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August 14, 2023

Guide to Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Big Bear

Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Big Bear, CA

You’ve probably seen those Costco ads for stand up paddles (SUP) in the winter time but summer is almost over, there’s still time to get out on the lake and enjoy the the serene experience. Imagine floating on a serene lake, surrounded by towering pine trees and majestic mountains reflecting on the water’s surface. This isn’t a scene from a dream—it’s the reality of stand up paddle boarding (SUP) in Big Bear, CA. As SUP gains popularity globally, Big Bear Lake emerges as a must-visit spot for enthusiasts and beginners alike. In this guide, we’ll dive deep into the world of SUP at Big Bear, uncovering the best spots, tips, and reasons why it’s the go-to destination.

Brief History of the Stand Up Paddle Board

While there’s no single person credited for the invention or creation of stand up paddleboarding as a sport, we can definitely trace it’s root back to some key individuals:

  • Hawaiian surf instructor John Ah Choy used a paddle to get out to the waves more efficiently in the 1940’s
  • American surfer Laird Hamilton popularized stand up paddling in the early 2000s to get out to large waves.
  • Rick Thomas is credited for popularizing paddleboarding in California
  • Dava Kalama is credited for developing the modern SUP design
  • Many surfboard makers are embracing modern technology and creating inflatable boards that make it convenient for users to travel with their own equipment all fitting into the size of a regular suitcase.

Why Choose Big Bear Lake for SUP?

Nestled in the San Bernardino Mountains, Big Bear Lake boasts crystal-clear waters and calm conditions, ideal for SUP. Its accessibility for Southern California residents and its reputation as both a summer and winter haven make it an unbeatable choice for paddleboarding.

Getting Started: The Essentials for SUP at Big Bear

Before you set foot—or rather, board—on the lake, it’s essential to be equipped:


  • Boards: Whether you’re a fan of solid or inflatable boards, ensure it’s suitable for lake paddling. Consider board size and volume based on your weight and skill level.
  • Paddle: Ensure it’s the right length—generally, it should be 6 to 8 inches taller than you.
  • Safety: Don’t forget your personal flotation device, a leash, and waterproof bags for your belongings.

Top SUP Spots in Big Bear Lake

  • Big Bear Municipal Marina: This is a great place to start if you are new to SUP, as the water is calm and there are plenty of other people around.
  • Boulder Bay Park: Known for its rocky landscapes, it’s perfect for those Instagram-worthy shots.
  • Veterans Park: Ideal for families, with its easy access and adjacent picnic areas.
  • Duane Boyer West Public Launch Ramp: This is a more secluded spot located at the North Shore that is perfect for those looking for a more peaceful paddle.
  • Check out more launch ramps here

Safety First: Paddle Boarding Tips and Guidelines

  • Weather: Always check the weather forecast. Big Bear’s mountain climate can be unpredictable.
  • Lake rules: Stay clear of boat lanes and be aware of designated areas for paddle sports.
  • Dress appropriately: Even in summer, the mountain breeze can be chilly. Layer up and use sunscreen.

Take a Class, Rent, or Tour: SUP Services in Big Bear

Numerous local businesses cater to the SUP community:


  • Rentals: Ideal for those trying SUP for the first time or travelers without their equipment. Get Boards has a few shops along Bear Valley Road coming through town where you can rent a kayak or paddleboard. 
  • Classes: New to SUP? Consider taking a beginner class to learn the ropes.
  • Tours: Experience Big Bear from a new perspective with guided SUP tours.

From breathtaking views to the physical and mental benefits it offers, SUP in Big Bear is an unparalleled experience. Ready to dive in? Make Big Bear, CA, your next SUP destination.

Category: Things To Do

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