Stand Up Paddle in Venice. Tale and photos of an extraordinary trip

Articles - 07-01-2019

Stand up paddle (SUP) is a wonderful way to explore a city from its waterways. We, paddlers, have the privilege of having a different perspective from the average tourist. Being able to do stand up paddle in Venice, in the heart of the city, to explore its treasures, is a unique experience. That’s why we created, together with our ambassadors Ludovic and Jérémy Teulade, the web video series “SUPin ‘the cities”. An urban exploration mixing stand up paddle and local discoveries. After the success of the first movie “SUPin New York” last year, we were looking for a new destination for the filming of our second episode …

 

 

Venice : ideal destination for SUP ?

 

 

The choice was obvious. Where else but Venice to offer us a grandiose and authentic setting from its waterways? The small Italian city is full of charm and the number one way to get around is by boat. There are no cars, buses or bikes. The inhabitants don’t walk, they float. It seems the perfect city! However, after some internet research, we found very little information on stand-up paddling in Venice and very few videos on Youtube either.

 

Indeed, the restrictions seemed complicated and we started to wonder if we could actually do SUP in Venice. After some exchanges with locals like Ovidio, an Italian SUP reporter, and Eliana, the manager of the only SUP club in Venice, we found that the regulations are quite strict. Stand-up paddling on the Canal Grande (the largest canal in the city) is allowed only after 15:00. A strange rule since navigation wouldn’t be quieter at this time, quite the contrary. Between the taxis, gondolas, private boats and public transport, the Canal Grande looks like the A7 motorway in the middle of August… It is also impossible to find SUP rentals in Venice, making it rarely practiced.

 

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

 

For those who know the Teulade brothers, you can imagine it would take a lot more to discourage them. We’re talking about guys who cut up one of their boards at the airport in order for it to fit on the plane … Air Tahiti Nui certainly got a good laugh out of the Teulade brothers! In fact, we laugh a lot. It is probably for this exact reason that Agathe Rodier, new OXBOW ambassador, senses this will be a good trip and decides to join them. Frederico Benettolo, Italian OXBOW rider, also joins in the adventure and gives us his advice as a local. Our four riders are ready to explore Venice by stand up paddle!

 

 

SUPin’ Venice

 

 

For all day cruising we chose to go with five boards: Glide 12’6 x 29, Glide 12’6 x 27, Play 10’6 Bamboo and two inflatables, Play Air 10’6 and Explore Air 12’6. A complete set that will allow us to explore every corner of the city and its neighboring islands.

 

We start by paddling on the Canal Grande. It’s 7am and the sea traffic is relatively calm. After a few paddles near the Rialto Bridge, Jérémy and Ludovic quickly find themselves at the Polizia di Venezia … A quick reminder, only 30 minutes into the trip, we decide to go explore the city on the small canals. A good option since we are now alone. We then discover its architectural heritage and quickly understand why Venice is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

 

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

 

We get lost on these canals and every turn is an opportunity to marvel at these new waterways that open up to us. Children use the roads to get to school and the sight of these paddleers garners a lot of reactions. A housekeeper sets down her cart, gets closer to the bank and takes the time to observe our team. Her broad smile contrasting with her surprised eyes at witnessing such a show. No more frenzy on the main canal, the place is calm and time is suspended.

 

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

 

To visit a country or a city is also to discover its food. Venice is filled with restaurants to enjoy great pizzas and pastas. We dines in a typical Trattoria where Jeremy and Ludovic raid the kitchen’s fridges.

 

 

Exploring Burano Island

 

 

Venice is surrounded by small islands, each one more beautiful than the last. Located 10 minutes away by Vaporetto, the island of Murano is known for its glassblowers. Further, 40 minutes by boat from Venice, stands the island of Burano, known for its colorful houses. A small fishing village, Burano was built by merchants who wanted to take refuge from barbarian invasions. In order to be able to recognize their homes even in times of fog, fishermen’s wives painted the walls with bright colors.

 

Towards the latter, we decided to continue our trip. We took line 12 from Fondamente Nove towards Burano. We took two inflatable stand up paddle boards with us, conveniently stored in their carrying bags, to put on the Vaporetto. An option we did not regret as the SUP riding in Burano is amazing!

 

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

 

We took the boat at 6:10 (schedules are available here) and we arrived a little before 7am and first light. The island was almost deserted and the empty canals ours to explore! From 10am Burano is invaded by tourists who storm the streets until 18:00. Getting there before 10am and after 6pm are the best options to enjoy a peaceful SUP ride.

 

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

SUP, Venice, sup in venice, sup venice, oxbow, oxbow sup, stand up padlle, oxbow stand up paddle

 

 

Venice is an incredible destination for stand-up paddling. For a weekend or even for a longer stay, you can have an amazing time on the water and off. The reception can sometimes seem cold on the water (the busy maritime traffic can be stressful for our gondoliers friends) but if you paddle out of Canal Grande, you will be alone in the world in one of the most beautiful cities in Europe!

 

Check out the OXBOW Stand Up Paddle collection and the Oxbow SUP board range !

 

 

 

This is SUPin’ Venice : 

 

 

 

 

// Pictures credits : Thomas Lodin //

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