At BOTE, it’s safe to say we consider cliches to be the nail in the coffin. At our core, we build things that stand apart. From the integrity and innovation we put into making our stand-up paddle boards to the passion and creativity we put into our daily lives, the BOTE lifestyle is all about authenticity. If someone or something doesn’t fit our core values they won’t last long.

The same core values can be applied to the #BOTEnation dating scene. Dinner and a movie is cool and all but, c’mon man, let’s have some fun. What do you expect to learn about your prospective or current companion sitting in a dark theater for two hours watching a rom-com starring Reese Witherspoon? She’s a majestic unicorn, sure, but you don’t need to watch her love story while you’re trying to figure out your own.

If you’re looking to change up your dating scene, consider getting on the water via paddle board and let the natural backdrop set the scene. Whether you’re going on a first date, you’re in an established relationship, or even celebrating a milestone anniversary together, paddle boarding is a great way to stir up interesting conversations you typically wouldn’t have. You get to use the varying elements of your excursion to guide your time together, not to mention, you get to see how adventurous your partner is. It’s a mind, body, and soul date, but not in a ‘too deep for a first date’ way, more like a, ‘Wow, I got to really know this person and I had a kickass time’ way.

Before you map out your ideal paddle board date, keep in mind your date might be a SUP novice or not in the mood to get their hair wet. There are some key things to remember to make sure you execute the perfect paddle-boarding date, especially if one or both of you have never paddle-boarded before.

Step 1 to inflate your inflatable sup
Step 2 to inflate your inflatable sup
Step 3 to inflate your inflatable sup

Keep it Simple

One of the rad things about paddle boarding is you can do it virtually anywhere. BOTE’s line of inflatable paddle boards go from easy-to-carry travel bags to fully inflated SUP boards in no time, allowing you to drive or hike to unique paddle destinations. But keep in mind, that a paddle board themed first date may not be the best time to hike two miles to the access point before starting the paddle board portion of the date.

Keep it simple by meeting in an easy-access area such as a low-density public beach blocked from larger waves or a flat body of water in a state park with a boat ramp. An easy launch pad is essential for getting on the board and explaining paddle board basics without toppling off the board in the first five minutes. The last thing you want is to coax your date to launch from a difficult or super-secluded spot, setting the tone for an unbalanced day ahead. Plus, you have an easy exit strategy if things aren’t vibing as you hoped.

Step 1 to inflate your inflatable sup
Step 2 to inflate your inflatable sup

Level Down

Your paddle board date should feel like a beginner-level paddle. This isn’t a time for you to perfect your stroke or beat your best speed, it’s a time for you to get to know your date and establish a baseline level of trust that they can stand up and move efficiently without looking like an idiot in the process. It’s not a good look if you’re 100 yards ahead of your date while they figure out where to place their feet.

Check the weather before heading out to be absolutely sure you’ll be paddling in calm waters. You can always divert from the beach to the bay, or a river to a slow creek, to ensure an easy ride for both of you. If you’re not sure which of your paddle boards to grab, the Flood Paddle Board is the perfect entry-level board for leisure paddling. It’s super stable and smooth, cutting through choppy waters if you happen to stumble across them.

Again, this isn’t a time to show off, it could intimate your date especially if they are new to paddling. Use this leisurely paddle-boarding date to get to know each other. Make your partner feel comfortable on their board. If they fall off the board, maybe you have a little stumble yourself (if you have the acting chops). All in the name of love, right? And if one or both of you are new to paddle boarding, you should check out our writeup on SUP Basics for Beginners.

On the other hand, if your date turns out to be a badass paddleboarder or all-around athlete, don’t be afraid to level up.

People hanging out on a BOTE Dock 10 Classic

Somewhere Scenic

Have you ever been on a dinner date and found yourself at a loss for words? You’re completely stuck, there’s nowhere to hide, and the waiter is nowhere to be found. It’s f&*%ing awkward. The good news is, that stand-up paddle boarding helps solve your mute tendencies if you have them. First off, it’s natural to have moments of peace and quiet while SUP paddle boarding. You’re supposed to stand back and take it all in, which also gives you time to collect your thoughts instead of filling every moment of silence with a dumb joke or play-by-play of your work day.

Whether you’re paddling along a pier packed with beautiful homes and boats, a quiet lake filled with jumping fish and lounging turtles, or a coastline sprinkled with dolphins, you won’t have trouble enjoying the setting and finding plenty to talk about.

Snacks, Y'all

After you’ve paddled for a bit, take a seat on your boards and use your paddles to connect the boards together by slipping them between the bungee straps if you have them. SUP paddling is like a sneaky workout, so you’re going to want to pack some snacks to share. We’re not talking chocolate-dipped strawberries and glass champagne flutes, this isn’t The Bachelor. Bring sensible snacks like granola bars, sandwiches, and plenty of water.

If you're looking to impress, bring a KULA cooler packed with ice-cold beer. The bucket-style cooler is the perfect addition to your board, working dual purpose as a cooler and a seat. Want to really wow your date? Our new MAGNEPOD™ drinkware line securely connects your beverage to the magnetic base on your board, so you can move around freely without tipping over your drink.

Woman pumping up an inflatable paddle board at the beach
Woman pumping up an inflatable paddle board at the beach

Go Tandem

If you’re way past the stage of vetting your date for crazy tendencies, consider a tandem kayak paddle as opposed to two stand-up paddle boards. Our newest inflatable kayak, the Zeppelin Aero Inflatable Kayak, is a recreational kayak that converts from single to tandem with the clip-in of an Aero Paddle Seat.

Especially great if your partner seems a little hesitant at first, tandem kayaking with the Zeppelin provides stability and comfort, keeping you high off the water with less of a chance of toppling over. It also makes conversation a lot easier since you’re just an earshot away from each other.

Actions speak louder than words, so why not use a date as a chance to give them a taste of one of your favorite activities? Even if the date happens your first and last--either because they actually do have a few screws loose or simply because they’re too nice to tell you paddle boarding isn’t their thing (and maybe dinner and a movie would have actually been a good plan)--you still win the day for getting out and doing what you love to do.

Shop the Journal

Zeppelin Aero 12′6″ Inflatable Kayak

Native Aqua



Flood 12′ Gatorshell Paddle Board

Full Trax Ochre