Paddleboarding in Cornwall

2nd October 2020

What better way to explore the craggy coastline of Cornwall than afloat on a paddleboard?

Tone your core and hone your balance as you glide from bay to bay, via smugglers’ caves, hidden coves and secret lagoons, peering down into the blue abyss to see jellyfish, crabs and shoals of fish. You might even snag a mackerel on a hand line or spot a seal on your tail.

Far from being solely a sublime summer sport, stand-up paddleboarding can be enjoyed all year round in Cornwall. In fact, autumn is one of our favourite times to launch from the crowd-free beaches, while the ocean is still warm and teeming with wildlife. Even on a crisp mid-winter’s day, in a decent wetsuit you can enjoy a paddle in a sheltered cove. Whether you pack your own inflatable paddleboard, or hire one or set out with an expert guide, paddleboarding is the perfect way to twist your perspective on the stunning Cornish coastline. Look from the outside in, and get your fill of fresh sea air, as you propel yourself across the water, interacting with your natural surroundings.

All of our Beach Retreats are a pebble’s throw from the coast, making it easy to enjoy a stand-up paddleboarding adventure from your doorstep. And in these crazy times, it’s more vital than ever to immerse ourselves in nature, embrace the seasons and stay active, in order to boost our mental health and happiness. As soon as you cast away from the stress of the daily grind on a paddleboard, your mind and body tunes into the sights and sounds of the coast, and the rhythm of your paddle, while developing your strength, endurance, balance, coordination and agility.

Expert SUP coach Dom Moore, of the Surf Sanctuary at Fistral beach, waxes lyrical about the benefits of paddleboarding in Cornwall: “SUP tours are a great way for newcomers and families to experience paddleboarding and discover the beautiful wilderness of our coastline.” Get away from it all and get to grips with the basics on a two-hour tour, or learn everything you need to know about paddleboarding on a two-day Atlantic Expedition. On the latter not only can you explore different routes and take your skills to a new level, you will also learn about the tides, the wind, the moon, how to read maps and apps, and safety and rescue techniques.

With over 400 miles of coastline to explore in Cornwall, there are so many paddleboarding routes and beaches to choose from. Make sure you take a dry bag, a picnic, and a mobile phone, and always check the weather, wind and swell forecast before you go. Never launch a paddleboard in offshore winds.


Gorran Haven

Launch from the historic harbour at Gorran Haven and nudge around the coast to the deserted Vault beach. If you’ve got enough paddle power and the wind and currents are in your favour, push on around Dodman point, where you’ll often encounter seals on the way to Hemmick beach.

Cast away with Haven Kayaks.

Holidays near Gorran Haven.


The Helford Passage

Time your trip with the tides and float along the Helford River, exploring hidden creeks and spotting plenty of wildlife on route. Families might like to try a 2.5-hour tour onboard an 8-man Mega SUP.

Cast away with Ocean High.


Cawsand Beach

The calm and sheltered waters lapping Cawsand are the perfect territory to get your balance on a stand-up paddleboard. Nail the basic techniques with a SUP lesson, or join a full- or half-day guided trip to explore sea caves and secret coves.

Cast away with Cawsand Kayak Hire.

Search holidays in Cawsand.


Carbis Bay, St Ives

The sheltered, sub-tropical Carbis Bay is a divine location to cast off on a stand-up paddleboard. Explore the nooks and crannies of the coastline, gaze out to Godrevy lighthouse, and moor up on the St Ives’ beaches for food and refreshments.

Cast away with Ocean Sports Centre.

Search holidays in Carbis Bay.

The Gazzle and The Gannel, Newquay

Discover crabs and blennies hiding in the nooks and crannies of Newquay’s sheltered ‘Gazzle’ area, or float along the serene River Gannel spotting little egrets, greenshanks and other birds that flock to the rich pickings of the salt marshes.

Cast away with The Surf Sanctuary.

Search holidays near The Gannel.


Wildlife to spot while paddleboarding in Cornwall…

Seabirds – lookout for the black and white feathers of Guillemots clinging to the sea cliffs the distinctive orange beaks of oyster catchers, the graceful shags and cormorants perched on the rocks, and gannets diving deep below the surface for fish.

Mackerel – the blue and green tiger strips of mackerel can be seen shimmering beneath the water in huge shoals in spring and summer. Throw out a hand line and catch one to put on the barbecue for dinner.

Spider crabs – easily recognisable by their red shells and long limbs, spider crabs have a claw-span up to 80cm and live up to 40 years.

Seals – the most frequently sighted mammals in Cornwall, seals are playful and inquisitive, s they’re likely pop up and eyeball you as you paddle by.

Dolphins – the most magical sight is a pod of dolphins, their fins dancing above the waves.

Find your place by the sea with a self-catering holiday in Cornwall.