Paddle Boarding Gibraltar

East Coast Gibraltar sea caves. | Photo: Fabian Torrilla East Coast Gibraltar sea caves. | Photo: Fabian Torrilla

Stand-up paddle boarding (SUP) is a relatively new water sport that has taken the world by storm and Gibraltar is no exception. With its stunning scenery, calm waters, access to multiple beaches and abundance of marine life; Gibraltar is a perfect place to try SUP for the first time or to improve your skills.

One of the best things about SUP in Gibraltar is that it is a great way to see the sights from a different perspective. You can paddle around the Rock of Gibraltar, past historical landmarks like the Gorham’s Cave UNESCO world heritage site and get up close to the marine life. More often than not you might encounter some playful dolphins, breaching tuna as well as ample indigenous and migratory birds.

The beaches are generally very accessible with buses running every 15 minutes or so. If driving, parking is generally available nearby, however it is best to head off early to catch the beautiful sunrise and ensure you get a parking spot.

Sea Caves Catalan Bay Sunrise Launch on a Clam Day
Marine Birds Flying Close Curious Dolphin Saying Hello

Photos courtesy: Fabian Torrilla

Seasons for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Gibraltar

Gibraltar enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. This means that you can go SUP year-round, although the best conditions are generally found from spring to autumn.

  • In the spring (March-May), the weather starts to warm up and the water becomes more inviting. The winds are also generally lighter at this time of year, making it ideal for paddling.
  • Summer (June-August) is the peak season for beachgoers in Gibraltar. The weather is hot and sunny, and the water is crystal clear. However, it can also get quite crowded on the water with motorized pleasure craft, so best to paddle out in the early hours for a sunrise or in the evening for a sunset SUP to avoid the crowds.
  • Autumn (September-November) is a season that offers some of the best conditions for SUP. The bathing season is officially over but the weather is still warm and sunny. The winds can start to pick up a bit at this time of year, so be sure to check the forecast before you head out and avoid the, at times, strong levanter winds.
  • Winter (December-February) is the quietest time for SUP in Gibraltar. The weather can be unpredictable, with occasional rain and strong winds. However, if you're willing to brave the elements, you can still enjoy some great paddling on the days when the sun is out.

south sandy bay gibraltar photo stuart holmesSouth of Sandy Bay in Gibraltar. | Photo courtesy: Stuart Holmes, Supconnect Photo Contest 2023

Hot Spots for Stand-Up Paddle Boarding in Gibraltar

There are many great places to go SUP in Gibraltar, and all are within a short drive/walk of each other, you can also paddle from one spot to the next:

  1. Sandy Bay: This is a sheltered bay that is perfect for beginners. The water is calm and shallow, and there are no strong currents.
  2. Eastern Beach: This is a popular beach that is also good for SUP surfing outside of the official bathing season. The little kiosk on the promenade makes great coffee! Hang around near the runway, to catch a view from the water of an incoming flight.
  3. Catalan Bay: This is a beautiful historical Genoese fishing village known to the locals as La Caleta. You can find excellent seafood at the local restaurant. The waves can be bigger here and there can be currents, so be sure to check the conditions before you head out.
  4. The Marina: The marina is a great place to paddle around and see the boats. You can depart from Western Beach and paddle round the western end of the runway to the marina. There are also a few cafes and restaurants here where you can stop for a bite to eat or a drink after your paddle.
  5. The Rock of Gibraltar: If you're feeling adventurous, you can paddle around the Rock of Gibraltar. This is a more challenging paddle, as there are strong currents from the straits, but the views are amazing and you can see Africa in the distance.

straights of gibraltar photo alex trinidadStraits of Gibraltar. | Photo courtesy: Alex Trinidad, Supconnect Photo Contest 2023

Catching a Wave at Eastern Beach catalan bay surf photo alex trinidad

SUP surfing at Eastern Beach (left) and Catalan Bay (right). | Photos courtesy: Fabian Torrilla / Alex Trinidad

The Marina Photo Credit Alex TrinidadGibraltar sea caves. | Photo courtesy: Alex Trinidad

Stand-Up Paddle Boarders in Gibraltar

The SUP community in Gibraltar is small but friendly. A group of like minded individuals who share a passion for the sport. On Facebook, Stand Up Paddle Boarding in Gibraltar is the local forum, a place to share pictures, arrange meetups and reach out to the local paddlers for advice.

Fabian, Alex and Charles are three friends who often paddle together along Gibraltar’s Eastern Coastline. They often navigate the turquoise waters, whether it’s a leisurely tour exploring the sea caves and chasing dolphins, downwinding or catching waves at Catalan Bay and Eastern Beach. These three amigos are one with the ocean so reach out to them on social media for any advice.

There is one SUP school on the beach at Sandy Bay called in2adventures. They provide guided SUP safaris, board rentals and more. This is a great way to learn the basics and get some tips from experienced paddlers. And, of course, it's always more fun to paddle with others! Reach out to their crew Tom and Jimmy.

Supability can also be found near the SUP hut on Sandy Bay, they are a non-profit organization which aims to offer SUP and surf experiences for people of all ages, genders, diverse cognitive and physical abilities, neurodiversity and recipients of mental health services.

gibraltar photo stuart holmes

Paddling in Gibraltar is a year-round activity. | Photo courtesy: Stuart Holmes, Supconnect Photo Contest 2023

Here’s a taste of what stand-up paddle boarding in Gibraltar is all about. If you're looking for a fun and unique way to explore this beautiful part of the world, it is highly recommended giving it a try!

For more SUP destinations, click HERE.

Last modified onWednesday, 31 January 2024 17:20
Fabian Torrilla

Family man, with a passion for all things nature be it on land or sea. Started SUPing in 2016 when my wife gifted me a paddle board for Father’s Day. Paddle boarding has helped me immensely with my mental health and confidence, and I consider this sport to be just as good for mind as it is for the body. Caught my first wave sup surfing in June 2022 and now am hooked! Can’t get enough.

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