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 Santa Barbara > Activities > Santa Barbara Kayaking > Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara

Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara
117B Harbor Way
Santa Barbara, California 93109
(805) 899-4925 ext 301 (reservations)
(888) 254-2094 (toll free)

Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara is a full-service Kayak, Canoe, Outrigger & Water Sports Center Located in the Santa Barbara Harbor and on Santa Claus Lane in Carpinteria. They also rent Stand Up Paddle Boards from both locations. In addition to a broad spectrum of rentals, they provide Channel Island Tours and a variety of special tours and corporate events. Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara is committed to preserving our nation’s natural areas through partnership with the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethics, an organization that promotes responsible outdoor skills and ethics.

Since 1990 Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara has been world renown for our exceptional commitment to the sport of sea kayaking. Instruction is provided in new, state of the art boats where you will learn more in less time. Paddle Sports offers some of the best sea kayak instruction in California.

Island Trips
Since 1990, Paddle Sports has been leading kayaking explorations of the Channel Islands. They have taken more then 20,000 people from all over the world and of all ages on kayaking trips into the sea caves and along the steep cliffs of Santa Cruz and Anacapa Islands.

  • Santa Cruz Island. Famous for the number of sea caves in close proximity to Scorpion Anchorage. This is the most popular tour and great for beginners, families, and large groups. Ages: 5+, but recommended 12+
  • Anacapa Island. The island of illusion awaits more experienced paddlers. Paddle under the famous 40-foot tall Anacapa Arch and into the mysterious Cathedral Cove. Snorkel in the protected waters where you will see a marine environment that has been protected since 1980. Ages: 12+
  • Santa Barbara Island. Circumnavigate the 7 miles of coastline at this remote island and you will only want more. This trip is always an absolute pleasure to guide and we cannot say enough about how beautiful and mysterious this island is. Caves, arches, skylights in rocky outcroppings all wait for you on this paddle. You must be in good physical condition and willing to paddle 7-8 miles in 3 hours. Ages: 16+
  • Multi-Island Trip. This trip puts combines every unique aspect of the Channel Islands National Park. Kayak remote locations that you will not reach on any other trip, dive at every island we visit, and hike the two most remote islands in the Park. But the question really isn't why, but why not? Ages: 12+

Local Rentals
Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara, Inc. is a full-service kayak trip outfitter and retailer. 

Kayak Rental Rates
2 hours
4 hours
All Day
24 hours
Add A Day
***Reserve your kayak online and get 10% off your rental
Stand up paddling is a great time on the water. If you enjoy spending time getting wet along the coast, then you have to try this. Board shapers are creating plenty of options for you to choose from. We carry boards that are great for surfing and boards that you will enjoy day after day on short to long coastal cruises. This truly is a great form of core-strength training and an excellent alternative to traditional exercise regiments. If you haven't tried this yet, come on down and rent one from our friendly staff in the SB Harbor.  How hard is it to stand up? You may have more trouble if this is your first time on a surfboard. If you are a comfortable surfer then this will be a breeze and you will really get a kick out of it!
Stand Up Paddle Rental Rates 2 hour 4 hours All Day 24 hours Add A Day
Stand Up Paddle - Standard $40 $65 $100 $125 $100
Stand Up Paddle - Demo $50 $75 $110 $135 $110
***Reserve your SUP online and get 10% off your rental

A Kayaking Adventure

Kayaking in Santa Barbara is so quick and easy, you can almost do it during your lunch break!

Today's adventure began at Paddle Sports at the Santa Barbara Harbor.

We rented two double-seat kayaks. John & Victoria were in one kayak as the day's photographers, and Wendy & Katy lead the way.

Each double-seat kayak was rented for two hours. It was only 20 minutes between the time we arrived at and the moment we hit the water. We were even offered a quick kayaking lesson, demonstrating the correct way to use a paddle.

Today we decided to follow the popular route from the Santa Barbara Harbor to the Sea Lion buoy anchored just off of Stearns Wharf (see the map of our route below).

When kayaking you usually don't get completely soaked so a bathing suit isn't necessary, though wearing shorts is a good idea. You can also wear sandals or go barefoot. Bring your sunglasses, sun block and a small bottle of drinking water. A hat might be a good idea for those sensitive to the sun. Remember, when kayaking, you are getting double exposure from the sun - once from the sky and once from the water reflection. The rental service has a complete store with everything you need, so don't worry if you don't arrive completely prepared. Remember to put sun block on your FEET!

Our Kayaking Route

We started at the loading dock, paddled along the breakwater then headed straight out to the sea lion buoy. As you round the end of the sandy breakwater, and first catch sight of the buoy, the buoy looks *really* far out to sea. Don't worry, it is not as far as it appears. It only takes a few minutes to paddle to the sea lion buoy.

Just before we arrived to greet the sea lions, two tour boats swarmed our destination. One tour boat operator used his megaphone to warn us to keep our distance as he makes three passes around the sun tanning seals.

It is fun to watch the sea lions play "king of the hill". There is so little room available to rest on the overcrowded buoy, they are continually pushing each other into the water. The older sea lions in the middle are sound asleep while the pups on the perimeter are battling for just a moments rest.

Our next stop was to go along side, then underneath, Stearns Wharf. There is lots of room between the pilings below the wharf so passing through is safe and easy. We recommend not crossing near the end of the wharf so you avoid running into fishing lines from the fisherman above. Be sure to waive to the tourists watching your every move!

Soon we entered the harbor once again and kayaked along side Captain Don's Whale Watch boat near the entrance of the harbor. When kayaking at the Santa Barbara Channel Islands you have an opportunity to paddle into exciting ocean caves. In the harbor, however, the most popular, and only "cave" is the Channel Cat catamaran. We bravely paddled into the dark tunnel, letting out a requisite roar to fill the chamber with echoes.

Moments later we tied up to the dock where we started and returned our life vests to the kayaking service crew. Today's adventure was completed in just over an hour and a half. Paddling to the sea lions is a thoroughly enjoyable and uniquely-Santa Barbara experience.