Kayaking, sailing, white-water rafting, surfing and lazy river floating have been around for ages. A newer sport is becoming popular at dozens of boat launches and docks around Portland: stand-up paddleboarding (SUP). Using a longboard, a carbon-fiber paddle and a good amount of balance, SUP offers a fresh perspective on the water.
Whether you’re an experienced SUP’er or a curious newbie, the Portland area has plenty to offer on a hot summer day (or any day with the right wetsuit). Read on to learn how and where to stand-up paddleboard in Portland.
SUP Classes & Rentals in Portland
A one-on-one session or group class is a great way to learn the technique of standing upright on your board. Beginners will gain local river knowledge, perfect their paddle stroke and enjoy the water with experienced pros.
Gorge Performance offers private beginner and intermediate classes on the Willamette River for individuals, couples and small groups. Classes run from late spring to early fall.
Next Adventure offers Paddle Sport Programs at Sellwood Riverfront Park and the Scappoose Bay Paddling Center, located 25 minutes west of Portland on the Columbia River. Course offerings include quick-start classes to get you comfortable on a board in no time. They also offer guided tours of the interconnected waterways at Smith and Bybee Lakes (plus lunch!).
Youngsters aged 8–16 can also get in on the fun with the summer Kids Camp SUPfari from SUPortland. The two-hour camp adventure includes stand-up paddleboarding, swimming, treasure hunting, games, eco-awareness and water safety, all for only $99.
Once you’re ready to head out on your own, local shops offer plenty of ways to get SUPing. Portland Kayak Company provides rentals from two hours to two days. Gorge Performance offers rentals, as well as a frequently updated guide to the area’s best launch sites.
SUP Locations In & Around Portland
Many of the same places where lessons are offered are the very same spots where experienced boarders take to the water. This includes the Sellwood Riverfront Park, Smith and Bybee Lakes, and several locations along the Willamette River.
Questions About Paddleboarding in Portland
Can you paddleboard in Portland?
Can you paddleboard on the Willamette River?
East of Portland, Hood River is another popular destination for paddle and wind sports. Head to Pure Stroke for supplies and second-to-none advice. And be sure to stop at Double Mountain Brewery for post-paddle pizza and pints.
For those willing to drive a little longer to their destination, Timothy Lake is an idyllic spot to paddleboard. Approximately 50 miles (80 km) southeast of Portland, this popular SUP spot is located in the Mt. Hood National Forest. West of Vancouver, Wash., Vancouver Lake offers another scenic option. South of Portland, the city of Lake Oswego is home to Oswego Lake, a public body of water paddleboarders often frequent.
SUP isn’t just an engaging way to travel from point A to point B. You can also hop on board to add a new dimension to your downward dog and tree pose. SUP yoga classes are growing in popularity as more yogis discover the challenge and fun of balancing on a paddleboard. In addition to its regular SUP classes, Next Adventure offers SUP yoga classes on the Willamette at Sellwood Riverfront Park, a popular spot for experienced paddleboarders.
Grab your board and head to the Columbia River Gorge, the windsurfing capital of the world, located a short drive east of Portland.
Conquer rapids, spot wildlife and experience nature in a new way at these favorite spots for whitewater rafting near Portland.
These four waterways — all less than an hour away from Portland — provide the perfect setting for your next fish tale.
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