Australia offers a diverse range of stand paddling locations.
Most SUP is conducted at coastal locations, with both flat waters and surf.
There is an abundance of inland lakes, lagoons and estuaries right near the coast on the eastern side of Australia, offering sheltered inland paddling conditions.
Inland Australia offers some stand up paddling opportunities but with only a few lakes and rivers. Also a few old quarry mines filled with water and old water reservoirs, now used for recreation.
Summer conditions are in place from about December to April. Queensland is warm all year round. In winter, the conditions are cooler, down to 12 C however, in the south, Tasmania and Victoria may be a lot cooler.
Water temperatures vary. But on average are around 18 C to 23 C . Northern Queensland can be 30 C. Whilst Tasmania in the far south can be between 13 and 15C throughout the year.
Paddling all year round is possible in Australia.
Most paddlers do not wear buoyancy aids.
Most locations in Australia prohibit night paddling. Activities can be conducted from dawn to dusk only.
It is not safe to paddle at night in coastal locations due to the unpredictable nature of Australia’s oceans. Inland waterways are frequented by boats, especially recreational fishing boats. The lights on SUP boards attract fish which can also attract sharks.
Some SUP Schools offer night paddling, if approved by the local government authority, and in very controlled and safe conditions.
Can be unpredictable, with freak waves and changing conditions. However, there are a lot of sheltered bays and locations that experienced paddlers would know where to find. Offshore winds can cause paddlers to be blown out to sea. Knowledge of wind conditions is essential.
Australia has a range of deadly marine creatures. There may be sharks in the ocean and rivers. Stingers, jellyfish and blue bottle bottles may be present at certain times of the year. It is recommended prior to paddling, to contact locals, local lifeguard or authorities to identify if there is any dangerous marine creatures nearby.
Are usually minimal. Far North Queensland is subject to tidal ranges.
Swimming designated areas
Many beaches in Australia have a lifeguard presence. SUP is not allowed in swimming areas and no closer than 100 metres from the swimming area boundaries.
Floods and Debris
Australia is prone to flooding at certain times of the year, due to high rainfalls and tropical storms. These are generally not places that people will be paddling, however the water flows out the rivers and low lying areas to the estuaries and oceans. Paddlers need to be aware of the fast moving water, debris and pollution.
Some legislation and regulations that apply to protecting our marine environments and wildlife that we encounter as stand up paddlers.
Each state in Australia also has it owns regulations.
Be mindful of the environment at all times. Stay away from native animals and do not cause damage to the local environment.
Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment
Interactions with protected species occur as a result of an unavoidable accident or incident. Under the EPBC Act you are legally required to report such interactions to the Department within seven days of the incident occurring, or you could face a fine.
Whales and Dolphins
The caution zone extends out 300 metres from a whale and 150 metres from a dolphin for SUP boards or a person: entering the water within 100 metres or a dolphin within 50 metres.
Fines apply: $689 on the spot fine, to court imposed penalties of up to $16,500, depending on the jurisdiction. More info
Australian Sea Lions
The Australian sea lion is one of seven sea lion species. They are the only carnivorous aquatic mammal endemic to Australian waters and are extremely rare. They are protected by the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. The penalty for disturbing sealions is up to $10,000. More info
There are 58 Marine Parks in Australia. They are a balance between protecting our marine environment and providing opportunities for the public to use these special places. More info
It is illegal to collect rocks, shells in marine parks. Other restrictions may apply including anchoring boats, bring dogs into the area. More info
NSW Protection of Native Creatures
All native birds, reptiles, amphibians and mammals (except the dingo) are protected in New South Wales. More info
There are sand dune preservation areas to restrict public access. Failure to comply could result in fines. Driving on most beaches is also not allowed.
Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)
Australia’s national weather service. Forecasts, temperatures, wind speed, direction, sunrise, sunset, warnings, and more.
Surf Reports / Forecasts
Environment Agency Australia - Improving stewardship and sustainable management of Australia’s environment.
Workplace Health and Safety
Safe Work (States) - Each state has its own safety standards
in relation duty of care.