Paddleboarding in Victoria – Everything You Need to Know Before you Go!

When you are planning your trip to Victoria, you’re probably thinking about all the outdoor activities that you can do around this stunning city. There’s year-round cycling, hiking, jogging, whale watching charters to book, kayaking and so much more. But there’s one water sport that has become incredibly popular in recent years for its short learning curve and versatility: paddleboarding. And Victoria is, hands-down, the best city to paddleboard whether you’re a pro, or a total newbie. That’s because we have a number of incredible paddleboard or SUP rental companies to choose from, our summers are glorious, and Victoria’s shores are sheltered so the water is calm and clear.

What is Paddleboarding?

Paddleboarding is when you stand on a large board and propel yourself across the water’s surface using one oar, much like a canoe. The boards can be inflatable, or hard fiberglass/epoxy with a long oar to allow you to reach the water while standing. As far as versatility goes, standing is the typical way to use and propel a paddleboard, but you can comfortably sit or kneel on the board as well if standing seems like a dubious option for you. You’ll see a lot of families put kids on the SUP and take them for a little paddle, dogs are often spotted on these incredibly popular pleasure crafts and when you need to take a break, you can jump off your board for a quick dip, hop back on and relax in the sun until you’re ready to paddle again. When you’re heading out for a day of summer paddleboarding, you’ll want to prepare with appropriate clothing. While our summers are rarely scorching, it’s important to protect yourself from the sun. Swimwear under shorts and a tee shirt is recommended or if you have it, UV protective clothing is ideal. A wide brimmed hat and sunglasses are a must and make sure to lather up with and bring along sport sunscreen of 30 spf or higher and water. To ensure you have the best day out, it’s always a good idea to take the extra step and check the conditions and forecast – local water recreation enthusiasts swear by Big Wave Dave.

Where to get a paddleboard?

There are lots of options for your next paddleboarding adventure. Whether it’s your first time out and you’re looking for lessons and a tour or if you’re already comfortable and are looking for a rental to take on your own adventure, these companies are our go-to for all of your paddleboarding needs!

Fairway Gorge Paddling Club

  • Rentals: Yes 
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: No
  • Sales: No

SUP Victoria

  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: No

Paddle ‘n’ Go

  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: No

Oak Bay Marina 

  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: No
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: No

Ocean River Sports

  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: Yes

South Island SUP

  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: Yes
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: Yes

West Coast Outdoor Adventure Rentals

  • Rentals: Yes
  • Lessons: No
  • Guided Tours: Yes
  • Sales: Yes

Where to Paddleboard?

If you’ve decided to set out on your own, there are lots of great places around Victoria for a day on your board. With both lakes and ocean cast off areas to choose from, you really have so many choices to have a perfect adventure. 

Ocean

Gorge Waterway:  Known simply as “The Gorge” to Victoria locals, this waterway is a narrow tidal inlet that connects Victoria Harbour to Portage Inlet and a walkable location for paddleboarding for guests at Ironworks Living Executive and The Corazon. Here you can paddle past waterfront neighbourhoods, historic bridges, eelgrass meadows and massive kelp beds below the surface. 

Inner Harbour: If you’re staying at Harbourview Executive at the Reef, this is a great place to adventure, but it’s important to make sure that the water traffic is low otherwise it can get a bit hairy! On slower days, paddling past all the downtown attractions provides a beautiful, new perspective on this heritage city.

Gonzales Beach: Just a stone’s throw away from Barkley Manor Executive is one of the most popular downtown beaches. Known for its soft white sand and warm shallows, this is also an incredible place to put in your paddleboard. This sheltered cove offers incredibly calm waters and absolutely stunning ocean front homes set on the backdrop of Victoria’s signature ocean and mountain views. 

Willows Beach: In one of the most beautiful neighbourhoods in Victoria and right near Beach Drive Manor is Willows Beach, a long sandy beach perfect to paddleboard the length of if you’re a beginner and a great place to set off for an adventure if you want to venture a little farther.

Esquimalt Lagoon: With miles of stunning beachfront and a beautiful view of the Strait and the Olympic Mountains across the water, Esquimalt Lagoon is stunning. It’s also a great option for guests at Station Villa Executive Condo or those looking to avoid the often-crowded summer beaches in the downtown core

Tod Inlet: This historic, peaceful park is a beautiful place to explore by land or water and just a ten minute drive from Dalmeny Farm Estate. Gowlland Tod Park is gorgeous and densely forested, so this is a completely different paddling experience than the other urban sites listed.

Lakes 

Thetis Lake: One of the most popular lakes in the Victoria area, Thetis is a wonderful place to explore by paddleboard whether you’re staying nearby at Camden Mews or elsewhere! Paddleboarding also gives you the advantage of a spot to swim from without having to compete for a highly coveted spot on the beach! 

Langford Lake: The calm, warm waters of Langford Lake make it a great place for a paddleboarding adventure. While you’re staying at Nature’s Gate Executive Vacation Home in the summer, you have to go to this incredible lake. The water is cool but isn’t as cold as the ocean and there are lots of shorefront to explore as you paddle around. 

Elk/Beaver Lake: These lakes are uniquely joined with a narrow way between the two offering paddleboarders a uniquely large area to explore. Perfect for guests at Prospect Lake Country Cottage, this lake has numerous beaches and picnic areas, you’ll be able to paddle up for a bite and head back out for more exploring!

Matheson Lake: This stunning lake in Metchosin is a perfect place to go while you’re staying at Arbutus Hill. This small lake is a great place to beat the summer heat and enjoy an easy-going day out paddling. 

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