Did you know that the Wilmington area is one of the top spots on the East coast for Stand-up paddle boarding? Labeled North Carolina’s “most naturally gifted watersport hub, an undomesticated destination for canoeists, kayakers, and surfers,” tiny Wrightsville Beach, population 2,484, boasts one of the most active SUP communities in the southeast, and one of the most popular SUP loops in the region, the four-mile, a flat-water course known as the HarborIsland Outer Loop. Noting its salt marshes, protected ocean waters, and consistent waves, in 2013 Men’s Journal singled out Wrightsville Beach for its easy access to many different types of water, from flat-water loops like the Harbor Island Loop to ocean surf and everything in between. one year later, in 2014Men’s Journal named the Wrightsville Beach area the “PaddleTown Battle Winner”.More accolades followed with Wrightsville Beach being named one of the best “SUP hubs” in the country by Outside Magazine.
Wrightsville Beach has made its reputation as a stand-up paddle boarding hot spot thanks to the variety of opportunities and the many channels and waterways available. The tiny town, population 2,484, has one of the most popular SUP loops in the region, the four-mile, flat-watercourse is known as the Harbor Island Outer Loop. It is also home to the world-famous “CarolinaCup” Paddler Race. The annual event is in its eleventh year and is one of the largest stand-up paddle competitions in the world attracting nearly 1000 paddlers each year. This year’s competition takes place on November 6th. It is a week-long event featuring over a dozen clinics and 5 races. The clinics are open to anyone and hundreds of fans gather around the waterways to watch the paddlers race. The event is fun for the whole family with live music, food, as well as an expo.
However, you don’t have to be a pro to get out there and enjoy the water. Stand up paddle boarding is an incredibly easy water sport to learn, and you can become an expert paddle boarder in no time. SUP is one of those sports that any age can enjoy and there are dozens of places locally that rent paddle boards by the hour and give lessons so you don’t even have to worry about storing equipment or loading it up on your car. You can simply go rent a board for the day or hire an instructor to teach you the basics before you venture out.
Stand-up paddle boarding is an excellent workout. Few activities provide such an extensive range, from upper body training to leg work and core strength building. At the same time, its also a fairly low-intensity and fun thing to do. It is also a great way to improve your strength, balance and your endurance. The sport uses all the muscles in your body so that you can remain balanced on the board. It is especially good for your core. As is true for most exercise, it can also improve your mood and help with depression. So not only is this a fun way to soak up some sun and be one with nature, it can also help you stay healthy.
There are many places throughout New Hanover and Brunswick County where you can paddle as well as place for you to rent equipment. Here are a few places you can rent a board by the hour or learn the basics:
Lessons & Rentals
96 W Salisbury St | Wrightsville Beach, NC | 910/378-9283
Rentals & Sales
1 N. Lumina Ave | Wrightsville Beach, NC | 910/256-6789
Rentals, Tours & Instruction
1020 State Park Road | Carolina Beach, NC | 910/612-3297
Rentals, Tours, Sales