a friend) on a good day and getting familiar with it, starting on your knees before standing.
However, if you aren’t as active, prone to imbalance, feeling nervous and not 100% comfortable in the ocean, then I suggest you invest in a few professional SUP lessons, so to minimise forming bad habits, danger and risk (to yourself and others). In most cases, all it takes is one lesson to get this sport down pat!
In chronological order, check out the below stand up paddle board schools that do lessons here in Perth. Don’t have a board and paddle just yet? – No worries! All these schools have the option to hire, and the majority also stock & sell a range of stand up paddle board brands and accessories too (and if they don’t – I am sure they’ll point you in the right direction).
TOP PERTH SUP LESSONS
Action Sports WA
Action Sports W.A. (formerly Australian Kiteboarding and Stand Up Paddle Perth), is Perth’s biggest fun store with the most diverse range of sporting equipment for water, land and air adventurers. All of their paddle classes are held at Bardon Park, Bardon Place, Maylands just off Fourth Avenue off Guildford Rd. This location features a sandy beach protected by the surrounding landscape and works in most wind directions with toilets, BBQ’s, 2 x Children’s playgrounds (just adjacent to the launch spot and car park), and a grassy park nearby.
Elemental Sup (South of the River)
Elemental Sup offers lessons, rentals, and sales in 5 locations across Perth waters including Point Walter, Leighton Beach, Woodman Point. They say they are Perth’s longest running Stand Up Paddle Board school in operation, focusing on in-depth knowledge of equipment and environment to equip clients with a comprehensive instructional package.
Funcats (South Perth)
Funcats was established in 1976 to provide sail training for local schools. Once specialising in catamarans, the business has since grown in size and popularity and they now provide Kayaks and Stand Up Paddle Boards now also available for hire. Not feeling confident hiring a SUP board? Don’t worry – they also offer tuition to ensure a safe and enjoyable day on the Swan River. They add tuition doesn’t take long and is included in the hire fee.
Stand Up Paddle Perth (Mindarie, North of the River)
Learn how to stand up paddle and have SUP lessons at Stand Up Paddle Perth, an ASI accredited learn to stand up paddle school, located at Mindarie, just 20 minutes drive north of Perth, Western Australia. Lessons are held in the flat, calm waters of Mindarie Marina – which boasts 2 locations in 1! Enclosed safe flat water with the option to progress into the exposed waters of the beautiful Indian Ocean. You might also be lucky enough to experience a dolphin wild encounter!
The Stand Up Surf Shop (Applecross & North Fremantle)
Perth Stand Up Paddle School provides general Stand Up Paddle board lessons, fitness classes, group/corporate lessons by appointment, one-on-one SUP surf coaching and lessons specifically for kids/schools. Their lessons run every weekend in Swan River at Freshwater Bay, Peppermint Grove (Perth). Drive along the Esplanade and you’ll see them on the river where Keane St ends. This beautiful location is protected in most wind conditions, which allow for calm water and easy paddling.
School of Surfing Western Australia (Hillarys Boat Harbour)
Surfing WA has been operating a surf school at Trigg Beach for over 25 years and is recognised as one of the best surf schools in Australia. In addition, they also provide SunSmart Learn to SUP lessons at the North end of Hillarys Boat Harbour. As this is a flat water program conducted utilising the awesome protected waters on the North side of Hillarys Boat Harbour it is suitable for all ages.
Soul Kite Australia (Applecross and Bicton)
Soulkite is a kitesurfing school based in Fremantle near Perth, Western Australia. According to the wind direction, they give kitesurfing and stand up paddle board lessons in Point Walter and on the Swan River in Applecross. Their lessons cater for beginners, intermediate and advanced riders. They have a large range of stand up paddle boards for everyone.
Sunset Sup (Shelley Beach, WA)
Sunset Sup are a Stand Up Paddleboard company that provide lessons, group fitness sessions, river cruises, SUP rentals and Gift Vouchers to the public and organisations. They aim to provide people the opportunity to develop their fitness, socialise with like-minded people and participate in an unique outdoors experience through their SUP networking lessons. Their focus is on you having a great time, enjoying life and improving fitness. They conduct lessons every morning at Shelly Beach, Shelley, WA.
SUP Central (Matilda Bay)
SUP Central WA offers Stand Up Paddle Lessons, Equipment Hire and Sales. There are first timer paddle groups, or 1 on 1 lessons, group paddle training sessions, super SUP teams racing and activities, team building relay events for larger groups, Swan River down-winders options. Bring a mate to your SUP lesson and you can share the fun and the cost! To back up their leading education, they also supply and service premium quality products with manufacturer direct discounts on a broad range of sup packages and accessories.
Stand Up Paddle Sports (Crawley, Swan River)
Stand Up Paddle Sports is Perth’s First and Longest running SUP store, and the experts in SUP since 2007. Stand Up Paddle Sports offer a variety of lessons to suit individual needs. Their introductory lesson will teach you the basic skills and provide you with the necessary understanding to have an enjoyable and easy entry to the sport. Lessons are held in Perth’s iconic Swan River, in Crawley.
WA SURF (Shoalwater)
WA Surf is a kiteboarding and stand up paddleboarding store in Safety Bay, Western Australia. They offer sales, hire, lessons, repairs and service of everything you need to make the most of the amazing locations and conditions in Western Australia. With WA Surf you can learn for free by purchasing a new paddleboarding stepup direct from through them – and they will refund your lesson!
WASUP offers stand up paddle boarding classes for all ages and skill levels in Rockingham. They have different packages to choose from including for party and family. They will ensure you have a safe and fun experience while enjoying the beautiful landscape and marine life at Rockingham. You may even see a dolphin on one of their lessons! Rockingham is known for their frequent dolphin visits!
WEST OZ KiteBoarding (Shoalwater)
West Oz Kite & SUP is the only IKO (International Kiteboard Organisation) accredited school in Shoalwater, Perth, Western Australia. They conduct lessons at Shoalwater (or Safety Bay if wind direction is south easterly) as well as travel the coast of Western Australia promoting kite-boarding and standup paddlesurfing with lessons and demos on new gear. They also sell a full range of new and second-hand kiteboarding and standup paddleboarding equipment and offer hire gear, camper van hire, accomodation and holiday packages.
WEST SUPS (North of the River Beaches)
WEST SUPS is a Mobile Standup Paddleboard Hire company based in Ocean Reef, offering general hire, birthday parties, supacro, sup yoga, night tours and gift vouchers! They do a drop off and pick up service – or you can collect the SUP board from their home in Ocean Reef. Most drop-offs are at Mindarie Marina and Hillarys Boat Harbour and beaches in-between. They also offer boards for holiday hire (short or long term)
Best Places in Perth to go SUP’ing
Western Australia has some great surfing spots, however, when it comes to Perth’s metropolitan coast, outer reefs and lack of point breaks mean water here is often calm and flat. The great news is you don’t need a 10ft wave to have a good time on a SUP and these are the ideal conditions you need.
Scarborough, Cottesloe and Leighton are great SUP spots, as well as Cottesloe Beach, Yanchep Lagoon, Mullalloo beach, City Beach, North Beach and Hillarys and Sorrento to name a bunch.
For an extra adventure, why not get out of Perth and travel up north or down south where there are more secluded, stunning places that await you. I personally recommend Jurien Bay beach – which is where my friends and I went and where the photos were taken in this article.
Different Types of SUP Boards to Buy
Stand up paddle boarding is indeed loads of fun, a great workout and easy to learn! However, selecting your very first paddle board can be challenging and a bit confusing. Actually, it’s probably the hardest part of the entire experience, haha.
So let’s break it down.
In order to find your ideal board, know the difference between each type of board available.
There are three basic types of stand up paddle boards: surf, all-round and flatwater/race. Other types can include Yoga SUP boards, Fishing Sups (with mounts), Touring Sups, Whitewater SUP Boards and Windsurf SUP Boards.
- Surf SUP Board – Essentially an oversized surfboard with a paddle, the perfect choice for intermediate to advanced paddlers. They are great for those who want more action out of their paddle board experience. Very maneuverable in the surf, highly shreddable. However, it’s less stable on water making it easier to fall off.
- All round – The perfect choice for first-time and beginner paddlers and very family friendly! (Even dog friendly!). They are versatile, multi-purposeful and can work in all conditions and is the most common and popular standup paddleboard shape. typically thicker, wider and longer than surf SUP boards. All-rounders are versatile, multi-purposeful and great in general as they explore all aspects of the sport. On some allround boards you can upgrade them into windsurf SUP boards.
- Flatwater/Race – Designed for flat water races, downwinders (wind at your back) or open ocean competitions, these boards are extra long to glide through the water smoothly and keep the board going straight. Some flatwaters are wide enough to be suitable for beginners, however race boards are much narrower and can be challenging, but are perfect for elite and recreational racers.
With Yoga SUP Classes really taking off – you will likely be finding more Yoga-specific boards being shopped around. These are constructed for extra stability and have an expansive deck to give more room for yoga. However, in my personal opinion – a majority of all-rounder boards will do just fine for those who love a bit of Yoga on the water.
Next, you need to decide on what size board to get and whether you want to buy a solid or an inflatable board (iSUP).
What Size Board to Buy?
In short, the answer will be based on your weight (i.e. will it just carry you, or more people plus a dog?) and your level of paddle boarding experience.
The wider, longer and thicker the board, the more volume it will have. The more volume the board has, the more stable it will be on the water.
Beginner paddlers will usually want a board with more volume because this provides additional stability and can support more weight.
As your skill, balance, and strength improve, you could always downsize to a board with less volume to challenge yourself – like a flatwater board. By this stage, you could resell your older board or pass down to friends and family.
As I’m just starting out myself, I’m looking for a 10.6 or 11-foot wide all-rounder board to use with my partner and my dog – a very plump blue english staffy!
Solid VS Inflatable SUP Boards
Now to choose either a traditional, solid board (often Epoxy material) or an inflatable (iSUP) board? Both have their benefits and it all comes down to your budget and storage/transportation options you have going for you.
Solid boards are built in many different materials such as foam, epoxy fibreglass, kevlar, plastics, and wood (most often, bamboo). They are ‘rigid’, longer, wider and more buoyant than traditional surfboards, which enables you to comfortably balance on them while you (hopefully) glide effortlessly across the surface of the flat water with your strong paddle movements.
Inflatable boards (commonly referred to as iSUPs) are manufactured from layers of PVC plastic with woven fibres connecting to the top and bottom inside the board and are surprisingly rigid once inflated. Inflatable SUPs tend to be a little lighter than many Solid boards because they are composed mostly of air.
- Performance wise – traditional epoxy boards beat inflatables hands down with having a better response in turns!
- First-time riders who aren’t sure they’ll stick with the sport or have a small budget- inflatable boards are ideal, more affordable, more comfortable for longer periods of time and work great in all conditions.
- For serious paddlers looking for increased maneuverability, tricks speed and glide – a solid epoxy board is for you.
- Inflatables are effortless to transport compared to hard boards.
- Inflatable paddle boards deflate and roll up to the size of a sleeping bag, perfect for camping or travelling abroad.
- Epoxy SUPs are a little more cumbersome and usually require a large vehicle or rack and straps for your car.
- Inflatables are perfect for people short on space, because regardless of the size board you have, you’ll be able deflate it and store practically anywhere – but this requires time, effort and maintenance.
- Epoxy boards aren’t difficult to store. You just need to have enough space for a 9+ foot SUP.
- Solid SUP boards hold better re-sell value and can withstand superficial bumps and scratches.
- Inflatables could deflate and require fixing/patches.
- No inflation time with a solid board – in and out of the water you go. Great for people on the go.
So which to choose? In a perfect world – both! But it all comes down to how YOU want to use the board.
Choosing the right paddleboard comes down to your lifestyle, what you plan to use it for and the most important part – your budget.
Where to get SUP Boards?
I’m still on the hunt for my own SUP board myself! I’m looking for one that has bamboo in it because I like the look of them.
If you are already doing lessons with a Stand-Up Paddle Board School in Perth, then they likely have SUP boards available for purchase. Many of these schools probably have online websites too to browse their range or if you’re lucky, they will recommend you to a warehouse where you’ll find even cheaper deals on last seasons stock.
Like with any product, shop around for boards and compare prices. You don’t want a super expensive board that is a rip-off, but you don’t want a cheap one that is low in quality and won’t last long either.
Look beyond the marketing and pretty designs and instead, see what each company offers. The major things to consider when choosing a to purchase from any company is the price of the board(s), the guarantee and the customer service (positive reviews?) since it’s usually a direct reflection of the company’s product, service, and reputation. Bonus points if they offer a board purchase guarantee!
Alternatively, to save yourself some money – try for a second-hand SUP board on websites like Gumtree, Facebook Marketplace or Ebay.
Be mindful some Australia-wide websites may not ship to Western Australia and if they do – shipping could be pricey (that’s the downside of living in one of the most isolated cities in the world). So, if you plan on getting a board delivered from the eastern states to Perth, it may be worthwhile sourcing an independent courier.
Purchasing a standup paddleboard is an investment so take your time, do your research, ask questions and resist impulsive buying!
Other Accessories You’ll Need
SUP Leashes are a good idea as they keep you attached to your board if you fall out. They are particularly useful in choppier conditions or if you want to catch some waves. The two styles are:
- Coil – designed to stretch out when under tension and then coil up compactly when paddling to prevent dragging.
- Standard – regular cord leash similar to surfboard leash, less likely to tangle but will drag in the water.
Another thing you will need – especially if SUP touring out in the open ocean – is safety gear! A buoyancy aid (life-jacket) is a legal requirement in some coastal areas so make sure to check with your shire first or you’ll cop a fine.
Safety gear is important, even for the most experienced and advanced level paddler. Conditions do change quickly in the ocean and you need to be prepared.
One last thing – don’t underestimate the value of a good wetsuit! Sure, stand-up paddle boarding rose faster to fame with images of attractive bikini-clad women and men with rock hard abs in boardies paddling around – but a good wetsuit can extend the paddle season well past the warm days of summer and into cold winter.
Add booties, gloves and a hood to make cooler months more comfortable. Remember, the warmth of a wetsuit is determined by its thickness which is measured in millimeters.
Hope this article has educated and inspired many of you to give stand up paddle boarding a try this summer in Perth! Please stay safe, use common sense and most importantly – have fun!
Leave a comment!
Have I missed any stand up paddle board schools in Perth in my list or good spots to go SUPP’ing? Throw me a comment and I’ll get your suggestions added on here. 🙂
Hat Tip: King of Watersports