SUPer Tomales

Stand-up Paddleboard Tomales Bay

So you've heard all about stand-up paddleboarding and want some friendly waters to give a try? Hot Tomales—you're in luck! Go with the peaceful flow at Tomales Bay in Point Reyes National Seashore. The Tomales Bay water is not only warmer than the Pacific, it's also calmer, lapping onto land in gentle ripples. Your outfitter: Blue Waters Kayaking in Inverness. Arrive early in the morning when the water's at its calmest. After getting geared up, the learning curve is quick. Tip: Blue Waters also offers 3-hour intro to SUP classes led by their expert staff, for those who prefer a lesson first. Before you know it, you'll be gliding alongside harbor seals, bat rays, and leopard sharks as pelicans and osprey drop in and out of the scene too. This protected inlet makes for some smooth paddling and beautiful scenery. Tomales Bay Oyster Company sits across the bay, and the vistas of West Marin's rolling landscape add to the tranquil ambience. Keep an eye out for jellyfish: schools of them are known to make appearances under-board. Falling in isn't nearly as easy as you'd think, so stand up, relax, and stay awhile.

BONUS: A 20-minute drive around the bay afterward takes you to The Marshall Store for oyster eating in a scenic boatyard. Time your arrival around 3:00 or 4:00 p.m. and nab any leftover (unshucked) lunch rush oysters for $10 a dozen.

Blue Waters Kayaking SUP rentals are available at the Inverness site only, located at 12944 Sir Francis Drake Blvd. Rates are $25/hour, $75 for the day. 3-hour private lessons can be scheduled for $70. Rentals and lessons must be booked in advance by calling (415) 669-2600.

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