Denmark on a paddleboard: Copenhagen
January 1, 1970
I have been paddleboarding (SUP) all over Denmark. With our little rivers and over 7.000 km of coastline (twice as much as France!), there are tonnes of good opportunities to go cruising on a stand up paddleboard or catch a wave in the fjords and sea around Danmark. Copenhagen seems like the place to start since it is here you will most likely arrive from abroad.
In the end of this article, I will give tips on events and rental.
Good SUP spots in Copenhagen
When in Copenhagen there are three preferred spots to go paddleboarding:
- The inner-city harbour (the area around the Opera and Christiania is fully permitted to SUP),
- Amager Strand
- Bellevue Strand
Wannabe ‘whitewater spot’
If you are familiar with whitewater, there is the option of ‘Slusen’. It is where the water level in the Baltic Sea and the harbour is aligned. If the difference in water level is big, it can be fun. Look for differences in the forecast of ‘Drogden fyr’ and ‘København’ on DMI
1. The inner city
SUP around the Opera and see a new side of the city. You will get that nature and urban hype at the same time. The city is a little bit of a distance, and still its like you are the silent centre it evolves around, while on the water on a paddleboard.
A good place to start and finish is at Christiania’s Beach, Refshalevej 70, 1432 København K (red dot) or Hal C, Arsenalvej 6, 1436 København K (square dot). In Denmark, we are in general less concerned about nudity on beaches as long as no one is provoked or harmed. This particular beach, or the very little pile of sand, as it actually is, is unofficially known as a nude beach. So expect and respect different approaches to swimwear if you come on a warm summer day
Hal C is a big red building. On the side facing the canal, away from the road, is a roughly made hang-out-spot that is great on a sunny afternoon. The construction also allows easy access to the canal. At Hal C there are free showers and toilets in opening hours. When starting here you will first pass a slalom track and then a kayak polo training court. So be considerate of Copenhageners doing their sport. Also, there is a SUP club (Copenhagen Watersports), so you often meet fellow paddlers on the water.
The water is some places quite shallow and there are a few hazards in the water (such as old rusty bikes). Also, you will need to duck to get under bridges, but the first bit of canal is quite protected even in rougher winds and will be a good place also for less experienced paddlers.
Red line in map is area permitted for SUP
Going around the Opera:
From a paddleboard, you have a unique view of both the Opera and even more so of the Royal Castle and the Marble Church. The tree sights is perfectly aligned and the view quite extraordinary. The yellow ferries run frequently and do create quite a wave. The big flat canal tour boats also sail here. So stick to harbour rules, stay on the right side of the canal, and be aware that you are one who will need to calculate their route and get away in time.
2. Amager Strand
This beach and beach park is big and has lots of opportunities for SUP. It is in the city and can be reached by metro, but you will have more the open water experience than urban SUP. In clear weather, you can see Sweden. Maybe you can find the twisting tower of Malmø? You can go in the inner lagoon, in rough wind this will be challenging even for the experienced paddler, cause the wind can pick a lot of speed. Or you can go out on the outer side. A trip to the windmills might be an idea for the experienced paddler. Inside the big grey bunker looking buildings spread along the beach is toilets open in summertime. Kite- and windsurfers are also here, but often they stick to the eastern end towards the aquarium ‘The Blue Planet’.
3. Bellevue Strand
This is a little outside the city and in the northern more mundane suburbs. There is a SUP club there and therefore a good chance of meeting fellow paddlers. It is beautiful and close to ‘Dyrehaven’ which is and amazing wild park and forest. Good parking is hard to come by and toilets are difficult to find. You can try a restaurant or the theatre close by, but I don’t recommend rocking up in your wetsuit. There are good possibilities for a downwinder along the coast.
This was my SUP tour of Copenhagen. I hope you liked it and got that itch to get in the wetsuit and out on the water. I will look forward to seeing you on the water.
Bonus info on events, renting and instructions:
SUP World Championship in Copenhagen and Cold Hawaii:
This September 2017 Denmark is hosting The world Championship in Stand up paddleboarding. Technical and distance races will be in Copenhagen and wave-SUP will be in Cold Hawaii in the northern part of Jylland. Please come by and join the cheer and/or participate in the many broad activities for paddlers at any level. You can read more about the event here
Rent and instructions:
Since I paddle on my own board, cruise and instruct in a volunteer sports club with SUP for members only, I do not know any of the places below personally, so I can not guarantee the quality.
Please note – BE SAFE!
SUP in Copenhagen is fairly new and not yet permitted all over the harbour. Always watch out for ships, ferries, cruise ships and be safe on the water. Copenhagen is a lively harbour used for both leisure and commercial traffic.
Anywhere you go, be safe and have a contact on land that knows when you expect to be back. The coastal lifeguard will fly out with a chopper if they think you are in distress, and people have been known to alarm them if unknown paddler is seen far out. Don’t be the paddler that misuses their time and lifesaving equipment for no reason.
Always go with a friend, wear a leash, check the weather rapport, and don’t go if you feel sketchy about it. The wind can be rough and the water will be cold for the most of the year.