The guides and instructors at Palmetto Paddle Sports help customers explore the world around Hilton Head Island from the perspective of the water. Inside kayaks, they lead groups of fellow rowers through the waters surrounding the island, where they can take in picturesque scenes of nature and wildlife. Paddleboard instructors teach students the techniques they need to traverse local waters atop a stand-up paddleboard, from rowing motions that help them keep their balance to angry gestures that will prevent turtles from cutting them off in traffic.
The FAA–certified Cygnet II–powered hang glider bearing the Amphibian Air stamp gives riders a bird's-eye view of Savannah and the outlying Low Country as they zip about during guided lessons. An FAA–certified instructor takes the front seat in the trike's open-air cockpit directly ahead of the student and demonstrates the basics of flying before allowing his pupil to take the controls if conditions permit. A certificate of training documents the flight for the student, which can be used toward a sport-pilot license. Amphibian Air recommends wearing comfortable clothing and making reservations for sunrise or sunset any day of the week, as those are some of the best times for a smooth flight.
International flavors and 17 vibrant cocktails color 9 Promenade's creative menu of gourmet tapas, pizzas, and salads. Chefs dexterously craft bite-size plates under high-powered microscopes, braising chorizo in red wine ($8) and coupling slivers of blackened ahi tuna with a made-to-order version of tartare drizzled in cilantro-soy sauce ($12). The Rock Lobster ($9), a martini blended from whiskey, black-raspberry liqueur, and cranberry juice, blushes against the bar's gray walls like an embarrassed bride, and listless stomachs perk up with the Breakfast salad ($9), a bed of spinach piled to the leafy heavens with bacon, garlic toast, and an over-easy egg. The restaurant's doughsmiths also engineer a selection of gourmet pizzas ($12–$15) mounded with eclectic toppings such as tequila-marinated tomatoes, crab, and shaved steak.
Palmetto Running Company's sure-footed staff members treat fellow trotters to comprehensive shoe fittings before shielding them in high-performing gear. Fittings include careful measurements, a static foot scan, and two brief jogging evaluations to help knowledgeable team members recommend shoes suited to each athlete's gait and striking pattern. Toes grip, arch, and jam to live karaoke inside the roomy toe box of Saucony's Hattori kicks ($80), and a pair of Brooks' Adrenaline sneakers ($100) supports the heel with its award-winning design and signature DNA technology. Before jetting off in a pair of the Asics Gel-Kayano ($140), drain 50 ounces of pure water or grape-flavored antelope sweat from the BPA-free reservoir in a CamelBak Fairfax backpack ($49). Wicking moisture from panting skin, Zensah compression sleeves ($39.99) flood stifled muscles with oxygenated blood during long runs and postworkout recovery sessions, and the colorful boutique soothes hard-working pavement pounders with blister balms from Body Glide or complimentary footbaths filled with chicken-noodle soup.
While tutoring students in the art of kiteboarding, Mike Campanaro and John Mapel of AOK Watersports are able to call upon a lifetime of wave-taming experience in a bounty of extreme sports, including power-kiting and windsurfing. Though the dedicated instructors specialize in kiteboarding, they also offer equipment, lessons, and rentals for activities such as land-kiting and paddleboarding. Two-hour land-kiting courses help beginners glean basics for handling kites or taking midnight shifts as bird walkers.