How to do a one-way paddleboarding trip

June 12, 2024

When planning a standup paddleboarding trip, there’s something really lovely about being able to travel from A to B, without needing to retrace your steps. Especially if you’re paddling on a river with a strong current or tide, it’s nice not to have to go back to your starting point.

Having done a few trips like this with friends, and realised that we’ve forgotten something important, I thought it would be useful to collate my tips for a one way paddleboarding or kayaking trip so that I’ll remember them next time.


You will need:

  • 2 cars
  • 2 paddle boards
  • 2 drivers
  • 1 river or canal

Plan your route

Decide on a start and finish. For finding launch points, I use the app and the Go paddling website.

Think about the current and the wind. If the river is tidal, check the tide times. Paddling against the tide or a strong current is hard work at best, and at worst it can be dangerous. By contrast, going with the flow can be a relaxing joy.

Load the cars

Decide which car you want to take to the upstream starting point, and which one to leave at the downstream finish.
I’d recommend using the older dirtier car for the downstream car, and put the back seats down so that you can put the boards in - you’re going to have to put the boards in it without their bags, so it’s best to avoid annoying partners by getting mud all over the back of the car.

What to put in the upstream car

Anything you need at the start, or want to take with you:

  • The boards and paddles
  • Pumps
  • Water shoes or sandals
  • suncream
  • Dry bags
  • Food and drink

What to put in the downstream car

Anything you will want at the end of the paddle:

  • Towels
  • Dry robes
  • A change of clothes
  • Shoes for the driver of the downstream car

Finish first

Drive both cars to the finish point. The driver of the downstream car should change into water shoes and leave their land shoes in their car.

Go and have a look at the river so that you’ll recognise where you need to get out. If you’re on a relatively fast flowing river, it can be very annoying to have to struggle back upstream if you miss your landing point at the end of a long paddle.

Start second

Make sure you’ve got everything you need for the paddle, and the keys to the downstream car, and drive the upstream car to the starting point.

Pump up the boards, get on the water, and enjoy your paddling.