Skip to content
Paddling along the Poughkeepsie shoreline. (Photo: Tyler Blodgett)

How to Stand-Up Paddleboard Safely Along the Hudson

by Diana Richards
Share:

The activity that most perfectly combines adventure and tranquility just might be stand-up paddleboarding on the magnificent Hudson River. Paddleboarding, also known as SUP, allows you to connect with nature, soak in stunning views, and embrace the serenity of the water. But a busy intertidal estuary like the Hudson can be intimidating for paddlers — something I know well as an enthusiastic SUP-owning local. Here’s everything I’ve learned about how to paddle safely in the stunning Hudson Valley.

Paddling along the Kingston shoreline. (Photo: Tyler Blodgett)

Stay Safe and Choose the Right Equipment

Before you dive in and become a SUP owner extraordinaire, why not give renting a go first? It’s like test-driving your dream board to find the perfect match for your style. Here are two places you can start:

Paddling safely — with life jackets and a buddy, sitting down when needed. (Photo: Hudson Valley Water Sports)

Don’t forget to wear a personal flotation device and keep a whistle handy. Also, wear a leash to keep your board within reach if you fall off. I have an inflatable SUP, so I also always bring a nifty repair kit with patches. You never know when a tiny puncture might try to rain on your parade. A dry bag and a carabiner are ideal for carrying your keys, phone, water, and sunscreen. Just stash that dry bag under the cargo bungees on your board, clip it securely with a cord, and you’re set. And don’t forget to pack that trusty paddle! 

Select the Ideal Launch Spot

If you feel any apprehension about starting on the Hudson, Croton Point Park offers an excellent starting point. This park’s secluded cove provides a peaceful and tranquil environment with gentler waters, making it ideal for beginners. The calm waters of Constitution Marsh provide another great spot for beginners, and access into Constitution Marsh from the Hudson River is available from Foundry Dock Park in Cold Spring. Other popular launch spots include Kingston Point Beach and the Beacon waterfront. It’s all about finding the one that matches your skill level and floats your paddleboarding boat.

Taking a dog out in the afternoon sunshine. (Photo: Nicole Glasser / @thepaddlingpta)

Be Mindful of the River’s Current and Tide Stages

Did you know that the Hudson River is a cool mix of saltwater and freshwater? That’s right, it’s an estuary, and it flows in different directions at different times. For a newbie paddler, it’s extra-important to keep an eye on the current’s strength and which way it’s flowing when planning your route.

Tide stages can be secret allies or worst enemies on this aquatic quest. For instance, you cannot enter Constitution Marsh during or near low tide. Before embarking on your paddleboarding journey, always make sure to check the weather conditions and tide stages. The wind can be another game-changer when it comes to the water current’s difficulty. Share your SUP plans with a trusted land-dweller who can be a lifeline in case of any unforeseen twists and turns. 

Bringing a board in for the day at sunset. (Photo: Tyler Blodgett)

Respect the Environment

Show love and respect to the amazing ecosystems that call the Hudson River home. Avoid disturbing wildlife, paddle at a responsible speed, and never litter. Leave only ripples of happiness behind. 

Diana Richards is a Hudson Valley-based landscape photographer, educator, and dog mama. She has volunteered with Gear Forward to help provide equitable outdoor access for underserved youth, as well as assisted the New York-New Jersey Trail Conference with trail-building. She recently became education lead for the Fungi Foundation. 

Related Content

Editors' Picks

Climate Solutions
How to Get in on the Refillability Game
Land + Air + Water
Restoring Resilience to Mawignack Preserve
Land + Air + Water
Can Hops Make a Comeback in New York?
A close view of a hop growing on a vine. Behind it is a red barn.
Land + Air + Water
Protecting Forests by Managing the Exploding Deer Population
Climate Solutions
Floatovoltaics Makes Waves Approaching the Valley

Search Viewfinder:

Hudson Valley Viewfinder is a collaborative, community digital magazine sharing what inspires us about the beautiful Hudson Valley. We publish original stories and multimedia content about all things sustainable in the region along the Hudson River — including agriculture, science, wildlife, outdoor recreation, green transportation, environmental justice, and more.

Our mission is to immerse you in the storied history, fresh happenings, and coming solutions for making the Hudson Valley greener and more livable long-term.

Viewfinder is published by Scenic Hudson, the celebrated nonprofit credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement in 1963. With over 25,000 passionate supporters, Scenic Hudson’s mission is to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Viewfinder supports that mission, because the better people understand what makes this place special, the more they will invest in protecting it. 

Keep up with the latest stories by subscribing to Scenic Hudson’s monthly digital newsletter, and connect with us on social via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads.

Our mission is to immerse you in the storied history, fresh happenings, and coming solutions for making the Hudson Valley greener and more livable long-term.

Viewfinder is published by Scenic Hudson, the celebrated nonprofit credited with launching the modern grassroots environmental movement in 1963. With over 25,000 passionate supporters, Scenic Hudson’s mission is to sustain and enhance the Hudson Valley’s inspirational beauty and health for generations to come. Viewfinder supports that mission, because the better people understand what makes this place special, the more they will invest in protecting it. 

Keep up with the latest stories by subscribing to Scenic Hudson’s monthly digital newsletter, and connect with us on social via Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Threads.

Lynn Freehill-Maye
Managing Editor
editorial@scenichudson.org 

Riley Johndonnell
Director Creative Strategies & Communications
rjohndonnell@scenichudson.org

Lynn Freehill-Maye
Managing Editor
editorial@scenichudson.org 

Riley Johndonnell
Director Creative Strategies & Communications
rjohndonnell@scenichudson.org

We’re always looking for ideas around our main topic areas of Climate Solutions, Land + Air + Water, Plants + Animals, History + Culture, Outdoors, and Community.
  • Journalists and writers who have deep familiarity with New York and the Hudson Valley, we’d love to have you contribute! Please do introduce yourself by email, sharing writing samples and any relevant pitches you may have.
  • Photographers and videographers, we’d love to hear from you and see what you do. Please send along a portfolio with images or footage that showcases your best and/or most relevant work, with an emphasis on anything captured outdoors. 
  • Illustrators, we commission artwork on the regular. Drop us a note with some of the beauty you’ve created.
  • Media Partners & Social Media Influencers, we welcome opportunities to team up on series and campaigns. Reach out with any background about yourselves and your ideas.
We’re always looking for ideas around our main topic areas of Climate Solutions, Land + Air + Water, Plants + Animals, History + Culture, Outdoors, and Community.
  • Journalists and writers who have deep familiarity with New York and the Hudson Valley, we’d love to have you contribute! Please do introduce yourself by email, sharing writing samples and any relevant pitches you may have.
  • Photographers and videographers, we’d love to hear from you and see what you do. Please send along a portfolio with images or footage that showcases your best and/or most relevant work, with an emphasis on anything captured outdoors. 
  • Illustrators, we commission artwork on the regular. Drop us a note with some of the beauty you’ve created.
  • Media Partners & Social Media Influencers, we welcome opportunities to team up on series and campaigns. Reach out with any background about yourselves and your ideas.
  • We love to collaborate with media outlets, especially on episodic series (like these) of interest to our shared audiences. Past collaborations have included radio interviews, panel discussions and other events, original artwork, and e-blasts, all furthering the campaign’s excitement and reach. 
  • We also love to partner with other organizations whose missions align with Scenic Hudson’s. Feel free to reach out with some background on your group and its work.
  • Writers, photographers, and creatives, if you have an idea for a series or content campaign that might be a good fit, drop us a line!

Businesses, please note that as a nonprofit, Scenic Hudson is restricted from advertising or promoting for-profit companies, through Viewfinder or other outlets. While we understand content managers may wish to alert us to your company’s role in a relevant topic, we are unable to add links to businesses to our stories.

  • We love to collaborate with media outlets, especially on episodic series (like these) of interest to our shared audiences. Past collaborations have included radio interviews, panel discussions and other events, original artwork, and e-blasts, all furthering the campaign’s excitement and reach. 
  • We also love to partner with other organizations whose missions align with Scenic Hudson’s. Feel free to reach out with some background on your group and its work.
  • Writers, photographers, and creatives, if you have an idea for a series or content campaign that might be a good fit, drop us a line!

Businesses, please note that as a nonprofit, Scenic Hudson is restricted from advertising or promoting for-profit companies, through Viewfinder or other outlets. While we understand content managers may wish to alert us to your company’s role in a relevant topic, we are unable to add links to businesses to our stories.

Subscribe!

Get the latest articles delivered right to your inbox  — for FREE!