Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

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“You’ve gone kayaking before? Surfing? Oh, this will be easy!”

As we soon discovered, getting the hang of stand up paddle boarding was a little trickier than we first expected. One of the employees at Ahoy Rentals in Kingston, a friendly and energetic young man, provided each of us with a paddle board, a paddle, and a life jacket down by the water. The water itself was the Saint Lawrence River, which flows gently past downtown Kingston. This particular spot was protected from many of the larger ships and vessels arriving and departing from the harbor, making it an ideal place to stand up paddle board.

This was our first time trying stand up paddle boarding in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. So, what do we think of this water activity?


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I climbed on to the paddle board, staying on my knees in an upright position. After paddling a short distance from the pier, I slowly started to stand. My legs were wobbly and started to shake. As I began to stand up, I was able to regain my balance. Within moments, I was doing it! I was stand up paddle boarding. Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

Justin had no issues standing up on his board either. When we went surfing in Bermuda, he figured it all out very quickly. Without a doubt, he has a great sense of balance. Except…on a couple of occasions, his mind wandered too much or he wasn’t paying attention to what he was doing. And he fell. Twice. For the first time, he fell directly onto his knees without falling in the water. And the second time, he did fall right into the water. Sadly for me, I wasn’t watching him on either occasion so I wasn’t able to witness him falling or taking the plunge! Once I knew he was perfectly okay, it was totally fine that I laughed at him, right?

Once he realized that it was important to pay attention, the falling stopped and we were both floating along the river. I found SUP to be very relaxing and almost meditative. When I was simply drifting along the water, it was easy to enjoy my peaceful surroundings. My gaze wandered from the trees on the distant islands to the sailing ships on the horizon.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

At the same time, it is a fantastic workout. I really felt that my entire core was at work while stand up paddleboarding. Not only that, but my legs had to remain stable and I used my arms to paddle on both sides. SUP really is a full body workout!

If you’re going to be enjoying a water sport, it’s best to be mindful of everyone around you. At one point, some children controlling a small sailboat had seemingly lost control of their boat and were headed straight at us. We heard their instructors off in the distance yell, “Watch out for the paddleboarders!” I thought for sure that I was going to be struck by a small sailboat! And as someone standing on a board in the middle of the water who was rather inexperienced at this whole endeavor, I felt pretty vulnerable. Thankfully, they managed to narrowly miss hitting me at the last second. I guess I would have just jumped off the board had they come any closer. I’m glad it didn’t come to that.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

After we had been paddling for a little while, Justin noticed that we had really drifted pretty far from the shore. As we started to paddle back, it became much more difficult against the current. We really had to put a little extra oomph into those paddle strokes. I suppose this was where the whole workout thing really came into play. It’s a good idea to be mindful of the water conditions and how tricky it will be returning to where you need to drop off your rental equipment. However, it’s also fun to take a breather and sit down on your board. You can even lie down. Though we didn’t try it this time around, some people even do certain yoga moves on their paddle boards (I think this would have sent me flying straight into the water). Maybe I’ll give that a try next time around.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

The verdict? Yes, you should try stand up paddle boarding! Yes, Kingston is a fantastic place to try SUP. There were a few small waves here and there that added to the enjoyment, but for the most part, the waters were calm and ideal for this activity. If you try SUP in Kingston, you’re in a great location to explore the town once you’re finished. From Ahoy Rentals, you can walk a few blocks to the downtown core for a meal or a coffee.

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario   Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston Ontario

Ahoy Rentals
23 Ontario Street, Kingston
See website for rental details and hours

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Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston, Ontario

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Disclaimer: We were guests of The Great Waterway tourism board and were invited to try SUP. Our opinions, as always, are entirely our own.

Have you tried SUP before? How did you like it?

22 Responses

  1. Lydia C. Lee
    | Reply

    So much fun – I love it but not that co-ordinated and my stomach muscles leave a lot to be desired…;)

  2. Agata
    | Reply

    I’ve never done anything like surfing nor SUP but this sounds like a lot of fun! Beautiful pictures – I like the one with fluffy white clouds in the blue sky.

  3. Anna
    | Reply

    to be honest I’m not a sports person but SUP has really gained popularity lately! There is a yoga teacher in Athens that hosts SUP yoga lessons that I would very interested to try one day!

  4. Ruth - Tanama Tales
    | Reply

    I always enjoy looking at people who are doing this activity. I have seen people doing it on rough seas, so, I guess they really have good balance (they stand over the board while the sea is moving they like crazy).

  5. Fairlie
    | Reply

    That looks like it would be really hard work for core muscles…did everything hurt the following day?

  6. Sally@Toddlers on Tour
    | Reply

    I am so impressed you got up the first time you tried it Lauren. You have inspired me to give it a go when we travel to Bali in a couple of weeks.

  7. Karen
    | Reply

    Congrats on your first go at stand up paddleboarding. This is a dream of mine, but I’m not there yet. It sounds like you had a good time!

  8. Paula McInerney
    | Reply

    I live on the beach and watch people paddle board daily. This summer, I am definitely going to get into it.

  9. Carolann - One Modern Couple
    | Reply

    This is great! I’ve really been wanting to try paddle boarding and it looks like you two had tons of fun. I think I’d want to work towards yoga moves on the board… it sounds pretty impressive!

  10. Lo @ Travel the Unbeaten Path
    | Reply

    I love SUP! You’re right, it’s not as easy as one would think, but the choppier the waters, the harder it is. Looks like you guys had a lot of fun!

  11. Brian & Amanda Eat_Work_Travel
    | Reply

    How fun! We tried paddle boarding on the island of Moorea, the water was very rough the day we tried and it was very tough to guide the board. Agree it’s quite a workout especially for your core! We hope to try again in a little calmer waters so we can develop a technique!

  12. Michele {Malaysian Meanders}
    | Reply

    You both look like you are enjoying yourselves (and yes, it’s totally okay to laugh). I’ve only been SUPing in Hawaii in a protected bay which ended up being rather easy. I remember thinking that I thought it would be much more of a workout. I probably just lucked out on a totally calm day. I’ve been meaning to buy an SUP this summer. Well, now summer is pretty much over, and I still haven’t bought one. Perhaps next year.

  13. Agness
    | Reply

    Awesome guys! I can’t swim so it would not be a good idea for me to go paddle boarding :). Was it totally safe?

  14. Connie Reed
    | Reply

    I passed up a chance to try SUP while I was on a press trip. We had other places to stop that day, and I knew I’d end up in the water. I stuck to kayaking instead. I’ve heard since that SUP isn’t as hard as it looks. You’ve talked me into trying in the next time I have an opportunity.

  15. Elizabeth
    | Reply

    I have not tried SUP, but your post has convinced me to give it a try. I think calm water will be my main criteria.

  16. Lyn (aka) The Travelling Lindfields
    | Reply

    I tried stand up paddle boarding recently in North Queensland. The water was dead calm so i have no excuses but I only lasted about three seconds before falling flat on my back – ooooppps! After that I decided to stick to kayaking and snorkelling – lol.

  17. The Charming Historic Hotel Belvedere in Kingston, Ontario - Justin Plus Lauren
    | Reply

    […] to easily walk to a restaurant at night for dinner, grab a coffee at a local cafe, and walk to our SUP rental spot. The neighborhood is a quiet residential spot. There is complimentary parking located behind the […]

  18. Tanasia @ Green Global Travel
    | Reply

    Stand up paddle boarding looks super fun but I know it’s gotta be tough! Balance is everything. But you guys make it look so easy. Will definitely have to try it out one day!

  19. Haley
    | Reply

    SUP is a great sport because it’s so easy to learn and easy to get into as a beginner. A lot of people will get it on their first go, but most everyone will be up and paddling away on the first day. Not many other sports where you can say you’re halfway to being a pro in just a day! Glad you enjoyed yourselves!

  20. Anthony - Paddling With Style
    | Reply

    Hey Lauren, great recap on your first experience. Hopefully it will inspire others to not fear this great sport!

  21. Rob
    | Reply

    Looks like a great day on the water! Was it cold there though? I imagine the St. Lawrence river brings some cooler water.

  22. Rob
    | Reply

    Wow, this is so inspiring! I want to do sup again. How was the weather right there and when would be the best time to go there and have some fun? Appreciate your response! :)

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