Guided tours by locals who know their way around the water vary from one to several hours.
You can paddle through sheep-filled tulip fields, cross through dams and glide under bridges. If you're fit, there's an eight-kilometer excursion to the fortress island of Pampus.
SUP pioneer Morene Dekker has two paddle schools, called M&M SUP. One is in the center of Amsterdam, the other at nearby beach Blijburg. The latter offers "boga yoga" lessons to help newbs find balance and correct posture.
Once a month M&M SUP organizes a Friday Night SUP tour through the city -- a boat and blasting music accompany almost 200 paddlers.
Sylt Island is to windsurfing as St. Peter-Ording is to kitesurfing.
Not far from Hamburg, this holiday resort town on the North Sea has one of Europe's widest beaches, a therapeutic climate and constant sea winds, making it a top spot for wind riders.
It's particularly windy in summer, blowing up to 40 knots -- perfect for leaps and acrobatic moves. The town will host this year's Kitesurf World Cup from July 12 to 21.
Competitors perform in three disciplines: freestyle (quick tricks), course racing (high-speed) and air style (action-loaded show).
On the side are concerts, beach parties that last till dawn and other events.
Unlike windsurfing, kitesurfing requires strong winds as opposed to powerful waves. When the sea gets too wild, kite addicts turn to the kite-buggy, a land version of the sport in which the board and waves are substituted for an elongated tricycle and the beach.
Leucate is located on the southern Mediterranean coast, but the waves here can be as fierce as on the Atlantic side.
Dubbed by locals the city of "wind and slide," it features nine of Europe's best windsurf and kitesurf spots -- both at sea and on the surrounding lagoon, including Coussoules Beach, La Franqui, Le Goulet and Les Pilotis.
Each Easter Leucate hosts "Le Mondial du Vent" (The Wind's World Cup), France's top international competition. Windsurfers compete against kitesurfers and even standup paddlers take part.
Winds here blow 300 days a year and the slightest sea breeze can create miracles when they channel through the dunes.
There's an incredible number of facilities for surfers, ranging from cool beach clubs (La Payote, Sky Fly) to surf schools that also rent gear (Adrenaline Kitesurf, Weshcentercrew)
The wide selection of fully equipped surf shops includes Surf Wear Saint Claire and Surf Shop Neway.
Stagnone Lagoon, Marsala, Sicily, Italy
Located on the southernmost tip of Sicily, Stagnone Lagoon is famous for persistent hot breezes that flow in the summer.
All that air pressure brings in kitesurfers from around the world.
It doesn't hurt that the place is incredibly beautiful. More than 20 square kilometers, the lagoon is surrounded by an archipelago of small islands dotted with ancient saline windmills that separate it from the open sea.
The surf is often flat and winds blow up to 30 knots -- perfect conditions for kitesurfers, who can reach speeds of up to 100 kph.
This year, Marsala's Stagnone will host the Kite-Surf Freestyle World Cup on June 25-30.
Along the lagoon, clubs and schools offer courses, equipment rental and repair service. These include Sicily Kite School and Sicily Kite Lounge.