Finland, uniquely situated between Russia and Sweden is a beautiful paddle boarding location. Being in the far northern reaches of Europe, you would expect a harsh, relentless environment all year round, on the contrary August can reach 30 degrees and from the top of the country to the bottom you will find diverse environments and conditions.
Southern and western Finland has a unique archipelago, with thousands of little islands making it an ideal area for safe paddling. This long stretch of Baltic coast does not have tides and surfing is not optimal, however some spots after heavy storms can have good surf. If you're lucky, you can find waves on the Finnish lakes: Päijänne, Saimaa, and Näsijärvi—
but the western, coastal town of Pori is known as Finland's surfing capital.
If you are after a simpler paddle, Finland has thousands of lakes, which are available for everyone and there is easy access to most of them.
There are also many rivers, mostly slow drafting ones, but also some heavy rivers. The best time to paddle rivers is spring time, when there is most water on them. Additionally, there are a few canals between the bigger lakes, but no substantial canal passages for SUP touring etc.
Between June and August, the best weather comes through and the temperature is usually between 15-20C, some days even up to 30C. In September, the temperature begins to drop to below 15C. The icy conditions accelerate in October and by December the temperature is typically below 0C, until April. Take note, the northern part of Finland is on average, 5-10C colder than the south.
Water temperature is at its highest from June to the end of August, ranging from 10C to 20C! September sends the water below 10C and the lakes and Baltic coastline begin to freeze in and around October. The ice only begins to melt during April and in Lapland (the north) even later. Surprisingly, the lakes are usually around 5C higher than the Baltic Sea.
The sport is still growing popular every day in Finland.
No restrictions for paddling at night.
It is recommended to have a light with you, if you are paddling along marked waterways.
There is heavy water traffic in summer time and notably all year round in and out of Helsinki harbour, which should be avoided. Other areas include the southern coastline and at some bigger lakes, like Päijänne and Saimaa.
Most rivers are safe, but some (especially in the northern part of Finland) have strong currents.
No tides in the Baltic Sea.
Other Water Users
Lots of water traffic specifically on the coast and at the bigger lakes.
Heavy ferry traffic from Helsinki, Kotka, Hanko, Vaasa and Oulu.
Wildlife / Marine Creatures
Nothing that would be dangerous, but lots of wildlife, birds and fish.
It is good to be aware of restrictions to enter islands during bird nesting times (e.g. spring and early summer).
River Levels and Flooding
Check the different channels before going out, but no real problems.
The Baltic Sea can be cold year round, so if doing a longer paddling trip, warm clothing, dry suit or wetsuit is recommended.
In the winter (September to April), definitely wear a wetsuit or dry suit. During the summer months (June to August) and when paddling close to shore, it is enough to wear a swim suit, shorts or similar.
Bird nesting season, some islands are not allowed to enter. More Info.
Military areas have restrictions.
No permits needed anywhere
You can paddle practically anywhere, see link below about the rights to paddle
Finland Environment Administration
River Levels and Flood Alerts
Finnish Meteorological Institute
Surf Reports / Forecasts
Rarely surf, as stated above
Finland Environment Administration
Workplace Health and Safety
The Centre for Occupational Safety