My favorite thing to do in the summer in Lake Tahoe is anything a the Lake! When I moved back to the ‘mainland’ from Hawaii being near water was of utmost priority and this is a main reason that my husband and I chose to restart our lives in Lake Tahoe. Right before I moved to Lake Tahoe the stand up paddle boarding (SUP) craze was taking flight and I jumped on the board… literally. I first learned to SUP in Maui and was thrilled that it was an activity I could take with me when I moved to Lake Tahoe. I have been enjoying SUP’ing in Lake Tahoe every summer since and here I want to share with you my favorite SUP adventure.
My favorite is to take a trip from Sand Harbor State Beach to Thunderbird Lodge along the East Shore in Lake Tahoe. Start by traveling to Sand Harbor State Beach, park in the parking lot and bring your equipment to the sandy shore. Hop on your board and begin heading south along the East Shore. As you glide on top of the waters enjoying views of the sandy beach bottom below you will quickly travel past the buoys reaching deeper blue waters. As you hug the coast you will enjoy various shades of blue as the depths of the Lake change below you. One of my favorite spots is just outside Sand Harbor where the waters are crystal clear blue where sand lies below surrounded by dark blue waters of the giant rocks below. Half way to the Thunderbird Lodge there is a popular rocky beach and swimming area before you enter the deep blue waters of the cove approaching the historic mansion. As you sail close to the famous Thunderbird Lodge you will get a insider view of the famous compound including the boat house, lighthouse, private beach, main house and its gardens. The day I visited I was spectating alongside two other famous boats – the Sierra Cloud Catamaran and the Grand-Craft Wild Goose II, obviously the place to be for the day! From here I turn around and head back to Sand Harbor and return up the East Shore. The entire trip takes about 45-mins to an hour each way for a total of 2 hrs. Once you are back at the beach, ditch your board and enjoy swimming, sunbathing or various games at this spectacular beach for a perfect day at Lake Tahoe.
I see a lot of people trying to SUP or wanting to try it but afraid to and really it’s quite easy! Here are a few tips that I learned that may help you!
- A body in motion….. will stay in motion! – This is the most common mistake I see – don’t try to start standing on the board from a still position. Often you will teeter back and forth until you loose your balance and fall, instead sit on your knees and paddle until the board is sailing across the water smoothly and then try to stand up!
- Don’t look down! – This is the #2 mistake and is very easy to do. Looking down makes it easier to loose your balance and distracts you. Instead, look ahead at 12 o’clock and scan the horizon back and forth.
- Calm waters – This is a no brainer! Don’t try to learn in choppy, windy waters. Instead start in calm, smooth waters making it a lot easier to learn and giving you confidence.
- Boards matters – I often see people new to the sport buying expensive boards that they don’t need. Guess what? These expensive boards are often harder to learn with because they are thinner. Instead, get a thicker, sturdy board and a soft-top if you can. They have better grip and more durable to transport.
- Take a lesson – My first SUP experience was with a friend who was an instructor and it made all the difference to know where to stand on the board and how to grip the paddle. This 1-2 hour lesson is money well spent and will save you hours of falling in the water!
There are great local outfitters in the North Lake Tahoe region where you can rent SUP boards and take lessons as well as sign up for private and group excursions. A few in particular I recommend are: Adrift Tahoe in Kings Beach, Tahoe Adventure Company in Tahoe City and Action Water Sports of Incline Village.
Have you ever enjoyed a stand up paddle boarding adventure on Lake Tahoe? If so, share in the comments below your favorite adventures to enjoy!
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