Paddle boarding in Kingston, Ontario is a really fun outdoor activity that you can do right from downtown Kingston. You don’t need to own your own paddle board or have any advanced skills. If you’ve tried any kind of water activity before like kayaking, canoeing, or surfing, you’ll want to try SUP in Kingston. The St. Lawrence River awaits.
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It was our first time attempting stand up paddle boarding, or SUP as it’s also known. Even though the St. Lawrence River might create its own set of challenges (as I’ll explain), it is a great place for beginners and seasoned paddle boarders to try the sport. Here’s why you need to go paddle boarding in Kingston, Ontario.
Paddle Board Rental Kingston
Don’t own your own paddle board? No worries! We don’t own this kind of gear, but it’s easy to rent the equipment down by the waterfront. Ahoy Rentals is the top place for Kingston paddle board rentals. They’ve got canoes, kayaks, little sailboats, and paddle board rentals in Kingston. There are even bike rentals for those who prefer staying on dry land.
At Ahoy Rentals, they don’t require reservations for hourly rentals. If you plan on taking the SUP equipment for full day and multi-day rentals (perhaps to nearby Wolfe Island), you’ll need to reserve it ahead of time. They also recommend making a reservation for hourly rentals on summer weekends when it gets busy. At the time this article was written, it costs $16 per hour to rent stand up paddle boards at Ahoy Rentals. Here are their prices and policies.
Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Kingston
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 is 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.
Our First Impressions of SUP in Kingston
This was our first time trying stand up paddle boarding in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. So, what do we think of it? 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.
Justin had no issues standing up on his board either. We’ve gone surfing a couple of times now, both surfing in Bermuda and New Zealand. Justin is always the best out of the two of us at surfing because he has a great sense of balance. But, when it comes to SUP, it’s a whole other story.
I never fell when we attempted SUP for the first time. However, Justin found that 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?
Concentration, Paddling, and Enjoying the Views
Once he realized that it was important to pay attention, the falling stopped and we both floated along the river. SUP is 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.
At the same time, it is a fantastic workout. I really felt that my entire core was at work while stand up paddle boarding in Kingston. 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!
Attack of the Sailboats
If you’re going to participate in 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 headed straight towards us. We heard their instructors off in the distance yell, “Watch out for the paddle boarders!” I thought for sure that I was going to be struck by a small sailboat!
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.
Battling the Current of the River
After we paddled 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 to paddle against the current. We really had to put a little extra oomph into those paddle strokes. I suppose this is where the whole workout thing really comes 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 paddle board. You can even lie down. Though we didn’t try it this time around, some people even do certain SUP yoga 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.
All in all, I loved stand up paddle boarding in Kingston. It’s a fantastic setting to try SUP, even if it’s your first time on the water. you should try stand up paddle boarding! Yes, Kingston is a fantastic place to try SUP. For the most part, the waters are calm with a few small waves here and there. After you try SUP in Kingston, you’re in a great location to explore the town. From Ahoy Rentals, you can walk a few blocks to the downtown core for a meal or a coffee.
Looking to plan one amazing trip? Visit Hell Holes Nature Trails and Caves on your way to Kingston (if you’re traveling from Toronto). After staying overnight in Kingston, head towards the Thousand Islands. Here’s our 3 day itinerary for the 1000 Islands, which includes a kayaking tour, hiking at the national park, and lots of other hiking opportunities in the area.
Staying in Kingston for a While?
We recommend spending the night at Hotel Belvedere in downtown Kingston. It’s a gorgeous old Victorian home where you’ll be truly enchanted by the decor, the patio, and the overall experience. Even National Geographic rated this hotel as the top place to stay in Kingston, Ontario! Feel free to check out more reviews by fellow travelers before you book your stay.
If you’d like to check out some more things to do in Kingston, I’ve got a great list of ideas for you. Stand up paddle boarding in Kingston is definitely one of them. Here are some more tours and activities to try:
- Ghost and Mystery Trolley Tour
- Sherlock’s Escape: Escape Room Experience
- Kingston Bike Tours
- Kingston Waterfront Cruise