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Wildlife Species to Spot While Paddleboarding

nature, Paddleboarding, SUP, UK, Watersports -

Wildlife Species to Spot While Paddleboarding

The UK boasts a coastline of some 11,000 miles, much of which is calling for exploration! Paddleboarding is up there with the absolute best ways to get out and see the coast. On an ideal day, many paddleboarders will know just how much can swim and fly by when out on the waves. The UK’s coasts and waters are incredibly diverse, and some rare species can only be spotted in a handful of locations. For those of you who don’t know your guillemots from your razorbills but want to learn more, we’ve created a spotter’s guide to some of the most interesting wildlife you may come across next time you’re out on your board.

Nesting on rocky cliffs and feeding in the fertile waters, the British Isles are home to 25 species of seabird. Some to look out for are:


With is colourful beak this is an iconic bird to see in UK waters. Skomer Island in Wales and St. Kilda in Scotland are both important breeding sites and popular places to see Puffins. They can also be found in smaller localised populations in several other locations, including Lundy Island in the South West and Bempton Cliffs in Yorkshire.

puffin bird swimming in the ocean

Guillemots and Razorbills

Almost like little flying penguins, guillemots and razorbills are similar in appearance and both nest on rocky cliffs. A guillemot has a plumage of white and dark brown and a light beak. The razorbill, in comparison, sports a darker plumage and the best way to identify them is by their heavy beak that features a thin white stripe. They are both common and can be seen in places that provide suitable nesting.

black and white bird on a cliff

Common Tern

A gull-like bird, the Common Tern is identifiable by its long orange-red bill. You may see them diving in search of the small fish they feed on.

Sometimes harder to spot, the UK hosts a surprising amount of marine life:

Barrel Jellyfish

While ominous in appearance, the sting of a Barrel Jellyfish is not particularly harmful to humans – although it’s probably best not to go touching one! They appear in UK waters following the summer plankton blooms and can be seen during these months off the southern and western coasts of Britain. Other species that can be found in the UK include the crystal jelly and compass jellyfish.

Common/Harbour and Grey Seal

If you are lucky enough to get up close and personal with a seal whilst out boarding, you will never forget it! There are two species in the UK, with the grey seal being the larger of the two. You might see them bobbing their heads above the water or stretched out on a secluded rock or beach where they digest their food. Seals can be spotted all over the UK, but Blakeney in Norfolk and Mutton Cove in West Cornwall are popular seal spotting locations.


While they tend to frequent the wider ocean, during the summer months dolphins swim closer to the shore and a keen eye may be able to spot them. There are a number of species that can be found in the waters all around the UK including the common, bottlenose and white-beaked dolphin.

black and white image of dolphins jumping in the ocean


There are a great number of fish species you may spot out in the ocean. Keep an eye out for john dory, sea trout and bass swimming by.

UK Sea Conservation

From overfishing to pollution, our native seas and oceans are constantly under threat. Not only does marine life provide us with so much pleasure but they are essential and delicate ecosystems that create a range of environmental benefits. You can help by getting involved in local beach cleans or donating to a marine conservation charity.

If you’re ready to hit the waves, check out our range of inflatable sup boards on our website. Our blog features loads of articles on kitesurfing and paddleboarding; if you liked this why not check out our Intro to SUP and Surf Foiling?