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Get on Tahoe with SUP

Last updated: December 2021

While paddling across a body of water while standing up seems challenging, it’s easier than it looks and a lot of fun. That’s what stand up paddle boarding (SUP) is all about—having fun while also enjoying a challenge.

Whether you’re a first-timer checking out the SUP scene or a seasoned pro, getting out on Tahoe with a paddle board is easy. There is a variety of rental and retail shops around the north shore that have a great selection of equipment. Check out the list at the bottom of this post for details. They’ll fit you with a board that’s the right length and a paddle. Some shops also include a leash that you’ll strap to your ankle in case the board gets away from you. While you’ll see a lot of photos of people enjoying SUP on Tahoe without PFD’s, shops can also outfit you with those as well. (Based on experience from this blogger, it’s not a bad idea to wear a PFD if you’re just starting out or not used to Tahoe’s sometimes frigid waters. One dump into the water and you’ll be glad you wore it.)

When renting, most shops will give you brief instruction to get started. The basics are to climb onto the board and position yourself on your knees, all of this while in the water. You’ll stand up one leg at a time and balance yourself, working to keep your center of gravity low. From there grip the paddle with both hands, much the way you would for kayaking, and paddle. Again, from personal experience, going from kneeling to standing can be the hardest part. Some may find that kneeling and paddling on their first excursion is a good start.

Some Tahoe SUP rental shops also offer extended instruction, either private and hourly or in a group setting. In addition, Adrift Tahoe currently offers SUP tours. Check online at the rental locations below for details.

Happy SUP’ing!

North Lake Tahoe SUP Rentals/Retailers

Tahoe Paddle & Oar, Kings Beach

Adrift Tahoe, Kings Beach

Tahoe Adventure Company, Tahoe Vista

Tahoe City Kayak, Tahoe City

Photo copyright Peter Spain.