Friday 9th April 2021

Best Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) Locations in North Devon

Over the past few years stand up paddle boarding has become one of the UK’s fastest growing water sports. It's relatively quick to get into and is now a ‘must do’ activity whilst you’re on holiday. If you're enjoying a stay at our Woolacombe holiday cottages, there are numerous SUP locations nearby in North Devon.

The stunning coastline in and around Woolacombe lends itself perfectly for SUP adventures. Whether you choose to paddle parallel to the miles of golden sands or explore the dramatic and rugged coastline, you'll find plenty of options in North Devon.

What is SUP?

Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP for short) is a water sport suitable for all ages and abilities. Paddle boarders stand on their board and use a paddle to push through the water. It can be both an exhilarating and rewarding activity that creates a unique experience. An opportunity to see the oceans and coastal scenery from a fresh perspective. Whilst it can be an adrenaline fuelled activity that allows you to ride the waves with surfers, it is most commonly an idyllic pursuit. In flat conditions you can explore the ocean environment and get up close and personal with sea life. It's also a chance to explore hidden secret coves and imposing headlands.

Paddle boarding is one of the easiest water sports to learn and can be enjoyed solo or with family and friends. Once you've mastered the basics you'll be quickly converted. If you dare, you can even hire SUP’s that accommodate up to 8 people, creating a truly memorable experience.

SUP locations in North Devon

We've compiled our recommended SUP-friendly places in North Devon, including options for hire and tuition. It's worth taking note of each beach's individual characteristics as suitability can vary quite considerably depending on conditions.

Combe Martin

Combe Martin is an idyllic location from which you can explore the coves surrounding its safe bay. The team at OSKC Watersports have a vast amount of experience and local knowledge. They not only hire equipment but offer lessons and SUP tours. The shop is based in Combe Martin and resides just 50m from the beach.

sup surfers at Combe Martin in North DevonPhoto: OSKC Watersports

Putsborough and Woolacombe

SUP Southwest one of the first schools in the UK to teach stand up paddle boarding, based in Putsborough and Woolacombe. Some of the best areas to discover this exhilarating experience, due to the beautiful and varied coastline. The team are so convinced that you will take to the sport that they guarantee you will be paddling by the end of your very first lesson! Come and meet them and book in a lesson or a unique tour that could take you even further afield to Lundy Island. SUP hire and drop service for your convenience.

Woolacombe Surf Centre is a centre of excellence based in the heart of the village. SUP hire and advice available for all your holiday needs.

Photo: SUP Southwest / Nick Thorn

Ilfracombe & Watermouth Cove

Watermouth Cove is one of the most popular North Devon SUP locations. Its sheltered cove and gentle waters make it suitable for both SUP beginners and more confident paddlers. Based in Watermouth Cove, near Ilfracombe Active Escape is a unique adventure business that has “exclusive access to stunning private coastline around Ilfracombe”. Take advantage of their taster sessions, where after 15 minutes tuition you have 2hrs to then explore the coastline yourself. On your adventure you can experience going “through gullies into hidden caves and secluded coves”.

sup paddleboarders at Watermouth Cove, DevonPhoto: Active Escape


With 3 miles of golden sands at Saunton, the spacious beach has become a hot spot for SUP surfers. Saunton Surf Hire resides directly by the beach, offering a perfect SUP wave on those flat surf days when you’re still in need of adventure. Lessons can be booked through their sister business Walking on Waves.

Saunton beachPhoto: Walking on Waves


When the sea conditions are just right, Croyde is a magnificent spot for paddle boarding. With fantastic beach facilities and wide-open sea to explore, the beach itself is suited to the more experienced boarders. However, Croyde Surf Academy offers paddleboarding lessons in the area. These range from introduction courses to learn the basics to a complete SUP day tour.

paddleboarding in croydePhoto: Croyde Surf Academy

*All recommended SUP businesses have appropriate qualifications advertised.

For yours, your family and friend’s safety we recommend that you take advice from local life guards or SUP hire specialists before you embark on adventures. Understanding wind speed, wind direction and tidal movements is key to your safety and enjoyment. In addition, take a look at the British Stand Up Paddle Board Association for advice and lessons in advance of your holiday in North Devon.

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