Lake Tahoe Standup Paddleboarding

By Tahoe Staff | Friday, January 15, 2016

Lake Tahoe standup paddleboarding is quickly catching on wherever beautiful waterscapes exist, but what exactly is standup paddleboarding (SUP)? It's best described as a mix between surfing and canoeing or kayaking. The rider stands in the center of the board, which is like a large surf board. Using a paddle the rider can glide across the water, enjoy the the views and gain access to remote beaches. Tahoe is full of paddleboard rentals.

Where to Paddle?

  • Emerald Bay Beach — Limited parking, accessible by a 1-mile, steep, sandy hike from parking lot on Highway 89 or by trail from Bliss Park, about 4 miles. Picnic tables, Vikingsholm Castle, views of the only island in Lake Tahoe.
  • Meeks Bay — On Highway 89, 10 miles south of Tahoe City, adjacent to Meeks Bay Campground. Beach, boat launch, day use fee, restrooms, picnic facilities.
  • Sand Harbor — (Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park). Picnic facilities, restrooms, a huge beach and boulders for climbing. Parking $6 per car, boat launching (separate entrance) is $8, and anchoring in the harbor is $6. Annual permits are available. 2005 Highway 28 Sand Harbor, Nevada (775) 831-0494.
  • Kings Beach State Recreation Area — On Highway 28 in Kings Beach. A large, free beach with paid state parking ($10). Boat, Jet ski and other rentals are available. Barbecue areas, kid’s park, and public restrooms.
  • El Dorado Beach — Base of Emerald Bay with a 1-mile hike down. Vikingsholm Castle, scenic, restrooms, picnic facilities.

Tips for new Paddleboarders

  • Some boards have handles. If not carry overhead with your head in the center between the tail (back) and nose (front) of the board.
  • Practice in calm water. Early morning is better.

Getting up

  • When standing up, start in the center of the board sitting on your knees.
  • From the seated position hold the paddle with both hands in front of you perpendicular to the board.
  • Move to the crouching position and slowly stand up, keeping your eyes on the horizon.



  • Paddle with long fluid stokes.
  • Keep your feet about shoulder’s width apart, pointing forward straight down the board.
  • Keep your knees bent and relaxed.
  • If you fall, fall away from the board and release the paddle. Swim back to the board first, then go after the paddle.