Zadar, Croatia: We Try Stand Up Paddleboarding in the Adriatic Sea

By on 15th July 2019

We’ve wanted to try stand up paddleboarding for ages! We’ve seen people leisurely paddling themselves down meandering rivers and across sparkling lakes all over Europe and it’s always looked great fun and super easy.

As soon as we discovered there was a company offering stand up paddleboarding tuition and hire in Croatian city of Zadar, we finally jumped at the opportunity to give it a try.

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We get to know our paddleboards by initially kneeling
We get to know our paddleboards by initially kneeling

Our first try at stand up paddleboarding in Zadar, Croatia

The company we contacted was ZadarSUP, an independent family-run business based in Zadar, specialising in stand up paddleboarding and sailing trips. After a quick email exchange between ourselves and business owner’s Rajko & Anna, we arranged to meet at Uskok Sailing Club, a few minutes north of the city centre by car.

Anna and two paddleboards were already waiting for us on the shingle beach when we arrived. The boards were much larger than we were expecting, but seemed promisingly buoyant. Since we were a little apprehensive, we found this very encouraging.

In terms of tuition, there wasn’t really much for Anna to demonstrate. Stand up paddleboarding doesn’t require a great deal of specialist knowledge or skill. Provided you can stand and you have a decent sense of balance, it’s pretty easy to pick up. Whilst we were still on land, Anna showed us how to move from a kneeling position on the board to a standing position. Finally, those yoga classes were going to come in handy.

After just a couple of minutes, the boards were placed in the water and it was time for us both to give it a go. We were encouraged to start on our knees for a short time in order to get used to being on the board, then try standing when we felt more confident.

The water was warm-ish (being early June) and calm and there wasn’t a breath of wind. The conditions were ideal for a pair of beginners like us.

Like a duck to water, we were soon paddling like pros around the bay. On knees, staying balanced was as easy as it seemed. We spent a half hour exploring the waters near the shore, becoming more confident with every stroke.

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After a couple of attempts, I manage to stand up confidently
After a couple of attempts, I manage to stand up confidently
Jade also stands up on her stand up paddleboard
Jade also stands up on her stand up paddleboard

Standing up on a stand up paddleboard

Of course, standup paddleboarding can’t be standup paddleboarding without an element of standing. As fun as kneeling paddleboarding was, we couldn’t say we’d been ‘SUPing’ if we’d not stood and paddled.

I was the first to try standing. As you might expect, it’s quite tricky convincing yourself that standing on an inflatable board floating on the sea is a good idea. Generally, I actually have good balance. I could stand on one leg quite easily for minutes on end if I wanted to. That doesn’t quite prepare you though for this.

I was wobbly. Initially, I could only stand for a few seconds before I bottled it and jumped down to a kneeling position again. Once, I thought I’d nailed it, but the shallow waves underneath the board were enough to tip the board and send me straight into the sea. Jade was helpfully on hand to capture my dunking on video.

Cautiously paddling amidst the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic
Cautiously paddling amidst the crystal clear waters of the Adriatic

With some perseverance, I quickly got the hang of it and learnt to put my faith in the stability of the board. I found that the thing standing in the way was much more of a mental block than a physical block.

Jade too had success in standing up on the board and she too was soon able to paddle about whilst upright. Having mastered standing however, she quickly returned to kneeling and even sitting on the board and using it like a canoe/kayak. Why stand when it’s easier to sit, right?

Having both overcome our initial apprehensions, we ended our hour long session by thinking less about what we were doing and more about our surroundings.

Zadar is situated in a stunningly beautiful part of the world. The waters of the Adriatic along this stretch of coastline are really clear and it’s often easy to see the sea bed below. Along the horizon, we were able to see some of the many islands that dot the shore, each silhouetted by the setting sun. We both felt lucky to be where we were, finally doing something we’d wanted to try for a long time.

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K, bye: Jade paddles into the Adriatic & towards the islands
K, bye: Jade paddles into the Adriatic & towards the islands

Final thoughts on stand up paddleboarding in Zadar

We’re so pleased we finally gave stand up paddleboarding a try and that we did so in such a beautiful part of the world. If you’ve ever seen someone paddling along beside you and thought it looked fun, I would strongly encourage you to give it a try too. Stand up paddleboarding really is fun and easy and Zadar, Croatia is a fabulous place to do it.

If you get the urge to try SUPing whilst in the Croatian city of Zadar, get in touch with Rajko & Anna who will be more than happy to help you get started.

Find out more: See more information, prices and contact details on the ZadarSUP website.

Have you tried stand up paddleboarding or are you tempted to give it a try? Let us know in the comments below.

Zadar, Croatia: We Try Stand Up Paddleboarding in the Adriatic Sea

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