Back to Explore

Paddle boarding in the South Sound

Glide across the Puget Sound waterways on a paddle board. Photo credit: Stock photo

Email Article Print Article Share on Facebook Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon

There is still plenty of summer left, and there is no better way to soak up the summer than to get out on the water. The South Sound  offers a treasure trove of natural beauty, and one of the best ways to immerse yourself in this stunning landscape is through paddle boarding. Whether you are a seasoned paddle boarder or a beginner looking to try out this exhilarating water sport, the South Sound provides the perfect setting for an unforgettable experience.

The area boasts an intricate network of bays, inlets and waterways, making it a paddler's paradise. From the iconic waters of Commencement Bay in Tacoma to the open waters of the Puget Sound, the region offers a diverse range of paddling opportunities suitable for all skill levels.

Paddle boarding in the South Sound provides a unique opportunity to explore hidden gems that are often inaccessible by other means. As you glide across the water, you'll discover secluded beaches, quiet coves, and lush coastal forests that are teeming with wildlife. The peacefulness of paddling allows you to connect with nature on a more intimate level, and you may even spot local marine life such as seals, sea otters, and various seabird species.

If you are a wildlife enthusiast, paddle boarding in the South Sound will undoubtedly delight you. The region is rich in biodiversity, and it's not uncommon to encounter majestic bald eagles soaring overhead or witness pods of playful dolphins frolicking in the distance. The South Sound is also renowned for its salmon runs, attracting various marine creatures, including the magnificent orca whales. For those passionate about photography, capturing these natural wonders from a paddle board offers a unique perspective and unforgettable memories.

Whether you're an experienced paddle boarder or a novice, the local area caters to all skill levels. Beginners can find calm waters and sheltered bays like Boston Harbor or the southern part of Henderson Inlet, to practice their paddling techniques with minimal currents and waves. On the other hand, experienced paddlers can challenge themselves by navigating the more open waters of the Puget Sound, where they can encounter stronger currents and swells.

One of the most magical experiences in the South Sound is embarking on a sunset paddle adventure. As the sun dips below the horizon, the tranquil waters mirror the sky's stunning hues, creating a breathtaking scene.

If you're in need of a paddle board Amazon has a multitude of options. Our favorite option are the blow-up paddle boards that allow for easy transportation.

Paddle sports tips

The following are a few paddle sports tips from the Washington State Parks website.

On the water

Paddle with a group. Go out with at least three people and stay close enough for visual or verbal contact.

Expect the unexpected - you may capsize or fall in the water. On rivers, keep your feet off the bottom and pointed downstream to avoid getting snagged or stuck.

Know how to rescue yourself and others in the event of a capsize. Consider carrying a throw bag, rescue kit and a towing system.

Stay near the shore when there's a lot of boat traffic. Approaching waves head on will help keep water out of your vessel to avoid capsizing the boat.

Scan ahead and look for hazards like overhanging branches/trees, rocks, low bridges or rapids.

When in doubt, get out and scout! Don't take a chance of paddling rapids or currents you are not used to. Make sure to check for rocks that are dangerously close to the surface.

Self-care is important so you stay alert. Know your limits, stay hydrated, etc.

Wear a life jacket

State law requires all vessels, including canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards, to have at least one properly fitted Coast Guard-approved life jacket for each person on board. All children, 12 years of age or younger, are always required to wear life jackets. Modern, comfortable life jackets are tailored specifically for paddle sports. Inflatable life jackets are only allowed for persons 16 years of age or older. No matter your age and skill level, you're encouraged to wear a life jacket every time you go out on the water.

Always wear a leash (SUP)
For stand-up paddle boards, a leash is a necessity. Without a leash, even in a light breeze or small waves or current, a paddleboard can drift out of reach in a matter of seconds. Staying tethered to a paddle board provides extra flotation and a chance to stay alive in an accident. A variety of leashes are available (coiled, hybrid, straight, quick release) and which one to use depends on the waterway. You need to research which leash is right for you.

For more information on paddle sport safety visit

comments powered by Disqus