Squamish/Howe Sound Paddle


I went for a socially-distanced group paddle in Squamish over the weekend. The weather was fantastic: sunny but not too hot, and best of all, almost no wind in the morning! This is apparently rare in Squamish, which is known for being one of the windiest places in the region for wind sports on the water.

The water was just short of glassy calm when we launched around 10am.

We launched from Newport Beach, which was more of an industrial area than a park. It’s at the end of a gravel road with lots of potholes. At first I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to be driving on this road or if I was trespassing a worksite. There is a large parking area at the end and several beaches where I could launch my paddleboard. I’m glad to learn that they have a master plan to transform this area into a multi-use waterfront neighborhood. I just hope they keep enough parking spots for us!

The rocky beach on the west side of the peninsula was somewhat obstructed with concrete blocks and trees. The sandier beach on the east side was much easier to launch and pull out from.

We headed towards the bottom of Shannon Falls first. The calmness in Howe Sound that morning was serene. The water was quite cold though.

With Shannon Falls in the distance, we hung out where the stream meets the ocean.

The majestic Stawamus Chief Mountain – or simply, The Chief – is featured prominently in Squamish, so naturally I had to take a selfie.

Me and The Chief.
Doing some turning drills.

We went further south and explored some floating log piles. We saw a few curious seals following us. I wondered if one of them would jump onto one of our boards. Not today.

The smell of cedar wood was like nature’s air freshener.

About 1.5 hour later, we arrived at an unnamed beach for lunch.

We tried to head back north before the wind was forecasted to arrive, but alas, we weren’t fast enough. Thankfully, the wind was southerly and pushing us north, so at least we weren’t fighting the wind as we did at Stave Lake. It created an increasing chop and the waves pushed and pulled on my board quite strongly from behind, and I couldn’t always see them to prepare. I find myself bending lower and lower to keep balance. At the last 100m or so before getting back to Newport Beach, we had to make a turn westward and fight the wind sideways. It was quite an intense and exhilarating 10 minutes. See the second half of my video to get a sense:

As the wind picked up, wind surfers came out to play. A very nice way to cap off a wonderful day in Squamish.

  • Difficulty – very strong winds in the afternoon created a low grade whitewater condition in the afternoon.
  • Boat traffic – only met two motor boats coming out from Squamish
  • View – fantastic, 10/10
  • Facilities – only one porta potty, undeveloped industrial area
  • Overall score – 8/10

One response to “Squamish/Howe Sound Paddle”

  1. […] The beach consists of mainly rocks and is open for ocean swimming. However, there are no lifeguards on duty, so it’s important to keep the kids close if they are to play with the water here. You can also canoe, SUP, or kayak in the ocean, keeping in mind that the winds of Howe Sound can be very strong. […]

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