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About Paddle Boarding [SUP] in Scotland

All you need to know about Paddle Boarding

Scotland and its wild places are there to be explored and experienced. With over 6000km of coastline, and thousands of lochs what better way to kick off your Scottish adventure than on a paddle board!

Read on Folks!

Paddle boarding, also known as Stand-up Paddleboarding or SUP, is an adventurous water activity that encompasses adventure, water sport, and human propelled travel into less accessible environments.

It originated in Hawaii, by surfers standing up on large surfboard with an outrigger canoe paddle. Though it’s popularity has skyrocketed over the past decade or two, primarily due to the quality of the more portable and storable equipment available today.

Having stemmed from Surfing, it has since branched into multiple other disciplines including, recreational paddling, racing, downwind, and touring.

Our Approach

Our approach to paddle boarding (SUP) lessons in Scotland is to ensure all clients leave with an extensive understanding of; paddle boarding fundamentals; an efficient technique; the ability to plan a paddle boarding adventure; and the knowledge to use new locations ethically with minimal environmental disturbance.

Our Paddle Boarding SUP Lessons in Scotland

Our typical paddle board lesson ratio is 1:6, one highly trained and experienced professional ASI paddle board Instructor with six clients, though an additional instructor is added as an assistant where necessary. This ratio is also amended for Corporate and Bespoke Adventures.

All of our instructors are ASI qualified. The Academy of Surfing Instructors set the world standard in surf and paddle boarding education. They are the  international governing body for instructors, coaches and schools in the outdoor recreation industry for surfing, stand up paddle and bodyboarding, and we are Ocean Vertical are proud to be an Accredited ASI School.

In addition to almost five hours of water time and practice, a client that has participated in our Level 1 and Level 2 SUP lessons will have received comprehensive guidance of;

  • all relevant SUP equipment – i.e paddle board, paddle, wetsuit and different PFD (Personal Floatation Device) options.
  • optimum stance and foot position to maximise stability on the paddle board.
  • most efficient paddle stroke techniques to minimise fatigue.
  • multiple turning stokes.
  • an active stance and trimming the paddle board for peak performance.
  • how to plan a paddle board SUP Adventure, including the weather forecasting apps we use.
  • how to choose a paddle board to purchase.

Our Level 3 and private paddle board lessons include expedition style adventures, involving sight seeing, wildlife spotting, and product testing – from our carbon paddles, inflatable PFD’s to our 12’6 Starboard Generation touring hard boards.

Highlighting Ethical Paddle Boarding Adventures in Scotland

At Ocean Vertical, a core value of ours is to teach and promote respect to the environment we adventure within. We believe a paddle boarding adventure on a stunning Scottish Loch or coastal bay means nothing if the surrounding wildlife is disturbed or distressed as a result.

We’ve made conscious decisions to retain small paddle boarding group sizes to minimise environmental impact which in turn enhances the experience our clients receive. In addition to aligning our guide and instructor training with ethical expertise gained from the WiSe Scheme. [The UK’s national training scheme for minimising disturbance to marine wildlife].

The Best Places To Go Paddle Boarding in Scotland

For a small country Scotland is a dream location for paddle boarding. It has over 6000 km of coastline and thousands of fresh water lochs. And with the Right To Roam land access laws you can access almost all of these incredibly beautiful and wild paddle boarding destinations. There really is a lifetime of paddle boarding adventures out there!

Ocean Vertical are based at Hedderwick Hill Stables by Dunbar on the rugged East Lothian coastline. Although we paddle board far and wide across Scotland, most of our paddle boarding lessons are within a few miles of our base.

The East Lothian coastline is simply beautiful, and incredibly wild considering its close proximity to Edinburgh and the Scottish central belt. Its also super easy to access from Edinburgh and you can find Our Base here.

Paddle boarding locations we frequently visit on the East Lothian coastline are:

And then of course we do downwind paddle boarding SUP tours, when we can travel from Gullane Beach to Dunbar or visa versa. On a summers day this has to be one of the best outdoor water activity adventures in Scotland!

We also take clients on Paddle Boarding SUP Island Tours. This is an incredible and unique way to experience some of the magical islands off the East Lothian coastline, and the beautiful bird and marine life that calls this coast home. Islands we visit are:

Now as most of you might know paddle boarding out on the open ocean when its windy and choppy becomes difficult, and can be dangerous unless you have the right experience and equipment.Thats why we have some very special inland fresh water lochs we use for paddle boarding in East Lothian.

These lochs are hidden away deep in the remote East Lothian countryside, and Ocean Vertical have the landowners permission to access them on a commercial basis by vehicle, with our clients and paddle boarding equipment. If you would like to know more about this please Contact Us any time! We are here to help, and share our passion for adventure in Scotlands wild places.

Paddle Boarding FAQs

Where can I get paddle boarding lessons near Edinburgh?

Edinburgh is surrounded by multiple paddle boarding locations – from beautiful East Lothian beaches to rivers, lochs and reservoirs.

For paddle boarding lessons, the closest professional ASI accredited paddle board school is Ocean Vertical in East Lothian.

Ocean Vertical are based at Hedderwick Hill Stables by Dunbar. This is about a 40 minute drive from Edinburgh, or you can get the train to Dunbar or North Berwick. Its a beautiful old re purposed Victorian stables building with plenty free coffee and wood burning stove.

Ocean Vertical offer three levels of paddle…

Is Paddle Boarding Safe?

Paddle boarding is an adventurous activity, that takes place in often wild locations and therefore comes with inherent risk. With correct knowledge, equipment and tuition these risks can be mitigated, and paddle boarding can be a completely safe adventure sport.

Firstly, if you’re totally new to paddle boarding or water sports – we’d recommend taking a lesson. The first lesson is the most important and will give the paddler the correct skills and knowledge to ensure they stay safe on the water. See more about our Paddle Boarding Lessons Here.

Before you head out on the water,…

What Is The Sea Temperature In Scotland For Paddle Boarding?

Our Base is a stones throw from Belhaven Bay near Dunbar, right where the North Sea meets the Estuary water of the Firth or Forth.

At Belhaven Bay the sea temperature differs as much as 12°C throughout the year. Having had all winter to cool down, the sea here is usually at it’s coolest in late February at around 4°C. Our warmest sea temperature is around 16°C in late August or early September, having had all summer sun to warm up.

What PFD / Buoyancy Aid is Best for Paddle Boarding?

There is no right or wrong Personal Floatation Device (PFD) for paddle boarding, just personal preference – as long as it’s a formally rated PFD.

The two most common types of PFD’s for paddle boarding are ‘Hard PFD’ or ‘Manual Inflatable PFD’.

Hard Personal Flotation Devices for Paddle Boarding

Hard refers to the generic foam vests that offer several advantages; including instant buoyancy once the paddler falls, and often several stash pockets for various items. The biggest draw back to hard PFD’s is their size, which adds an inch or two on top of the paddle boarders chest, and can…

What Should I Take Paddle Boarding in Scotland?

You will need yourself and perhaps some chums, with a taste for real adventure, and a love for the ocean and Scotland’s wild places. The equipment you should have whilst paddle boarding includes (as a minimum):

Leash (Ankle or Quick release waist leash depending on environment) Paddle Board with fin (correctly sized for intended discipline and paddler) Paddle (correctly sized for paddler) Wetsuit (correctly fitted) PFD (Rated for your body weight) Form of Communication (VHF Radio or Mobile phone in waterproof case Sunscreen/Sun hat/eye protection (yes even in Scotland) Try and go with some friends, and let someone else know…

What Size Paddle Board (SUP) Should I Buy?

Again, the size and shape of a paddle board is determined by the intended discipline. SUP sizes range between 8 – 14ft in length and 26 – 34 inches wide. Generally speaking, ‘all-rounder’ boards are a good middle ground, intended for a range of disciplines hence the name, and are around 32 inches wide and 10-11ft long.

Different dimensions offer both advantages and disadvantages to the board’s performance and therefore it is important you consider the type of paddling you wish to do before purchasing a board. For instance, for fast performance and straight tracking, a ‘touring’ or ‘race’ board…

Where Can I Paddle Board Near Edinburgh?

There are lots of fantastic paddle boarding locations around Edinburgh and East Lothian –  a mix between enclosed bodies of water and coastal bays and beaches.

Paddle Boarding on Lochs Near Edinburgh

At Ocean Vertical, we have access to two private lochs in the Lammermuir Hills which offer perfect sheltered flat water learning environments. Though, the beauty of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code within the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 is that responsible access to multiple reservoirs in the Pentland Regional Park and Lammermuir Hills is available as well as other inland bodies of…

How can I become a paddle board SUP Instructor?

Want to take your paddle boarding to the next level and become an Instructor?! Here at Ocean Vertical we are an ASI Instructor Training Centre and can help make that happen.

The first steps are getting as much water time and experience as you can, the prerequisite for the Level 1 ASI SUP Instructor course which enables instructors to teach on enclosed flat-water environments is 100 hours of paddle boarding. In addition to the Level 1 you will receive the ASI SUP Water Safety Rescue Award.

The progression from then is Level 2 for instructing on exposed…

What is the difference between surfing and paddle boarding?

Here at Ocean Vertical we have a passion for both surfing and paddle boarding.

Paddle boarding and surfing are both popular water sports that originated in Hawaii.

There are several key differences between these two activities:

Paddle boarding is an activity that involves standing or kneeling on a board and paddling with your hands, or a paddle to move through the water, while surfing is an activity that involves riding the waves on a surfboard.

Paddle boards are typically larger and wider than surfboards, making them more stable and easier to balance on. Surfboards, on the other hand, are designed…

Is paddle boarding easier than surfing?

Paddle boarding and surfing are both great water sports that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

But which one is easier? It really depends on your own personal preference and abilities. Paddle boarding is often seen as being easier than surfing because it does not require you to be as physically fit as surfing does.

When paddle boarding you either lie, kneel or stand on a board and use either your hands or a paddle to move through the water. Surfing, on the other hand, requires you to lie on a board and paddle with your feet to…

What should I take Paddle Boarding?

  • A love for outdoor adventure in Scotland

  • An interest and respect for marine and coastal wild life in Scotland

  • Swimming costume for under your wetsuit [provided by you]

  • Warm robust limestone based wetsuit [provided by us]

  • Warm wetsuit socks [provided by us]

  • An inflatable PFD buoyancy aid fitted around the waste [provided by us]

  • Wetsuit gloves if you get cold fingers [provided by us]

  • Paddle board fin and leash [provided by us]

  • High quality paddle board [provided by us]

  • Bright blue rash vest for high visibility [provided by us]

  • Transport to the paddle boarding venue from our base [provided by us]

  • Tea, coffee and chocolate biscuits by the stove when you return [provided by us]

  • Professional guide / guides [provided by us]

Read more about Paddle Boarding

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Paddle Boarding SUP in East Lothian

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Paddle boarding is special to us….

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There’s just something about it: clean, silent, natural. An allure that it just seems an inherently good thing to do. A good way to spend some of our precious time on this beautiful planet. And of course,…


Paddle Boarding Gallery

What people say about Paddle Boarding with us

Excellent paddle boarding instruction in East Lothian

I enjoyed a sunny and serene morning on the sea at Sea Cliff beach on a Level 2 SUP progression session with OV. I had some paddle boarding experience, mostly on inland water, and wanted to build my confidence paddling on the sea. The session was really well structured and took me through everything I needed to know from understanding the local wind and sea conditions to improving my paddling technique. We saw seals, puffins and gannets, all against the backdrop of Tantallon Castle and Bass Rock. I would highly recommend OV to anyone getting into SUP and looking to…

C Harper – Paddle Boarding Birthdays

I booked a group paddle board / SUP experience for my mums 60th in East Lothian. Stevie, Adrian and the team at Ocean Vertical went above and beyond to accommodate our group and made it such a memorable experience! Most of us had little to no experience and, due to the sea conditions being choppy, they customised our trip for a day that suited us and offered to take us to a beautiful secluded lake instead – we had such a blast and our instructors Molly and Kirsty were brilliant. Can’t recommend enough!

Calvin – Paddle Boarding and Coffee!

If you are looking for high standard, top of the line professionalism, smothered in quality time adventuring – look no further than Ocean Vertical in East Lothian!

Spent the entire weekend paddle boarding SUP, under the guidance of Stevie Boyle.
When we weren’t on the water, back at home base, Adrian welcomed us with great positive energy + coffee & HOMEMADE cookies.

Highly recommend a visit – even to stop by for a lounge and look around at the refurbished barn at Hedderwick Hill Stables they have for a base. The OceanVertical family are more than welcoming!

Cara – Paddle Boarding by Dunbar

Wonderful morning paddle boarding by Dunbar with the Ocean Vertical guys. Felt totally safe and their skill set is second to none. Will definitely be going on another of their outings. Highly recommend!

Debbie – Paddle Boarding Experience

Great morning paddle boarding with Ocean Vertical. Felt safe, was really informative and learned loads. Would recommend for anyone wanting to get into paddle boarding in East Lothian.

Dene – Evening Paddle Boarding

Brilliant first stand up paddle boarding – SUP lesson with Ocean Vertical tonight. Stevie’s a great instructor and had me balanced and paddling well in no time. It was a little choppy on the East Lothian coastline so we went to a long calm lake in a beautiful forest. Thanks Ocean Vertical!


Emily, Karen and Sam – Paddle Boarding – Dolphins!

Dolphins! We spent this morning out paddle boarding with Ocean Vertical off Seacliff Beach in East Lothian. It was just incredible – once in a lifetime – a pod of around 20 dolphins went right past us about 20 meters away! Just so incredibly privileged to see this. Cant recommend Ocean Vertical enough – the ethical adventure company!


Emma – SUP in East Lothian

With Ocean Vertical we knew immediately that we were in good hands. Stevie was an excellent and encouraging coach who had us standing, turning and well balanced pretty quickly. Not a wet wetsuit in sight.

Time slowed right down as we paddled down a long lake taking in the stunning views with plenty of encouragement from Adrian. If you are interested to give paddle boarding in East Lothian a try you won’t find better.

Emma – Wonderful SUP in East Lothian

With Ocean Vertical we knew immediately that we were in good hands. Stevie was an excellent and encouraging coach who had us standing, turning and well balanced pretty quickly. Not a wet wetsuit in sight.

Time slowed right down as we paddled down a long lake taking in the stunning views with plenty of encouragement from Adrian. If you are interested in paddle boarding in East Lothian give it a try, you won’t find better!

Euan – Paddle Boarding

Paddle Boarding Lessons – Well organised, focus on safety and really fun. We did paddle boarding and Sally was our instructor. Recommend this to anyone wanting a couple of hours trying something new in a beautiful coastal location. We will be going back upon our next return to East Lothian! Thank you Ocean Vertical.

About Ocean Vertical

OV - Supporting Adventures for Paddle Boarding

The Best Sustainable Outdoor Adventures in Scotland.

At Ocean Vertical we are in business to share our passions for real adventure in the wilds of Scotland. We see this as a great privilege, and also a great responsibility.

We feel a deep connection to wilderness and nature, and in turn a natural responsibility to protect these fragile environments. Our adventure groups are small, in both the mountains and ocean, and education plays a key role in all our activities.

It is our aim for clients to leave Ocean Vertical both inspired to experience further adventures, and also understand the fragile eco systems that underpin the wild places we love.

Adventure, Conservation, and Education in Scotland.

We regularly hold events at Our Base in East Lothian to promote positive environmental action, and invite likeminded individuals, groups, charities, and companies to participate. The more joined up we are, the more collective impact we can have.

Accessible adventure. We provide clients everything they need; that’s all equipment, transport, and professional guides. And at the end of the day, there’s a log burning stove, coffee [something stronger for the non-drivers] and cake back at our fabulous base:

Hedderwick Hill Stables, a repurposed Victorian stables building!

Welcome To Adventure


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