Stand Up Paddleboard, aka SUP, is enjoying a huge surge in popularity. Over the last 5 or 6 years it’s gone from relative obscurity to be enjoyed by millions! So what’s behind the craze; and what makes St John such a great spot to enjoy stand up paddle boarding? Read on, and we’ll share everything with you.
Beginner to Experienced SUP, there’s a St John for you!
St John’s beaches bays and cays are as varied as their names! And each has a character that SUP riders will enjoy. From the calm waters of Maho Bay to the dramatic blue water off Lameshur Bay; there really is no better place to enjoy paddle boarding, than St John.
Beginner SUP St John Beaches
If you’re just learning to SUP or just need to dust off your sea legs – you’ll want to find a nice, calm, shallow beach to practice. Here’s our list of great beaches to learn to paddle board on St John.
Maho Bay Beach – This is our TOP PICK. The beach is close to parking; so you won’t have to lug the board very far! Just about anywhere along the beach is good. But avoid the shallow rocky areas at the extreme ends of the beach. You’ll find that most days the water and wind are calm. The beach is sandy and the water is shallow out 10 to 20 yards or more – making it the ideal spot to learn SUP.
Francis Bay – Located just around the point from Maho Bay Beach lies Francis. Like Maho, parking is close to the water. Unlike Maho, the water is a bit deeper just off the beach. But most days you’ll find calm water and relatively little wind. Another great spot to learn to stand up paddle board.
Salt Pond Bay – Located on St John’s south-eastern shore is a small bay with a crescent of white sand. It’s location and orientation to wind and waves means the bay is calm most days. The white sand beach and shallow water entry make for a terrific spot to get comfortable climbing onto the paddle board.
Little Lameshur Bay – This off the beaten path beach enjoys a parking close to the beach, a protected cove, white sand beach and shallow water. Another wonderful spot to gain some confidence on a stand up paddle board.
St John’s beaches, bays and cays are as varied as their names!
Intermediate Paddle Boarders
St John has something for you as well. From the relatively calm aqua blue waters of St John’s north shore and east end beach, to the open water experience of visiting the cays and hard to reach beaches – there’s adventure ahead! Here are our top picks for experienced paddlers.
Hawksnest Bay – with 6 named beaches to explore, this is our TOP PICK for the intermediate stand up paddle boarder. Parking at Hawksnest is fairly close to the beach. From there you can survey, from west to east, Caneel’s Hawksnest Beach, Little Hawksnest Beach, Gibney Beach, Oppenheimer Beach and a tiny pocket beach called Mermaid’s Chair. Go out around either point and you’ll see an marked increase in wind and wave height.
Cinnamon Bay – St John’s longest beach delivers plenty of aqua blue water and white sand! There’s a small cay just off the beach. Paddle west and enjoy LIttle Cinnamon Beach with the grand villas of Peter Bay dotting the hillside. Head east and around the point to explore Maho Bay and Whistling Cay. Paddle Board rentals are available at Cinnamon Bay Resort Water Sports – making this a super convenient location to get out on the water!
South Shore – From Salt Pond to Reef Bay there’s plenty of open water to challenge the more experienced paddle boarders. Winds are usually blowing from the east; and the shoreline is mostly rocky with the few beaches separated by dramatic rocky points.
Experienced paddle boarders will also enjoy St John’s East End. From Coral Bay east to Hurricane Hole and out to Haulover South and even Hansen Bay. There’s plenty to see while you get a good workout!
The popularity of SUP / stand up paddle boarding has even made it to yoga. Enjoy the serenity of yoga on the beautiful water of one of St John’s amazing beaches.
SUP yoga classes are offered by …
SolShine SUP Yoga – Call 850-371-0837 or visit: www.solshinesup.com/
Sup St John – Call Lucy at (340) 514-5527 or visit: www.sup-stjohn.com
SUP Rentals and Stand Up Paddle Board Lessons on St John
There are several water sports rental companies on St John. They vary by the types of equipment they carry, price, availability and service. Check them out …
SUP St John
Owner, Lucy, is an ISA certified SUP instructor. Her company SUP-stjohn.com offers lessons, SUP rentals, Gopro rentals, Easybreath Mask snorkel gear rentals, and they even offer led paddles for night SUP adventures! Daily / Wkly rates and complimentary delivery available.
Call (340) 514-5527 or visit: www.sup-stjohn.com/
Virgin Islands Ecotours
This kayak, hike and snorkel tour company is located on St Thomas and St John. VI Ecotours / Honeymoon Beach Hut offers a range of SUP / stand up paddle board rentals including yoga boards! They also rent Gopro cameras, snorkel gear and kayaks. Daily / Wkly rates and delivery available.
Call (340) 779-2155 or visit www.viecotours.com
Cinnamon Bay Resort Water Sports
Located along St John’s longest beach, Cinnamon Bay Beach, visitors and guests can rent everything from stand up paddle boards, kayaks, kite surfers, wind surfers and gear. Visit: http://cinnamonbayresort.com/explore/water-sports/
This St John-based tour company also rents SUPs. They offer half day, full day and weekly rates. They offer lessons as well as soft racks for your rental or delivery.
Call (340) 693-5312 or visit: http://arawakexp.com/