5 x Great Locations To Go Stand Up Paddle Boarding In Victoria
Stand up paddle boarding (SUP) has become super-popular in recent years. Enthusiasts are drawn to the sport for different reasons; some for the competitive racing aspect and its fitness benefits, others for the calming and meditative effects of simply getting out on the water.
Whatever the reason for your interest in SUP, if you're looking to jump into one of the fastest growing recreational sports, or to work on your paddling skills away from large crowds, there's no shortage of spectacular locations to choose from right across the length and breadth of Victoria.
Given that still and calm waters are the ideal environment for beginners finding their 'SUP legs', here are five excellent options for stand up paddle boarding in Victoria.
St Kilda beach is likely the first place that springs to mind when people think of stand up paddle boarding in Melbourne. What makes this spot great for beginners is the many SUP classes conducted across the shoreline. Likewise, on calm and still mornings before the off-shore breezes whip up, the neighbouring beaches at Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Middle Park are great for further testing your SUP abilities.
Those in the know also suggest Sandringham Yacht Club, which is a little further south east of St Kilda. Sandringham Yacht Club is well protected from nasty westerly and sou' westerly winds, which can play havoc with conditions at Melbourne's beaches. This makes it ideal for rookies who want to develop their strength and SUP skills without being swept out into the bay!
Nestled on the Mornington Peninsula roughly an hour's drive from Melbourne, Mount Martha is a fantastic location for SUP beginners, and one of Victoria's best beaches that truly comes into its own in the summer months. Make no mistake - it can get windy at Mount Martha but its geography means that it doesn't get hammered as hard as other Port Phillip Bay and Mornington Peninsula beaches. Water levels are relatively shallow and crystal clear, making it an ideal spot for beginners.
Similar to St Kilda, there are a couple of local SUP schools that offer classes for people wanting help with the basics and, with the local food scene thriving, you can cap off a day on the board with some family and couples-friendly fine dining experiences as the sun sets.
Eastern Beach, Geelong
For most people, Geelong is the gateway to the spiritual home of surfing on the Bellarine Peninsula, the Surf Coast and the Great Ocean Road. With the exception of the Barwon River inlet at Barwon Heads, the rougher swells at places like Queenscliff, Ocean Grove, Torquay and Jan Juc, Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay are not appropriate for SUP beginners. However, idyllic Eastern Beach, in the heart of Geelong, is as close to perfect as it gets for people wanting to give the sport a try.
You'll need to arrive early in the summer months because Eastern Beach is the go-to spot for the locals. With its revamped waterfront, colourful bollards, old-school baths and pier, it's one of the perfect family-friendly places for trying your hand at paddling.
Gippsland Lakes, Gippsland
If you're in Eastern Victoria, there's no shortage of options in the greater Gippsland area. While Anderson Inlet at Inverloch and Lakes Entrance are outstanding options for people new to SUP, beachside paddle boarding at Loch Sport's renowned Gippsland Lakes allows paddle boarders of all skill levels the chance to connect with the area's dolphin population (wow!). Not surprisingly, the chance to paddleboard with 'Flipper' coupled with the area's spectacular scenery makes Gippsland Lakes popular with SUPs looking for a more relaxing vibe and a genuine connection with nature.
With The Lakes National Park's Sperm Whale Head swimming spot and Emu Bight Camping grounds nearby, you owe it to yourself to organise an extended stay at Gippsland Lakes.
Lake Wendouree, Ballarat
This famed site for rowing at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics has experienced something of a renaissance after a series of devastating droughts saw it basically run dry in the early to mid 2000s. Today, the local council and tourism entrepreneurs have turned the lake precinct into a thriving activity hub, with stand up paddle boarding being one of those activities.
Like Mount Martha, the depth of the lake is perfect for beginners and there are a few learn-to schools if you want the kids to have a few lessons before getting started. Only an hour and a bit from Melbourne, it's a rare chance to SUP alongside ducks, swans and other lake habitants.
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Lake Eildon, Echuca and Lake Hume in the Albury-Wodonga region are also great places to try some SUP action. However, with each of these locations popular for other water-based past-times - such as fishing, boating and jet-skiing - you might need to find your paddle boarding feet in calmer locations before trying these locations.
If you've been bitten by the stand up paddle boarding bug, there are some fantastic locations around Victoria for getting into the sport. From the heart of the city to Victoria's stunning coastlines and inland regional hubs, you can paddle board with the best of them in no time, mingling with nature in ways that only SUP can offer while getting some excellent exercise at the same time.