Jumbo paddleboarding on Loch Insh, near Aviemore in the Highlands
© VisitScotland/Jakub Iwanicki


Paddleboarding in Scotland

Stand up paddle boarding, often shortened to SUP, is one of the UK’s fastest growing watersports and is a great activity for escaping the everyday. And Scotland is one of the best places to paddleboard. From the deck of a paddle board, you can see the best of Scotland from a whole new perspective. And being near, on or in water is a great way to improve your health and boost those wellbeing endorphins.

Whether you're going on a group outing on individual paddle boards, all together aboard one jumbo paddle board, or a beginner looking for lessons, get ready for guaranteed laughs. Paddleboarding in Scotland has it all! Some companies even offer outings with four-legged family members – Pups on SUPs – for tail-wagging fun! 

Read on to learn more about some of the best places to paddleboard in Scotland, how to keep safe and FAQs about paddleboarding.

Get inspired for your stand up paddleboarding holiday

Enjoy an unparalleled sense of freedom and let Scotland's waters improve your wellness, as you glide along while on a stand up paddleboard, with paddle in hand. This sport can be experienced in a number of stunning locations across the country, and will give you a unique, on-the-water perspective of Scotland.

Hire equipment and get lessons with Paddle Surf Scotland in and around Perthshire and Tayside, as well as on the shorelines and lochs in Oban, Fort William and Lochaber on the west coast; Wilderness SUP at a range of sites including the River Almond near Edinburgh, or on Loch Kinord in Royal Deeside; Blown Away Experiences on St Andrews West Sands; or Unicorn Paddle where you can try paddleboarding on Loch Lomond, the Forth of Firth, or the Union Canal.

Best places to paddleboard in Scotland

Paddleboarding is an amazing and very low impact way to explore Scotland’s coast, lochs and waterways at your own pace. To help you find a SUP holiday destination and get you exploring, we’ve suggested a few places below to visit and some businesses that can help guide you.

The Outer Hebrides

Vatersay beach

There are so many stunning bays and quiet coves to explore by stand up paddleboard, around the isles of Lewis, Harris and Barra in the Outer Hebrides. Hook up with Surf Lewis or Barra Surf & Coastal Adventures for suggestions, lessons and paddleboard hire.

Cairngorms National Park - lochs Insh and Morlich

Paddle boarding Loch Insh

Paddleboard on quiet lochs amidst stunning surroundings in the UK’s largest national park. Try a jumbo board with all the family - you can even take your dog! Lessons and paddleboard rental are available at Loch Insh Outdoor Centre and Loch Morlich Watersports.

Aberdeenshire - Stonehaven

Dunnottar Castle

Take a watery tour of secluded caves, quiet coves and even a castle, along Scotland’s north-east coast or paddleboard along calmer sections of the lovely River Dee. Granite AdventuresPaddleboarding Stonehaven and Sup2summit will happily guide you. 

Perthshire - The River Tay and Loch Tay

Paddleboarding Willowgate Perth

Enjoy a paddleboarding lesson on the River Tay near Perth with Willowgate Activity Centre. More experienced paddleboarders can join Beyond Adventure and Unique Adventure Tours Scotland to explore spectacular Loch Tay in Highland Perthshire.

Argyll & The Isles - Oban

Isle of Kerrera aerial

Paddleboard to the Isle of Kerrera and plan your water-borne siege of Gylen Castle, or take a sunset tour of the Oban coastline to see Dunollie Castle and marine wildlife, with Basking Shark Scotland and Explore Highland.

Edinburgh & The Lothians

Paddle boarding Port Edgar

What could be better than paddleboarding in Edinburgh under the shadow of the Forth Bridges at Port Edgar Marina? Alternatively head east and explore Belhaven Bay in East Lothian and see the ‘Bridge to Nowhere’, with C2C Surf School and Ocean Vertical. You could also try Driftwood Adventures who offer paddleboarding experiences on Gladshouse Reservoir in Midlothian.

Glasgow & The Clyde Valley

Did you know you can paddleboard in Glasgow - Scotland’s largest city? Join an instructor-led session at the Bhive Activity Hub at Bowling Harbour on the Forth & Clyde Canal. Or try stand up paddleboarding at Pinkston Watersports, just a short bus or taxi ride from Queen Street Station. Connecting with the Glasgow Paddleboarders Co community is also a great way to find out about paddleboarding in the city and surrounding area, or if you're looking for guided paddleboarding trips, lessons, paddleboard hire or even paddleboarding buddies.

Ayrshire & Arran

Brodick Bay Arran

Dotted with ancient castles, explore Ayrshire's majestic coastline, where paddlers are spoiled with many sweeping shallow sandy bays to choose from. Adventure Carrick can take you to the best spots. Or cross the Firth of Clyde to the Isle of Arran and explore Brodick Bay or paddle to Holy Isle with SUP Arran.

Dumfries & Galloway

Loch Ken

Spend a few hours exploring the shores of stunning Loch Ken, located within the UNESCO Galloway and South Ayrshire Biosphere, with Galloway Activity Centre. Then relax in one of their Eco Bothies, refreshed and ready for your next day of adventures. With a wealth of waterways and inland lochs, this region is a paddlers’ paradise.

Scottish Borders

Explore peaceful St Mary's Loch in the beautiful Yarrow Valley with Kayak and SUP Hire and Sales Scottish Borders based in Selkirk, and paddle your cares away.

Book your SUP lessons & Adventure in Scotland

If you're new to paddleboarding, or are not sure where to go, don't worry. There are many outdoor operators across Scotland that will be happy to get you on the water for a paddleboarding experience, with wetsuit, buoyancy aid and paddle, to show you how it's done, or guide you. Then you'll be off exploring loch shores, calm rivers and quiet coastal coves, with your family or paddleboarding buddies.

FAQs for Stand Up Paddleboard Beginners

  • What shoes to wear stand up paddleboarding?

A lot of boards actually have a grip on them that is designed for bare feet, so it it is warm enough, you might not need to wear any shoes. Or if the weather is colder and you want to wear shoes, then light barefoot trainers or neoprene boots are a good option, even in winter.

  • How hard is it to do stand up paddleboarding?

Everyone has to start somewhere. It may take a moment to steady your balance but after a few tries, you should get the hang of it. You'll have experienced guides and instructors with you, so they'll be able to show you all the ropes, tips and tricks for becoming an expert. And if you do fall off, it's a soft landing!

  • What is an inflatable stand up paddleboard?

Inflatable SUP are much easier to transport compared to standard paddleboards. They are also sometimes more stable due to the increased volume supporting more weight.

  • What to wear while stand up paddleboarding?

You won't need any fancy or expensive clothing to hit the water. In fact, as long as you have some sort of activewear clothing, you’re pretty much good to go. Some SUP operators will provide wetsuits, but depending on the weather and temperature, you can wear a swimsuit or swimming trunks too. Make sure you bring a change of warm, dry clothes for afterwards.

  • Can you paddleboard anywhere?

Under the Land Reform (Scotland) Act, we have a statutory right of access to most land and water in Scotland. However, wherever you go, it is important to be considerate of the environment, take responsibility for your own actions, and respect the interests of other people too.