SUP – Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Wanaka

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SUP – Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Wanaka

Not only had we been looking forward to an amazing summer holiday in Lake Wanaka last year…but I had been secretly really looking forward to trying a SUP – Stand Up Paddle boarding for the first time too!


Lake Wanaka 2012-13

Lake Wanaka 2012-13


I had already scoped out who offered it on the lake, so we just had to wait for 1 gap in our relaxing holiday schedule (and a nice calm day on the water where we weren’t waterskiing).

Miss 13 and I head down to the lake dressed in our swimming togs with swim shorts and light T shirts over the top and our water shoes. It was still quite early so there were only a few people so far out on the lake.

We rocked up to Wanaka Kayaks Sup & Sail who have their Van & Equipment parked lakeside all through the summer months.  We had a very nice woman who chatted away to us as she got our boards out and sorted us with Lifejackets.

She showed us a short demonstration on the beach of how to hold the paddle and the right technique for paddling which seemed straightforward enough.  Then the boards went into the water and she demonstrated how to attempt to get onto the board and start off all in one movement…this seemed like a perfect opportunity for face plant into the water material right there.

Now it was our turn.  Miss 13 got up on her board like a pro and was soon off paddling away like she had been doing it for years.

My turn, ok, one knee on and a push out and at the same time hop up on the board…oh look it worked…I’m out on my board (still on my knees), but I’m out and I haven’t fallen in yet.  Next step was to get up on my feet, ok easy does it and I’m up…it was easier than I hought it was going to be…now I can start paddling…hey I’m moving…hey I’m not falling off.  This is kinda cool!

I’m pleasantly surprised at how easy it is to pick it up, you need to get into a ‘rhythm of paddling in sequence, but once you do you can make quite good ground quite quickly.  It’s very peaceful out her on the lake on the board.


SUP - Stand Up Paddleboarding - Lake Wanaka

SUP – Stand Up Paddleboarding – Lake Wanaka


Miss 13 and I meet up out by the swimming buoys and we set about making plans of some ‘competitions’ we could have…paddling races from there back to the shore…paddling races around the buoys and around the house boat that’s parked in the harbour and back again…paddling races on our knees…anything we can think off…towing each other for awhile while the other person relaxes…

Miss 13 is going great guns and has picked it up really easily.  All of a sudden while Miss 13 was paddling in the other direction and was far enough away not to notice I suddenly loose my footing and go tail-over head backwards and land half in the water and still half on my board on my bum/back half submerged in water…surprisingly I don’t actually fall right into the water though.
But my head, shoulders, back an butt are all soaking wet, but not my lower front half – looks and feels a little odd, but I’m having a great time so I don’t care one bit.

I don’t quite no how I managed to ‘not’ fall in…and I don’t quite no how I managed to not have Miss 13 see me go tail-over head and miss her opportunity to laugh historically at me…but I did.

A little bit of a breeze has come up not, creating just a little bit of a ripple on the lake, you can definitely still Paddleboard, but it’s not quite so smooth and streamlined as it is when it’s calm.

I’ve been keeping an eye on the time with the watch they have given me and I honestly could spend twice as long out here, but it’s time to head back in.

We absolutely loved our time Paddleboarding and managed to both have another go a week latter during our holiday and Miss 13 a third go another week latter.  It was very easy to pick up, very easy to feel like you could have some fun with it quite easily and I can’t wait to have another go at it soon.

I know that Fergs Kayaks down on the waterfront here in Wellington offer it, so as soon as some warmer weather rolls around enticing us to get in the water, I look forward to having another go Paddleboarding in Wellington Harbour.

House Boat, Lake Wanaka

House Boat, Lake Wanaka




  • No experience necessary, but confidence in water is probably recommended
  • Only a short training needed
  • No skill as such needed
  • Easy to learn and start having fun with it
  • Fun to do with a few friends
  • Can be done in many locations
  • Can be tried by a wide range of ages
  • Provided all the equipment eg. Lifejackets, Boards & Paddles
  • Great upper arm workout
  • Cost effective entertainment…my memory is hazy, but it was maybe only $20 per hour each



  • Waves make it not quite so much fun, so calm water is the biz


Wanaka Kayaks Sup & Sail
Lake Wanaka


Have you tried SUP – Stand up paddleboarding?  


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