Squamish means ''Mother of wind''. But its not all kiteboarding and sailing in Squamish. This fast growing town on the Sea to Sky Highway, surrounded by stunning mountains with an abundance of wildlife, is fast becoming a paddleboarding hot spot for people from all over the globe.
There are many rivers around Squamish to explore with a paddleboard but for a first timer to Squamish we highly recommend the Squamish River which is the main tributary into the Howe Sound.
The best paddleboard launch site is to the right of the Watershed Bar & Grill. From this launch spot it's an easy going class 2 river with few obstacles. Higher up river becomes more dangerous and would not recommend with a paddle board. To access the launch, you walk along a gravel path for around 30m and to your left you will see a set of stairs down to a small beach. There is also free parking if you can snag a spot. We recommend doing this in the early morning before the wind gets too strong. This will allow you to paddle all the way out into the stunning Howe Sound and back around into the blind channel to Downtown Squamish.
On your way down the Squamish River you will pass through Brackendale Eagles Provincial Park which is one of North America’s largest congregations of wintering bald eagles. More info: http://www.exploresquamish.com/explore/eagle-viewing - it says ''wintering'' but eagle sightings in summer are very common. Keep your eyes peeled!
Once in the Howe Sound you will be greeted by the Chief and an amazing view of the snow capped Mount Garibaldi. The Howe Sound is home to many types of fish and crab and this brings with it other larger marine animals looking for fish. Seals are common place in the Howe Sound and the occasional pod of porpoise and dolphins. In years gone by there have been a few lucky sightings of Orca coming into the Sound hunting the seals.
Renting a paddleboard in Squamish is easy and cheap! Squamish Watersports Ltd has inflatable paddleboards to rent throughout the year. These inflatable paddleboards are a great tool to discover the area as they come in a backpack which easily fits in your car! Squamish Watersports also offers season rental passes and hourly passes which are available to purchase on their website: www.squamishwatersports.com