When Kelly of Kelly's Kayaks gave up her desk job, she turned to what she really loved: kayaking. Now she spends her days on the creeks, rivers, and lakes around League City. As a guide certified in CPR and first aid, she leads groups paddling through the waves during beach excursions or searching for wildlife such as egrets and cranes on the calm waters of Heritage Park. Kelly's Kayaks also rents watercraft by the hour to help explorers with an independent streak find their own way on the water.
An affiliate school of the American Sailing Association, All Points of Sail Sailing School teaches students of all levels how to sail with confidence under the tutelage of experienced guides and instructors. Instructors sprinkle landlubbers with the knowledge necessary to tear through the water on any size vessel, ranging from large-keel boats to windsurfing boards and kayaks. The school's diverse coterie of courses covers crucial nautical subjects, including sailing certification, coastal navigation, chartering, and night sailing. The expert captains also lead charters through the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay as well as summer camps in which kids man kayaks and Sunfish sailboats to gain hands-on practice, which is believed to be the second-best teacher after self-hypnosis.
A crescent moon casts its soft glow over the waterfront, shining just enough light to illuminate a deer as it scurries back into the forest. Nearby, a group of kayakers float silently, watching as the event unfolds. Packed with wildlife and winding waterways, the Armand Bayou serves as the perfect playground for Pinky's Water Sports' stand-up paddleboards and kayaks. On guided trips, these vessels float through the bayou as its waters twinkle beneath the colors of dawn, dusk, or the moon's strobe lights. Pinky's also facilitates motorized excursions with rentals of Jet Skis and fishing boats.
Some of Marshall Hosea's earliest memories involve water lapping gently about the ankles of his oversized boots as he waded into a river or creek for some classic fly-fishing with his father and grandfather. What started as a childhood pastime became a lifelong passion, and Marshall began experimenting with all kinds of boats to enhance his fishing experience. He loved feeling close to nature and the water as he cast lines and baited hooks, and he found the kayak offered him the best experience. As a bonus, the paddle-driven craft left no trace upon the natural beauty he so loved.
Now, he teaches others the joy of kayaking and fishing as the owner and head guide of Texas Kayak Guide. He takes passengers down rivers and creeks, or skimming across bayous and bays, showing them raccoons hunting shellfish, osprey darting into the water to snatch fish, and porpoises swimming alongside the quiet craft. While on the water, he also teaches the finer points of fishing, including everything from how to spot a fish to changing one's tactics to match the seasonal behavior of one's prey.
Bayou Shuttle Service transports runners, surfers, cyclists, and adventurers toting rented kayaks and canoes to nearby trails and beaches for guided tours and lessons or DIY excitement. Experienced guides lead history-packed kayak tours such as the Houston Skyline Tour, which floats past panoramic views of towering skyscrapers, or the Adventures Tour, which increases heart rates with rushing rapids and an elevation drop more thrilling than jumping down the laundry chute at grandma's house. During all-day surfing lessons, students hop aboard shuttles from downtown Houston to Surfside Beach, where instructors teach nascent surfers to stand up and surf the waves. Bayou Shuttle Service also offers overnight surf trips, where pupils can sit beside campfires under the stars and tell scary stories about crab ghosts.
Bayou City Outdoors' hundreds of members didn't join just for the myriad events, though it would be understandable if they did. The site's events calendar buckles under the weight of a packed schedule, with activities from bike rides and kayaking trips to art gallery openings and nights of dancing. But the outings are only the beginning of the member perks. The team at Bayou City plug their members into a buddy system that puts enthusiasts in touch with other members. Buddies can share outdoor gear with each other, or meet up for group outings. Members also get opportunities to learn about cutting-edge equipment through free demos, and enjoy discounts at outdoors-oriented local stores like REI and Urban Bike Gallery.