Ocean Vertical is an adventure company based in Scotland. We have a fairly simple philosophy: a deep respect for wilderness and the natural world, a love for silent sports with no motors involved and a passion for real adventures in the mountains and oceans.
We specialize in paddle boarding SUP, coasteering, surfing, climbing and mountaineering, 365 days a year. We are based in East Lothian, 25 miles east of Edinburgh. We have the most spectacular, wild and rugged coastline with miles of beaches; our locations for paddle boarding, coasteering and surfing. There’s great rock climbing too. And in the colder months we lead mountaineering adventures to the highlands of Scotland.
Wilderness is at the heart of everything we do. We recognize that a love for our beautiful wild places demands active participation in the fight to save them. All of our equipment is ethically sourced, reused and recycled. We support initiatives and activism that reach out to protect our beautiful wild landscapes and the wonderful creatures that inhabit them. Why wouldn’t you?
There are images and paintings of humans standing up paddling on rafts and floating platforms from thousands of years ago.
As the sport we know it has been around less than 15 years and is seen as one of the fastest growing sports on the planet. From a hand full of surfers, taking out large boards out in flat water it has exploded into a multiple disciplinary sport found all over the world.
The ease of movement and simple skill set makes it accessible for many people often put off by the complexity of other paddle and board sports: There’s the mystic of surfing without the steep learning curve! Paddle boarding is like walking on water giving a totally new perspective of your environment. It allows you to have a fantastic view across the water, and also see what’s going on underneath it.
We are an accredited Academy of Surfing Instructors paddle boarding school. www.academyofsurfing.com
The Academy of Surfing Instructors [ASI] is the world's leading training and professional membership organization and international governing body for instructors, coaches and schools in the outdoor recreation industry for surfing, stand up paddle and body boarding. We are currently working closely with the ASI in Australia to help create and develop further accredited centres across the UK to help promote a culture of water safety and hazard awareness to allow more people to enjoy the sport.
East Lothian’s coastline is perfect for SUP. A mixture of sheltered bays, open beaches and islands makes it a perfect location in both summer and winter. Yup we said winter. Our limestone-based wetsuit’s will keep you toasty year round.
We focus on by North Berwick, Seacliff Beach and Dunbar. Over years we’ve built up detailed knowledge of the ocean topography, water depths, tides and islands, all there to be discovered and explored. Many of these rocky outcrops were of course the playground of a young John Muir, before his American odyssey led him to found the National Parks system in America; the godfather of conservation. www.johnmuirtrust.org
We paddle and explore between North Berwick and historic Dunbar taking in spectacular locations and landmarks such as Seacliff Beach, Tantallon Castle and the worlds largest gannet colony, the awe inspiring Bass Rock and surf mecca Belhaven Bay. You will learn great technique and water safety from our professional guides and coaches. And if its choppy out there we can head inland to a 2km long Lake that sits in a beautiful secluded wooded valley in the East Lothian countryside.
For those with a little more experience there’s downwind coastal trips and short expeditions into the Scottish Highlands. An awesome local trip is to Fidra, one of the largest islands in the Firth of Forth and an RSPB nature reserve. There’s a 12th century chapel and the iconic lighthouse built in 1885. Fidra has been widely credited as the inspiration behind the Robert Louis Stephenson book Treasure Island. It's steep cliffs, caves and pebble beaches are a haven for costal and marine wildlife.
We often see dolphins and almost always bob in the water with seals. Puffins and gannets wiz over our heads, and the distant Bass Rock is a constant wherever we go. Closer up we see sea sponges, sea anemone, urchins and starfish hidden away in the micro world of the intertidal zone. Fidra is also one of the best places to see [lots!] of puffins as they visit East Lothian to nest in spring and summer. So it makes total sense that Fidra in Norse translates to “Feather Island”.
We also head up to the Highlands for long paddle board day trips and overnight adventures. Scotland is recognised internationally as one of the most beautiful countries on the planet. We are blessed with countless rivers and lochs in some of the most beautiful and wild country in the world; and it’s on our doorstep.
And why do we do it? For us paddle boarding is a silent journey, a mission into one of the last real wildernesses: We know more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean. We venture into inaccessible off shore territory under our own physical power; no motors or engines, no noise and pollution. Just us, the ocean and nature. It’s a journey few ever do, and it’s a privilege.
Of course travelling into this new world needs specialist equipment and new skills. Here’s what we kit our clients out with; a robust limestone based wetsuit and boots. We choose this for its warmth and environmental credentials over the more common petroleum based neoprene suits. Inflatable paddle board; these are light weight, tough, easy to manage and have great longevity so they wont need replacing every season wasting resources and creating unnecessary landfill. Leash – possibly one of the most important items of equipment. It’s your lifeline to 300L of compressed air. Sadly most paddle boarding accidents and fatalities around the world are from folks not wearing a leash. And of course the adjustable paddle and buoyancy aid. We use Tiki for most of our equipment. Great firm who know and love what they do and make. www.tikisurf.co.uk
We keep our client groups small, no more than 6, for a more engaging and personal experience. Through local knowledge and experience we choose our locations carefully and can respond on the day to the weather and tides. We are also constantly aware of respecting wildlife, such as nesting birds and seals with young pups. Its their home, we are just guests.
We are always conservation and education minded; the ocean produces over 50% of the planets oxygen, and the more we know about it, the more we can protect it.
If you fancy an adventure paddle boarding in East Lothian or further afield get in touch with us. We make adventure happen across Scotland.
“We were out paddle boarding with Ocean Vertical on a balmy summer evening off Seacliff Beach. We were looking out to the Bass Rock when a pod of dolphins appeared in the distance, it almost made me cry! ”
Louise | Edinburgh