Stand Up Paddleboarding in Malibu

Earlier this month I got to try something for the first time that I’ve had my eye on for a long time… stand up paddleboarding! Doobie and I were invited to join friends at their beach house in Malibu. Sonny was off to an event with his dad so we seized the opportunity, especially given that it was supposed to be a beautiful summerlike day… in November!

And it was a gorgeous beach day. It felt like we were on vacation at some faraway vacation destination. We had clear blue skies, warm sun with temperatures in the 80s, no wind, a totally still ocean. We wore sun block and beach hats. It was the middle of fall and it was nothing like any beach day we had experienced during the summer when I was usually huddled under a towel trying to enjoy myself.

While the kids played, the moms had their own playdate. My friend had asked an instructor to come take us paddleboarding. She had only done it once herself and I was a total beginner. We donned wetsuits and he came with the boards. He gave us some quick tips and then pushed us off into the surf.

It didn’t take long until we were comfortably up on our feet. At first when I was out there, I wondered how long it would be fun to paddle just up and down the coast. Obviously, the scenery wouldn’t change much and wouldn’t we get bored by it?

I was proven wrong quickly. First, we paddled north along the coast. It was just us, the calm vast ocean to one side, and the beautiful hills on the other side. It was peaceful and meditative, which was dangerous because it was when I lost my focus that my balance would waver and I could easily end up in the ocean. After a little while we turned around and headed back. We paddled past the house, though, and continued towards some rocks surrounded by lots of kelp. Instead of gazing off towards the unending ocean and into the hills, I was now fascinated by what was underneath me.

Credit: Stan Shebs

In the kelp, I saw many schools of fish, some with small fish and some with fish a little bigger, and even a bright orange Garibaldi! I really felt like I was on a tropical vacation then, though it shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise since it is California’s state marine fish. When another paddleboarder told us he had spotted a shark, I was eager to see that as well (we were told it was a sand shark which are not dangerous to us), but no luck with that.

We got hot in our wetsuits. I actually had to jump in the water just to cool down. The water temperature was probably in the low to mid 60s, but it felt like the perfect temperature. Towards the end, I unzipped and took off the top part of the wetsuit. When we got back to shore, I even went back in the water to completely submerge myself. During our summer beach days, I had had absolutely no inclination or desire to go in the water like I did this day. My husband would have been impressed. He’s always interested in going in the water.


I think I was spoiled that day—gorgeous weather, totally calm waters, private beach. Future paddleboarding experiences will probably not happen in such perfect conditions. I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to try it and experience LA in this way. Loved that Doobie’s friend’s mom planned a mommy playdate, too.

6 thoughts on “Stand Up Paddleboarding in Malibu

  1. Sounds like a super fun and an exceptional day. I am so glad that the shark (even if it perhaps was a “friendly” type) stayed away. Perhaps you should bring a board to Norway next summer…..?

    • I think having a couple of boards in Norway is a great idea! Paddling around the island and along the coastline could be a lot of fun.

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