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  • Writer's pictureGear Hut

Where to start with Paddleboarding...

packed SUP for a day on the lake in Reno

Spring has officially arrived! And you know what that means – beach weather on Tahoe is just around the corner. If you're someone who revels in the chilly embrace of winter, the impending sweltering heat might have you feeling a bit apprehensive. If you haven't yet delved into the realm of water sports, stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) offers an excellent starting point.

We 100% get that embarking in a new sport can seem daunting. But fear not, we'll walk you through everything you need to get started, where to go, and some essential tips to keep in mind before hitting the water... or you can always swing by the shop and poke us with questions!

SUP to bonsai rock for sunset on lake tahoe

So, what exactly do I need to for my paddleboarding adventure based out of Reno, NV?

The beauty of paddleboarding lies in its simplicity – once you have the necessary gear, you're good to go whenever! Forget about pricey ski passes; with paddleboarding, all you need is the right equipment and a sense of adventure. There are tons of opportunities to launch for free in the Reno Tahoe area. We'll outline the basics to get you started, along with a few optional extras to enhance your experience.


  1. Paddleboard: Snagging the perfect paddleboard is key, and with demand soaring, it's wise to check out Gear Hut early for your pick of the lot. If you live in an apartment, have limited storage or a small car without roof rails, look into inflatable options! These are most popular and versatile for all around use.

  2. Paddle (look for ones that are adjustable in height!)

  3. Personal Flotation Device (PFD): Safety first! Even if you're a strong swimmer, a PFD is a must-have for any paddling excursion, especially on expansive waters like Lake Tahoe.

  4. Drybag: Keep your essentials safe and dry – no one wants a soggy phone ruining those Instagram-worthy moments!

  5. Water: Stay hydrated, folks!

  6. Snacks: Because let's face it, no outdoor adventure is complete without some tasty treats.


  1. Water shoes or sandals: Ideal for navigating rocky shores and ensuring a smooth entry and exit from the water.

  2. Sunscreen

  3. Sunglasses

  4. Hat

  5. Sunshirt: Shield yourself from the sun, rays can be extra strong on the water

  6. SUP rack: Streamline the transport of your paddleboard from home to water, though inflatable boards usually negate the need for a rack.

Where to paddleboard in the Reno/Lake Tahoe area?

  1. Lake Tahoe: A picturesque paradise offering multiple launch points such as Kings Beach, Sand Harbor, and Zephyr Cove. Arrive early to avoid crowds and make the most of your experience. OR, hit these spots in the late afternoon/evening!

  2. Boca Reservoir: A serene alternative to bustling Lake Tahoe, perfect for a tranquil paddle session, and it's a QUICK jaunt up 80 from Reno. If you only have 2-3 hours, Boca is still justifiable.

  3. Donner Lake: Breathtaking views of the Sierras coupled with refreshing waters – a paddleboarder's dream. Beat the summer rush by arriving early to secure parking.

  4. Sparks Marina: Short on time? The Marina in Sparks provides a convenient option for a quick paddle.

  5. Truckee River: Proceed with caution! While the Truckee River offers a dynamic paddling experience, it's best suited for those with some RIVER paddling experience. Research thoroughly and consider using an inflatable paddleboard for added stability.

paddle boarding on lake Tahoe SUP

Before you hit the water:

As with any outdoor activity, it's essential to check the weather forecast beforehand, especially for potential hazards like high winds or lightning. If it's your first time out, we recommend renting to see if Paddleboarding is "your thing"... at Tahoe, there are many opportunities to rent! We recommend trying out Paddleboarding at Sand Harbor where you can cruise to Bonsai Rock. Also to note: It's important to be aware of all regulations while out on the water. For example, on Tahoe, you should have a PFD, a whistle, and white light if paddling at dusk, dark or dawn. You should also prevent the spread of hitchhikers by ensuring your boat or SUP is clean! Read more about regulations HERE! And if you're on a budget, consider browsing used gear at Gear Hut – Reno's go-to destination for all things paddleboarding, kayaking, rafting and getting out on the water this season!

*Please note: GearHut is a consignment store, and inventory availability may vary. Give us a call or drop by our store to check stock!


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