Stand-Up Paddleboarding: What to Know Before You Go

According to a report conducted by the Outdoor Recreation Association, stand-up paddleboarding was the outdoor activity with the most first-time participants in the United States in 2013. If you take a look at the waters of Door County on any summer weekend, you’ll notice that its popularity doesn’t seem to have dwindled much since then. 

Accessible, versatile and – except in the event of a surprise wave – relatively dry, a stand-up paddleboard (SUP) is the perfect vessel with which to explore Door County’s many waterways and coastal features. 

SUPs are available to rent at multiple locations around the county, including Lakeshore Adventures in Baileys Harbor. Before you embark on your own SUP adventure, Todd Haleen, owner of Lakeshore Adventures, has some safety tips and other suggestions to share with Pulse readers. 

• Check the weather and the wind direction. If the wind is blowing away from shore, be extremely cautious about how far out you paddle. Generally, the farther you go into open water, the harder it is to get back to shore, so the ideal wind direction is blowing toward the shore. 

• Take a cell phone in case you get into trouble. Put it in a zipped pocket, or, if you’re not a confident SUPer quite yet, pop it in a waterproof bag. 

• Wear a life jacket. The law requires that you have a life jacket aboard a SUP.

• Check the water temperature. This advice is most relevant in the springtime, when the water is still cold. If the water is dangerously cold, delay your excursion.

• Explore local features. One of Haleen’s favorite places to SUP is Moonlight Bay because of the diversity of the surrounding landscape. You can launch at the mouth of Rieboldt Creek and paddle up into Moonlight Bay, or you can paddle down Rieboldt Creek into Mud Lake. 

Another one of Haleen’s favorite spots is Garrett Bay. You can launch right into the bay, and, if there are south or southeastern winds, you’ll find that it’s an easy paddle along the Door Bluff Headlands. Plus, if it’s a clear day, you can glide right over the wreck of the Fleetwing schooner.  

To find out about SUP rentals, kayak rentals and tours, visit Lakeshore Adventures at