Santa Cruz Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals

Come to our Santa Cruz harbor location to experience over a mile of calm protected waters – perfect for beginning kayakers or paddleboarding enthusiasts.

For the more adventurous, head out into the Monterey Bay for open ocean exploration. See the iconic Santa Cruz sights including the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Santa Cruz Wharf and experience the surf stoke at Steamer Lane.

Kayak & Paddleboard Rental Information

Santa Cruz Harbor

Your rental includes a life vest, paddle and basic instruction. Our goal is to create comfortable, happy paddlers on the water!

Pricing: 1 Hour Harbor Rental: $35 single / $55 double

2.5 Hour Ocean or Harbor Rental: $55 single / $75 double

Half Day (up to 4 hours): $70 single / $90 double

Duration:
Our Santa Cruz Harbor rental is a 1 hour rental, with views of the beautiful yacht harbor, the Chardonnay, the O’Neill Catamaran, curious harbor seals, the iconic Walton Lighthouse, beach volleyball courts and Twin Lakes Beach.

With our 2.5 Hour or Half-Day Rental (up to 4 hours), you have more time to relax and enjoy the iconic views without a rush to get back to the dock! If conditions are right, you can leave the Santa Cruz Harbor and paddle into the Monterey Bay. You’ll explore the kelp beds and look for otters, dolphins, whales, sea lions and jellies. You will have views of Seabright Beach, The Beach Boardwalk, the Santa Cruz Wharf, Cowells’ Beach, the iconic Steamer Lane surf spot, and the Santa Cruz Surf Museum and Lighthouse.

For the truly adventurous, a Half Day Rental can paddle past Seal Rock, along Westcliff and all the way to Natural Bridges State Park.

Kayak Connection Santa Cruz* is now offering Annual Paddling Memberships!

If you are a LOCAL looking for an inexpensive way to paddle, a membership is a great way to kayak or paddle-board without the hassle of purchasing, storing, or transporting equipment.

Our frequent renters receive these amazing benefits:

  • Discounted rental prices
  • Skip the line, the paddle-talk and the paperwork
  • Choose between kayaking or standup paddleboarding
  • Real-time condition reports so you can plan your paddle safely
  • Employees that know you by name 🙂

*Memberships not available in, or transferable to, our Elkhorn Slough location.
santa cruz kayak membership
kayak membership

Kayak & Paddleboard Rental Options

One Hour Harbor Rental - Single Sit on Top Kayak

harbor rental kayak

Explore the beautiful Santa Cruz Harbor, soak up the sun, and take in the wildlife for a quick jaunt on the water. Our stable, beginner friendly single Sit On Top Kayaks are easy to use and super maneuverable.

Take in the sights of the iconic Walton lighthouse, Twin Lakes Beach and resident wildlife while enjoying the calm waters of the harbor.

All necessary equipment is included, just bring a smile and some sunscreen!

One Hour Harbor Rental – Double Sit On Top Kayak

Explore the beautiful Santa Cruz Harbor, soak up the sun, and take in the wildlife for a quick jaunt on the water. Our stable, beginner friendly Sit On Top Double Kayaks are easy to use and super maneuverable for adults and kids alike.

Take in the sights of the iconic Walton lighthouse, Twin Lakes Beach and resident wildlife while enjoying the calm waters of the Harbor.
All necessary equipment is included, just bring a smile and some sunscreen!

One Hour Harbor Rental – Paddleboard

santa cruz harbor sup rental

Renting a paddleboard in the Harbor for an hour is a great introduction to a fast growing sport in a beginner friendly environment. 

In addition to being a fabulous work out, it’s also a terrific way to see the sights of  Santa Cruz Harbor including Twin Lakes Beach and the Walton Lighthouse.

2.5 Hour Ocean or Harbor Rental – Single Sit On Top Kayak

Feeling rushed by the one hour rental? This two and half-hour option allows you to relax and recharge without worrying so much about the clock.

The Harbor’s protected waters make for a calm and enjoyable experience. Enjoy views of the Crows Nest, Twin Lakes Beach, the Walton Lighthouse, as well as curious harbor seals and lazy sea lions sunbathing on the Harbor docks. Our Single Sit on Top 2.5 Hour Rental is a great way to stay six feet apart, and catch up with friends and family. If the conditions are right, you can paddle out of the Harbor to explore ocean kelp beds and visit the Santa Cruz Pier with views of the Boardwalk and Steamer Lane.

2.5 Hour Ocean or Harbor Rental – Double Sit On Top Kayak

double sit on top kayak

Our stable double kayaks are perfect for families looking for a fun outdoor adventure. Kayaking in the Santa Cruz Harbor provides views of yachts, sailboats, the beach volleyball courts, and the Walton Lighthouse.

We often have seals, sea lions and otters also enjoying the Harbor’s waters. When the ocean is calm, you can paddle out to the kelp beds and visit the Santa Cruz Pier with views of the Boardwalk and Steamer Lane.

Sightings of otters, dolphins and even whales are often reported!

2.5 Hour Harbor Rental – Paddleboard

If the one hour rental feels too quick, this two and half-hour option allows you to relax and recharge for a bit longer. The Harbor’s protected waters make for a calm and enjoyable experience without the stress of waves and ocean swell.

Enjoy views of the Crows Nest, Twin Lakes Beach and the Walton Lighthouse. 

Our 2.5 Hour Rental is a great way to physically distance while catching up with friends and family. If the conditions are right, you can paddle out of the Harbor to explore ocean kelp beds and visit the Santa Cruz Pier with views of the Boardwalk and Steamer Lane.

Half Day Rental (Up to 4 Hours) – Single Sit On Top Kayak

For those wanting a bit more adventure mixed in with their water time, we offer the option of renting a Sit On Top Single Kayak for a longer period of time. Pack a lunch and enjoy the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor. If the conditions allow, paddle out of the Harbor and explore the kelp beds flush with wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals and sea lions. You may even luck out and see dolphins or Humpback Whales!

Ocean Rentals are dependent upon weather and marine conditions.

Half Day (Up to 4 Hours) – Double Sit On Top Kayak

ocean rental santa cruz double kayak

Rent a Sit On Top Double Kayak and explore the Santa Cruz Harbor for a fun half-day rental. If the weather and swell is mellow, you can exit the Harbor and kayak into the Monterey Bay. Our Sit On Top Double kayaks are exceptionally stable and handle light wind-chop with ease. Right outside the Harbor entrance you can explore the kelp beds flush with wildlife such as sea otters, harbor seals and sea lions. You may even luck out and see dolphins, porpoises, Gray or Humpback Whales!

Ocean Rentals are dependent upon weather and marine conditions.

Half Day (Up to 4 Hours) – Paddleboard

SUP rental santa cruz ocean

Spending extra time paddling makes for a strong core and a happy heart! If conditions are mellow, paddling into the Monterey Bay is rewarding and exhilarating. In addition to being a great work out, the elevated vantage point is perfect for looking down into the kelp beds and spotting wildlife. Watch curious sea lions scamper beneath you as you take in the sights of Santa Cruz from a totally different perspective.

Ocean Rentals are dependent upon weather and marine conditions.

Closed Deck/Touring Kayaks

We have a large selection of modern closed deck sea kayaks available for rent for the experienced sea kayaker in singles and doubles. A demonstrated knowledge of self rescue skills is required for Closed Deck Kayak rentals.

All necessary gear is included. Ocean Rentals are dependent upon weather and marine conditions.

FAQs

When you arrive on the day of your rental, the first thing you’ll do is sign our liability release and pay for your rentals.

Next, our team will help you find the gear you need for your adventure, and we’ll get you fitted for everything and show you how to wear it properly.

One of our staff members will issue a paddle and safety talk and take you down to the dock, where we’ll help you into your kayak or onto your SUP.

In Santa Cruz, you’ll paddle away from the deck and into the harbor, which provides incredible views of the Boardwalk, coastline, wharf, and lighthouse. You’ll also have the opportunity to see otters, seals, sea lions, birds, dolphins, and whales.

Yes – if they’re at least five years old. As a family-friendly operation, we love to encourage kids to get out on the water!

Even though kids as young as five can rent kayaks, boogie boards, or SUPs, some little ones won’t be ready to venture onto the water.

Here are a few questions to consider before you decide to bring your kids out on the harbor with you:

• Is your child comfortable on the water?
• Is your child a strong swimmer who is comfortable going underwater?
• Will the day be too hot, cold, or windy for little kids?
• Are you confident that you can manage yourself, your kayak, and your child if your kayak flips?

Here are our rental requirements:

• Children must be at least five years old to go kayaking
• Children who are 15 or older can paddle a single kayak.
• All participants must sign a release. Kids under 18 must have their waiver signed by a parent or legal guardian.
• Children under 18 must be accompanied by at least one adult over the age of 25.

Our sit-on-top kayaks have a weight limit of 250 lbs. Our sit-on-top doubles have a combined weight limit of 500 lbs. The closed-deck kayaks we rent can accommodate a person weighing up to 225 lbs.

We welcome four-legged friends. If your dog is heavier than 35 pounds, though, we recommend renting a double kayak so that your dog has a stable, safe seat.

In California, the law requires kids under 13 to always wear a life jacket on the water. On the other hand, adults can choose whether to wear a life jacket, although we recommend always keeping your PFD on.

No. We do not allow the consumption of alcohol before or during your kayak rental.

To ensure your safety and comfort on the water, we require that all guests know how to swim before renting kayak gear.

If you’re going to be paddling a closed-deck kayak, avoid wearing jeans, sweatpants, or heavy cotton clothing, which will get heavy and chilly when wet.

Instead, dress in layers of wool, Capilene, fleece, or synthetic clothing. Since weather conditions can change quickly on the water, layering is a great way to keep yourself comfortable and dry all day.

We recommend wearing moisture-wicking, quick-drying athletic shirts and pants, and bringing a wide-brimmed sun hat, sunglasses, and a windbreaker. If you want to wear shoes during your rental, make sure you wear water shoes that are designed to get wet. Going barefoot is also an option.

If you’re bringing your camera, phone, and wallet, secure them in a waterproof case (we’ve got a wide selection for sale in our store). If you’re renting a stand-up paddleboard, bring a bathing suit and change of clothes.

Finally, bring a change of clothes to keep in the car for after your rental. If you get wet while paddling, you’ll be glad you took this step. We supply our guests with a rental personal floatation device (PFD), paddling jacket, spray skirt, and paddle, so you don’t need to bring these things from home.

Bring the following for your kayak trip:

  • A hat and sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water and a snack
  • Camera and binoculars (bring at your own risk of them getting wet!)
  • Footwear such as old sneakers, Tevas, water socks, or booties.

We recommend sit-on-top kayaks if you’re a beginning kayaker or going out on the water with kids. Sit-on-top kayaks are stable and self-bailing.

You don’t sit inside these kayaks, which means that if you capsize, the kayak won’t fill with water. This means that flipping the kayak and climbing back on board will be much easier.

While anyone can paddle a closed-deck kayak, we generally recommend them for more advanced kayakers. The reason for this is simple: sit-inside kayaks are a little less stable on the water.

In the unlikely event that one of these kayaks capsizes, the interior cavity fills with water, making it tough to flip them over and get back inside. Sit-inside kayaks also have rudders, spray skirts, pumps, and foot pedals, which can feel like a lot of extra equipment for a novice kayaker to manage.

If you’re interested in renting a closed-deck kayak, we recommend having strong wet exit AND reentering skills.

We require a credit card number to reserve your rental equipment. Cancellations must be made more than 48 hours before your rental date. If you cancel less than 48 hours before your rental date, we will charge your credit card. If we must cancel your trip due to unsafe weather conditions, we’ll issue a full refund.

Not sure WHich ACTIVITY TO CHOOSE?

Just give us a call or send us a message and we’ll be happy to guide you through the different options.

Kayak Connection - Santa Cruz

413 Lake Avenue
Santa Cruz, CA 95062

Phone: 831-479-1121

Hours of Operation
Open 7 Days a Week

10AM – 5PM*

(*may close early if we have all our renters off the water)

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