The Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Tonga© Matafonua Lodge - Tonga Ministry of Tourism
The Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Tonga

The Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Tonga

© Matafonua Lodge – Tonga Ministry of Tourism

The SUP Guide to Tonga

Stand-up paddleboarding or SUP is becoming as popular as kayaking across the South Pacific. But in this off-the-beaten-track destination of Tonga, SUP boards can only really be hired from the select few resorts that have them. Nevertheless, those in the know will find some amazing paddleboard spots on Tonga’s tranquil lagoons, marine reserves and even where there are some waves for a bit of SUP-surf. So check out your options when it comes to stand-up paddleboarding in Tonga in the guide below.

5 Tips for Paddleboarding in Tonga

Before we get into the details of incorporating some paddling into your holiday, here are some quick tips to get you started:

  1. For SUP enthusiasts, the best destination to head to is Ha’apai
  2. New to SUP? Ask for a quick paddle lesson from your resort’s staff
  3. Paddleboarding with kids can be a lot of fun, but make sure your chosen resort also has children’s lifejackets as these are not always available
  4. SUP board hire outside of the resorts is extremely limited so it’s best to choose a resort with SUP hire if you want to be able to go for a paddle during your time in Tonga
  5. There are no SUP tours available in Tonga at this time. We will update this guide if and when SUP tours become available.

The Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Tonga© Matafonua Lodge - Tonga Ministry of Tourism

The Best Places to SUP in Tonga

Stand-up paddleboarding is a fun and active yet not-too-exhausting way to explore the stunning waters and islands, but where is the best destination for paddleboarding in Tonga? Well, it depends on who you ask, but here’s an overview of the best island groups for paddleboarding based on the general water conditions and SUP hire availability.


Starting with, what we think, is the best place for paddleboarding in Tonga, Ha’apai has ideal conditions for SUP! The central island group might be a little expensive to get to, but many think it’s worth it to spend some time on tranquil islands with sweeping sandy beaches and turquoise lagoons. Ha’apai has a good selection of resorts offering SUP board and paddle hire, which you can make use of in the butter-flat lagoons in front of many of the beaches. When the swell is right, there are also fun little waves to surf. See what else you can do in Ha’apai in the 50 Best Things to Do in Ha’apai.


Vava’u is a compact cluster of islands, often making for sheltered conditions ideal for paddleboarding close to shore. Glide over shallow reefs in sheltered bays and explore some of its stunning uninhabited islands. While not many resorts offer SUP hire, they are sometimes available on sailing charters or it’s worth bringing your own. Discover what else Vava’u has to offer in the 50 Best Things to Do in Vava’u.


Paddleboarding can be a fun way to explore the beaches and marine reserves off Ha’atafu and Kanokupolu Beach of Tongatapu, with some fun waves to try out for the more advanced SUPpers. Unfortunately, after the 2022 tsunami, there are no longer any resorts here offering SUP hire. Nevertheless, this is a good area to explore should you be travelling with your own SUP board.

To compare these island groups beyond paddleboarding, check out The Best Islands to Visit in Tonga.

The Guide to Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Tonga©

Resorts with Stand-Up Paddleboard Hire

While SUP is certainly not as popular in Tonga as kayaking, it’s fast becoming another inclusion for free hire at many of Tonga’s resorts. Here is a list of all of the known resorts and accommodations in Tonga with SUP boards and paddles for hire.

Resorts with SUP Hire in Ha’apai

Resorts with SUP Hire in Vava’u

Sailing Charters with SUP Hire

  • Whale Discoveries (Ha’apai & Tongatapu)
  • TradeWinds (Vava’u)

For more details on each accommodation listed, check out the 10 Best Resorts for SUP in Tonga, as well as sailing charters in the 5 Best Liveaboards & Boat Stays in Tonga.

More About Stand-Up Paddleboarding in Tonga

That’s it for the guide to stand-up paddleboarding in Tonga. For more about paddleboarding and watersports, take a look at the following:

Finally, inspire yourself with more experiences with the 101 Best Things to Do in Tonga: The Ultimate List. Plus, get even more tips in The Complete Travel Guide to Tonga.


Laura (Lola) S.

This article was reviewed and published by Laura, editor in chief and co-founder of Tonga Pocket Guide. Since arriving solo in the South Pacific over 10 years ago with nothing but a backpack and a background in journalism, her mission has been to show the world how easy (and awesome) it is to explore a paradise such as Tonga. She knows the islands inside-out and loves sharing tips on how best to experience Tonga’s must-dos and hidden gems. Laura is also editor of several other South Pacific travel guides.

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