The Dunajec River Gorge: Exploring Poland’s natural wonder with Uone Rider

To truly experience the Pieniny National Park in Poland is to experience it through the Dunajec River Gorge rafting. The tradition of this unique tourist attraction goes back to the early 20th century when the recreational trips started, guided by local rafters (“Polish: flisacy”) who continue to show this stunning part of the country on their traditional wooden rafts.

The rafting culture in Poland is ripe, still closely entwined with legends and folk myths about Janosik (Slovak highwayman) and Kinga of Poland (Christian Saint), that together with the Park’s beauty attract nature lovers from across Europe and beyond.

It was only a matter of time for the Dunajec River Gorge to become a compelling spot for stand-up paddleboarding enthusiasts who started exploring the area and turning it into a special SUP destination in Poland.

To find out more about SUP “rafting” on the Dunajec River Gorge,  TotalSUP caught up with Przemek Kołodziej, waterman, Founder of SUP Legnica (a regional stand-up paddleboarding community) and Brand Ambassador of Uone, a premium Polish stand-up paddleboarding and watersport brand specialising exclusively in inflatable boards.

Hi Przemek, welcome to TotalSUP! Could you tell us about your watersport background?

Hi, my name is Przemek Kołodziej but my friends call me Poli. I’ve been into watersports since my grandpa taught me how to swim when I was a little kid spending each Summer by the lake with lots boats and canoes around. I even remember using a windsurfing board to paddle with my friends when we were 8 maybe 10 years old – so I guess this is where my SUP adventure started, but who would have thought back then? I was 14 when I completed my Lifeguard Rescue Award which started my more professional involvement with watersports.

Around 2000 kitesurfing really kicked off in Poland with kite hubs and kite schools popping up on the Hel Peninsula. One of those schools was organising kite instructor course with a work-and-learn opportunity so I took it and for the next 17 years I’ve been teaching kitesurfing, travelling, meeting awesome people and learning heaps about water safety and gear. But kite is a windsport and when the days became flat, we took with my friends who came to visit a stand-up paddleboard that was just lying around in the club… And things were about to change!

Getting my first paddleboard was one of the best shopping choices I have ever made, allowing me to develop skills, getting to know new people, starting a cool collab and basically driving me to where I am now… And trust me, this is just the beginning!

Could you tell us about your collaboration with Uone?

Back in 2018 I found some information about a SUP event nearby delivered by a Polish paddleboard manufacturer so I decided to go and check it out. I headed with a group of people already paddleboarding on inflatables and exploring local waters. It all started from a casual chat at the gig with Hubert Tobis, Founder of Uone, and this is how our collaboration and then friendship begun.

From left: Przemek with Wojtek Tadla and Uone Founder, Hubert Tobis

From the very beginning I was looking for performance boards and it was Uone, among the very few on the market, that have the hybrid inflatable boards in their quiver with the rigid, piercing nose. The combination of that nose and 14′ length makes this board go, cutting effortlessly  through water like a sports canoe, which is quite compelling when paddling longer distances. Performance data is great too compared to other 14’ touring boards.

I was also looking for the perfect balance between the nose and the tail of the board. In certain weather and water conditions, all you need is a half step forward to dip the nose and handle the  headwind, or a half step backward to lift it up and cut through the chop. Tracking during sprints is another thing which allows to paddle on one side and while covering some impressive distances.

What’s your Uone board set up?

As mentioned, from the beginning of my collab with Uone I was looking for faster, performance boards – guess it’s got to do with my kitesurfing background and adrenaline rush! My board of choice is Uone Viper 14″ x 27″ with the allwater river fin 4” and this is my third season paddling on this model.

Przemek on Uone Viper during his ASI SUP Instructor Course

I paddled this board on mountain rivers (both on The Soča in Slovenia and Dunajec in Poland) and it’s a great experience and a lot of fun! It’s also the board that I used for my ASI Flat Water SUP Instructor course last month!

Paddling on mountain rivers… Let’s chat about your SUP adventure on the Dunajec River Gorge…

Who is this SUP adventure for? Are there any guided SUP Tours? 

I think that it is for everyone with some form of a fast-track SUP training. SUP Kultura Kraków, Polish SUP hub and a board rental place located in the iconic city of Kraków, is a good example of that organising events and training specifically for the Dunajec River Gorge.

Where do you start?

After looking at and planning the course, assessing potential risks and hazards, checking the river levels and currents, I also briefed my group at the spot and instructed as it was their first mountain river experience by SUP. Because Dunajec is part of a valley located within the Pieniny National Park, you need to purchase a day pass to access it.

We launched in the village of Sromowce Wyżne-Kąty and paddled downstream. The conditions were no different to those on majority of rivers I’ve paddled in Poland. The situation changed when we entered the Park. Here gets busy and you can see other kayakers and traditional raftmen. Both the flow and current are stronger and faster and the river gets more choppy with rocks in the shallows that may catch your fin so a short one is highly recommended.

How long does it take?

In a truly leisure pace (stops for a drink, snack and a chat 🙂 ) it took us slightly over 3hours to paddle circa 20km to a picturesque village Krościenko.

What are the challenges of this route? 

If you’ve just started paddleboarding and are thinking about Dunjec on SUP it’s important to do it with experienced paddlers with water safety qualifications. Mountain rivers are a specific environment which, in terms of difficulty, can combine white water SUP and mountain kayaking. Water temperature is also low, even in Summer. It’s really necessary to plan ahead for a SUP trip like that in terms of clothing, equipment and hydration. It’s also vital to choose the right time to go so that the water level is a bit higher (usually Spring and Autumn).

What’s worth noting is that majority of stops along the way are on the Slovakian side of the Gorge, as the Polish side is very often reserved for the tourist boats and raft operators and you can’t moor along it.

So if you’re not experienced, get in touch with paddlers and providers who paddled the Gorge and are aware of risks and challenges, and have also trained others to SUP there. But then again, don’t be afraid to try it and see you on the water!

Przemek, thank you for your time. The Dunajec River Gorge is definitely on our SUP bucket list!

The Dunajec River Gorge by SUP: In a nutshell

1.Entry fees to the Pieniny National Park: 

In accordance with the Nature Protection Act (16th April 2004), there’s an entry fee to the Park such as the the water trail in the Pieniny National Park: 5.00 PLN – full price
2.00 PLN – concessions (pupils, students, pensioners, disabled people); To find out more, visit 

2.SUP providers and board rental (recommended by Przemek): 

SUP Kultura Krakow 

3.Best time to go: 

Rafting season starts from 1 April and lasts until 31 October except for Easter Sunday and Corpus-Christi Day.

4.Launch spot:

Marina at Sromowce-Kąty, where you can find a parking lot, pavilion with the exhibition of “Dunajec Ecosystem and the History of Pieniny Rafting”, Tourist Information Office, souvenir shops, restaurant and ticket offices

5.Routes (based on rafting tours organised by the Polish Association of Pieniny Rafters

  • Sromowce Wyżne-Kąty to Szczawnica – total route’s length: app. 18 km, the time of the rafting route: app. 2 hours 15 min
  • Sromowce Wyżne-Kąty to Krościenko – total route’s length: app. 23 km, the time of the rafting route: app. 2 hours 45 min


The distance from the Krakow Aiport to Sromowce Wyżne-Kąty is about 71 miles (2hrs) by car, bus or train. You can explore transport options here 


To find out more about Uone, visit and follow the brand on Instagram and Facebook

If would like to become business partners and part of the „uhlan” SUP family, get in touch with Hubert Tobis via email or telephone +48 600 934 216

Follow Przemek on Instagram

*Images courtesy of Przemek Kołodziej


About the Author

Anna Nadolna

Anna is the Founder of SUPer Whale, a Cambridge(UK!)-based emerging watersports brand and a stand-up paddleboarding community. She is a certified SUP Flat Water Instructor accredited by International Surfing Association (ISA). Anna is also a digital marketing, storytelling aficionado and a growth hacking enthusiast.

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