Skip to Content

LA: Learn to paddleboard

Bet you didn’t think you could learn to paddleboard in LA!

I love staying in Santa Monica when I visit, but on this trip I went a little further south, along the coast to Marina del Rey. Being a marina, it has water activities galore, so it would have been rude not to give paddleboarding a crack.

Dog boarding
Just a typical sight on the lagoon of Marina del Rey

I’d never tried it but always thought it looked pretty easy. And actually it is. The thing that’s not are the yoga and martial arts classes conducted on your wobbly board. But I digress…

I walked around the lagoon with families swimming and other paddleboarding – even with a pet on the front – to PHINS Club who have paddleboards, kayaks and row boats. My quest was to spend half an hour paddling around the marina without getting wet.

Phins Marina del Rey
Paddleboards, kayaks and row boats at Phins

They grabbed a board off the rack and put it in the water and I was fortunate that a confident couple arrived just as I was learning the getting-on technique so I was able to watch. Then it was my turn.

Kneeling in the middle of board I was quite happy to have kneeboarded all morning. But that would be stupid. I was shown how to hold my paddle and I set off, deciding that I would need to tackle standing up at some safe point away from the eyes of the team on the pier.

Phins paddleboard
Getting my bearings…

SUP is what I’m meant to be doing. Stand Up Paddleboarding not Kneel Down Paddleboarding.

In this post I have listed the top 10 tips for learning how to paddleboard – if you don’t have an instructor barking orders.

There are a few boats puttering out to the sea, so the trick is you need a bit of speed on or you will wobble like a scaredy cat. And if a teeny wake is coming your way, point your nose or tail into it and paddle with confidence.

Phins paddleboarding
Noooo – the zoom should not be used! But it is me. Really.

So there I am, tootling past the piers stocked with fancy boats, saying hello to my fellow paddlers (who later told me they thought I looked quite the part and not the novice I actually was), and negotiating a turn to head back into the lagoon.

I’d given my camera to the PHINS guys to take evidence. Alas I should have told them my zoom feature doesn’t work on this particular model…

You can take boards for an hour for $30 or do a yoga or martial arts class for $20 (on your own board).

Eventually I’d had enough of pottering round. And I didn’t fall in, returning to the dock with ease, kneeling back down to hold on and climb off. Easy peasy. Do this when you visit Marina del Rey. Such fun!

Where to stay: Jamaica Bay Inn is right on the lagoon with a lovely restaurant and spacious rooms with balconies. This is a great location for families and those wanting a quieter LA stay.

Jamaica Bay Inn
The view from my balcony at Jamaica Bay Inn

Read more about LA!

If you’re visiting for your first time, or you have been before but are looking for new things to do, this post has you covered with these fabulously cool things to do in LA!

Or just up the road, there are several great bars to visit in Santa Monica. Some are rooftop, some with sunset views and others with a cool vibe that earned them a spot on this list.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I'm Megan Singleton and I'm the word slinger of this travel blog as well as on radio in NZ every Sunday. Former Travel Editor at Yahoo NZ and current freelance writer for a few newspapers and mags from time to time, I set off on this travel writing journey 20 years ago and I've pretty much always got a suitcase half packed (or half un-packed!) I'd love you to join me on Facebook or Twitter and sign up for my newsletters if you want loads of travel tips, advice and deals!