Stand-up paddle boarding (or SUPping to those in the know!) has seen an incredible surge in popularity in recent years, and it is one of the easiest ways for anyone to get out onto the water. A big reason for the surge in appeal is its versatility. It can be leisurely, enjoyed with friends and family, or by yourself, and it’s also a great way of engaging in a full-body workout whilst simultaneously immersed in nature. Brighton is a perfect place for paddle boarding if you’re a seasoned SUPper or want to try it for the first time. From the world-famous Brighton beach to the relative calm of one of the rivers near Brighton or the safety of Hove Lagoon, there’s somewhere for everyone.
Another reason for the boom in popularity of paddle boarding is that it is very affordable, making it a perfect social sport for the current climate. Investing in a paddleboard of your own is the best way to get the most bang for your buck, as there is an endless supply of accessible water in the area. But if you would like to hire a SUP just for an hour or a day, get some lessons, or want a group session with mates for a fun-filled Saturday, then there are many options.
Brighton and the surrounding area offer some of the best locations to paddleboard, and our list filters the best of the bunch, from the bustling Brighton beachfront, where you can take in views of the iconic Brighton Pier, to the quieter comfort of Hove Lagoon, where beginners are free to fall off their boards without anyone noticing!
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Our top picks for paddle boarding in Brighton
Brighton Beach is far and away the most popular spot for paddle boarding in Brighton. You can be sure to see someone paddling on the waters of Brighton Beach on any day of the year, with hundreds doing so in the height of summer. From the beach, you can get close to the Palace Pier with its rides, amusement arcades, and the now-famous ruin of the West Pier and enjoy the unique view of Brighton seafront from the water. If you happen to be in Brighton during the annual Paddle Round the Pier festival, it is a must-visit event for paddleboard enthusiasts. The festival typically includes paddle boarding races, demonstrations, and opportunities to connect with the local paddle boarding community. It occurs at the beach right by Brighton’s Palace Pier (as you may have guessed!).
Hove Lagoon is an excellent place for beginners to learn paddle boarding. Located just the other side of the promenade from the sea, the Lagoon features calm and shallow waters, ideal for practising your skills and getting comfortable on your board before hitting the open water. The size and privacy of the area also make it perfect for families and children. Hove Lagoon is also the home of Lagoon Watersports, Brighton’s leading watersports activity and rental centre, which offers paddleboard rentals and lessons. Rentals are £20 per hour and can be booked directly through the Lagoon Watersports website.
Away from the crowds of the main beach, Brighton Marina is another great place to get started with paddle boarding. The Marina is an ideal sheltered location to get to grips with paddle boarding, and with direct access to the sea, you can build up your confidence before paddling straight out into the sea when you’re ready. You can hire SUPs in the Marina from Hatt Adventures for £14 per hour or £45 for the day.
If you continue East past Brighton Marina, you’ll find Ovingdean Beach, which offers a quieter and less crowded beachfront paddle boarding experience compared to central Brighton beaches. Ovingdean Beach is a peaceful spot to enjoy the coastline at your own pace in the shadow of the incredible chalk cliffs, which start here and continue along to Beachy Head near Eastbourne.
Continue further East from the Marina and Ovingdean, and you will reach Saltdean, a small town just outside Brighton best known for its beautifully restored Art Deco lido. Saltdean Beach is another excellent option for paddle boarding and once again offers a quieter experience than the hustle and bustle of the main Brighton beach.
The River Ouse
For a more tranquil experience and an opportunity to take in some of the stunning Sussex countrysides around Brighton, you could take your paddleboard to one of the rivers nearby. The River Ouse flows through East Sussex down through the beautiful town of Lewes before meeting the sea at Newhaven, and its middle and upper sections are ideal places to paddle boarding.
The River Cuckmere
The River Cuckmere provides perhaps the most spectacular paddle boarding experience in the area. You can follow the Cuckmere as it winds down through Cuckmere Haven, a National Trust-owned landscape within the South Downs National Park and close to the Seven Sisters cliffs.
The River Adur
If you’re further to the West of Brighton, then the River Adur is another excellent choice for paddle boarding, once again providing incredible countryside views to be enjoyed from the water. You’ll also find great country pubs and cafes along this river, so you can pull up to the river bank and enjoy some refreshments before getting back on the water.
So, by now, you’ve probably realised that the question facing you is not just where to go paddle boarding in Brighton but how you’re going to squeeze in boarding sessions at all of these incredible locations. For the SUP rookies out there, you can start small in Hove Lagoon. The open ocean and waves of the English Channel can wait as you master the art of paddleboarding on the calm waters of the Lagoon, away from the crowds of the beach laughing as you fall in for the 17th time (they won’t promise!).
To upgrade from the Lagoon, you have a few options: the quieter beaches of Ovingdean or Saltdean or the beautiful, tranquil rivers of the Sussex countryside – the Ouse, the Cuckmere, or the Adur. If you want to hit the sea, taking it easy at Ovingdean or Saltdean is a great choice. Both of these beaches offer the same pebbly shores as the main beach at Brighton but with way fewer crowds and often more impressive backdrops of chalk cliffs and rural landscapes. The rivers are a great choice to escape the busy urban centre of Brighton & Hove and experience some peace and tranquillity out on your board. Away from the bright lights, cars and noise of Brighton seafront, you’ll be able to relax and truly become one with your board.
But in the end, if you want to arrive in Brighton and get straight out on your board, the option for you is the world-famous Brighton Beach, where you can paddle around both piers and experience the feeling of being out on the water in mere minutes from the centre of this incredible city.