Wake-up SUP! Free Thursday-morning group SUP paddle on Casco Bay

++ Get out (but, like, not too far). We all love and appreciate the positive effects of the Maine outdoors. Hopefully we’ll be back to all kinds of adventuring soon. But for now, press pause. The Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry has some great advice: stay close to home, steer clear of busy locations, keep your distance (and stick to walking/hiking with folks from your household). ++

Wake-up SUP! Free Thursday-morning group SUP paddle on Casco Bay

If you’ve wanted to learn how to stand-up paddleboard (SUP), the good people of Portland Paddle can help with a lesson.

If you’re already an experienced paddleboarder looking to meet fellow SUPers and have an excuse to get on the water early every week, well, Portland Paddle can help with that, too.

Paddleboard on car looking out at Casco Bay
Bring your own board to the weekly SUP paddle every Thursday on Casco Bay. If you don’t have a board, you can rent for $15. Shannon Bryan photo

Portland Paddle is again hosting free weekly early morning SUP paddles. Weekly early morning SUP paddles start June 6 and will continue all summer, from 7-8:30 a.m. every Thursday. Portland Paddle staff will lead the group, but it’s worth noting that this isn’t a guided trip, so everyone is responsible for their own safety. That said, Portland Paddle staff are experienced and welcoming paddlers who will certainly share their expertise out on the water. These group paddles will let you meet new people AND glean pointers, so you can become a better paddler.

[If you prefer to/also kayak, check out the Tuesday-evening sea kayak skills sessions taking place every Tuesday 5:30-7 p.m.]

Portland Paddle SUP instructor Matt Palmariello
Portland Paddle SUP instructor Matt Palmariello, who led the morning paddles last year. Shannon Bryan photo

Even neater, these group paddles are free if you have your own board. If you need a board, you can rent one from Portland Paddle for $15 (that’s $10 off the usual rate). Why is Portland Paddle offering free paddles early every Thursday morning? They just wants to see more people on the water. That’s it.

Heading down to the water for an early-morning paddle. Shannon Bryan photo

Paddles start from the Portland Paddle location near the East End Beach parking lot and boat launch (at the bottom of the hill – look for the sandwich board and the racks filled with kayaks). The destination will be decided each week based on the conditions and the group itself, and paddles will last about an hour.

Paddleboarding off Portland's East End
Paddling off Portland’s East End. Shannon Bryan photo
Morning paddlers
Morning paddlers. Shannon Bryan photo
Paddleboarders on the water
Shannon Bryan photo
Shannon Bryan photo
Paddleboarding group in Casco Bay led by Portland Paddle SUP instructor Matt Palmariello. Shannon Bryan photo
Ring around the buoy! Shannon Bryan photo

So grab your paddleboard (don’t forget the all-important PFD), set your alarm if you need to, and hit the water every Thursday.

Portland Paddle
The Portland Paddle shipping container (although it’s staying right there all summer) down by the East End Beach parking lot and boat launch. Shannon Bryan photo
Paddleboarding Portland Maine
Early risers and paddleboarders. Shannon Bryan photo

Free weekly early morning SUP paddle

7-8:30 a.m. Thursdays, starting June 6
Meet at Portland Paddle, down by the East End Beach parking lot and boat launch
Free if you bring your own board, or rent one from Portland Paddle for $15.
FMI: and

Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan

I don't like "exercise" any more than you do. But you know what I do like? Paddleboarding with a friend all afternoon (and then sitting in the grass to drink chardonnay). Bike rides and nachos, hikes, yoga classes held in breweries, group paddles to Fort Gorges, you get the idea. Because Maine is my gym.