5 Shops for SUP Surfing in the San Francisco Area
San Francisco is one of the most visited cities in the United States. Every year, around 20 million people visit the splendid shores to see the sights, visit the plentiful restaurants and see the beautiful beaches.
But along with the beaches come opportunities to spend time on the water, standing on a SUP, and shooting down some fun lines on a wave.
Shops in the area have always housed the surfing crowd, but now a few have popped up offering beginner lessons for SUP’s, exciting tours, and SUP surfing lessons for those eager to jump into some waves.
With that in mind, this is a Perfect Paddles 5 Shops for SUP surfing in the San Francisco Area. It is our hope, with this guide, we will be able to point potential paddlers in the right direction if they are looking to do some surfing in the San Francisco area.
Mike’s Paddle (Alameda)
Our first shop is a Perfect Paddles staple, and for good reason. We are talking about Mike’s Paddle located close to San Francisco in Alameda.
While you should check out Mike’s for comprehensive introductory classes for SUP as well as their amazing Discover the Bay Tours, what aspect we are going to focus on now is their SUP Surf lessons.
One caveat though: in order to sign up for this lesson, attendees must have a solid paddling foundation on which to build on. These classes are not for the beginner, and therefore should not be signed up for if you are just starting.
But, if you do have a great foundation in flatwater paddling and can physically handle paddling in rough conditions, Mike’s Paddle offer a SUP Surf and Downwind Surf tutorial!
Instead of trying to write about their program, let’s look at what their website says, “SUP surf is becoming a really popular subsection of surfing because of the ease of catching a wave and SUP's versatility in different conditions. We have designed these three lessons to get you acquainted with all aspect of surfing so we can make you a bona-fide surfer! Surf locations include but not limited to: Pacifica, Bolinas, and Santa Cruz. You will start with inflatable surf boards (for the safety of you and other surfers) and graduate to hard boards.”
This is a progression type lesson which will leave you with not only the skills to succeed but the confidence to do as well.
And if you are into learning how to downwind, they have you covered there too, “We love Downwind Surf because there are so many waves on the bay you don't have to compete for a scarce resource like an ocean wave. Downwind surf is an exciting new subset of stand up! Downwind surf requires specific downwind boards typically 12'6 or 14' long with surf tail and highly rockered noses.”
Mike’s Paddle truly has it all when it comes to paddling. And the best part?! They also offer discounts through our Buddy Deal here. Check them out!
Rubicon Adventures (Forestville)
Staying close to the area, we lad at Rubicon Adventures in Forestville.
Rubicon, much like Mike’s Paddle, is a great outfitter offering a complete package when it comes to classes and extending your paddling skills beyond what you thought was possible.
However, they do have the same limitations as our previous outfitter did as well. Their Surf Clinic is for experienced paddlers only. Which means you may need to take a beginner lesson or two before you can sign up.
But once you are ready to go, Rubicon employs John Hadley, who, according to their website, many consider to be the best, and most experienced, SUP surf instructor in Northern California.
That’s pretty cool!
Each class includes lessons on stance, ocean paddling and doing it successfully, how to catch waves, and one of the most important, yet underrated lessons, proper SUP surf etiquette.
Which, if you know anything about SUP surfing, is incredibly important due to the dangers of the bigger boards gaining momentum in the water and potentially hurting fellow surfers.
Get going on your experience paddling and be sure to checkout Rubicon Adventures to be taught by one of the best surfers in the area!
Covewater Paddle Surf (Capitola)
Our next stop is a shop called Covewater Paddle Surf in Capitola.
Much like the previous shops on the list, Covewater is also a first-rate operation, teaching everything needed to be successful on a SUP.
Of course, as we have previously recommended, first timers should always be sure they’re signing up for beginner lessons to gain the basics of paddling before heading into the tumultuous ocean.
But once that is taken care of, Covewater might be the shop to pick if you are in a hurry to get into the surf and catch a wave!
Unlike the previous shops on our list, Covewater offers a Surf Surf Lesson, but only in a one-on-one basis. This means you and the instructor are the only ones out there for the duration of the lesson. This private nature of the class is the best way to absorb as much information as you can, ensuring that you will be successful in riding your first wave back to the beach!
As a little extra incentive, you will be given photos taken during your two-hour session, giving you memories to hold onto for the rest of your life.
Be sure to give Covewater Paddle Surf a shout if you are in the Capitola area, and get out on some waves!
Morro Bay Stand Up Paddleboarding (Morro Bay)
Next up! Is a place called Morro Bay Stand Up Paddleboarding, in, well, Morro Bay of course.
Morro Bay is known for its rugged beauty, jutting single mound mountain, and vast coastline. The views and surrounding nature are some of the most amazing sights visitors can witness.
And that’s why it’s a good thing this SUP company exists!
What better way to see the world than on top of a board, floating in the clear water, underneath a warm sun?
Well, that’s what you get with Morro Bay Stand Up Paddleboarding.
Much like their name implies, their location is restricted to the bay. But then, why are they on our list? Well, let us tell you.
They offer what’s called a SUP Level 2- Exposed Water class. This is an advanced class and for good reason. They say on their website, “The Level 2 Exposed Water lesson takes what you learned in a Level 1 Flatwater lesson and applies it to conditions that include wind chop, swell, currents, stronger winds, and shore break. If you want to be launching and landing a SUP on an open beach and entering open water, this is for you. While we don't cover surfing a SUP in this lesson, the skills you learn here are necessary to advance to SUP surfing lessons. Because students in this lesson have already gained some paddling experience, we schedule this lesson when the winds are up to 12 miles per hour and there may be stronger currents.”
Sounds fun, doesn’t it?
Well it is! And not only that but it will prepare you for your adventure into the ocean and beyond!
And as a bonus, check out their page here for a discount on their services through our Buddy Deal!
Paddle Sports Center (Goleta)
We are at our final shop for SUP Surfing in the San Francisco area. And taking that last spot is a shop called Paddle Sports Center located in the beautiful town of Goleta.
While it is located a little farther south, we wanted to include it on our list due to the wonderful location in Goleta and the excellent customer service offered by Paddle Sports Center.
Providing customers with beginner lessons, tours and rentals, what’s really great about PSC is their SUP surf lessons.
As they write on their website, “Santa Barbara is home to excellent winter swells and summer bumps. Riding waves is not only fun but empowering. Our surf lessons typically take place at Leadbetter point, where we have a great righthand forgiving break; the best to learn on. Depending on the swell or group experience, we can meet at a variety of breaks in the area. We are the closest surf shop to Leadbetter point, a great beginner wave. All instructors have a vast knowledge of surfing and are passionate about teaching. We can tailor your Santa Barbara surf lesson to your experience level.”
Did you get that last part?
That is what separates PSC from the rest. You don’t need any prior skills to learn how to SUP Surf with them. They will teach you everything you need to know to get you standing and surfing in some small waves.
And what’s more? They also provide a discount on their page here through our Buddy Deal!
San Francisco has a ton of activities to offer visitors to its shores every year. From restaurants, to museums, art, architecture and of course the famous Golden Gate bridge, the possibilities are seemingly endless!
But one of the most underrated experiences one can have is time on the beautiful waters surrounding the city and beyond.
And what’s more, the surfing is often excellent throughout the year, ready for beginners and experienced paddlers alike to carve up a wave and share the stoke with friends and family.
So, if you are looking for something different to do while in the Bay area, check out the shops listed here, give them a shout, and get onto the water! Because it is one of our basic beliefs that surfing is essential for a happy life.