Before ocean surfing, thrill seekers were forced to sneak onto a rock-concert stage and leap board-first onto waves of angry humans. Practice paddling atop waves that can’t punch you in the head in retaliation with today's Groupon: for $43, you get a paddleboard rental from Wave Hounds in Fremont. Exchange your Groupon for either a single-day rental for two people or a two-day rental for one person (both an $86.70 value, including tax). For those requiring a car rack to bear the board to the beach, the friendly, stoked staff at Wave Hounds will provide one for no additional cost. Wetsuits are also available to rent for an additional fee.
Though a stand-up paddleboard is easy to use and most people can manage it with a decent sense of balance and a sextant, the on-staff paddling pros will provide a condensed, 10-minute lesson for those who need it. With board onboard, water walkers can speed off to any nearby body of water, including Green Lake, Lake Washington, Lake Union, and Lake Sammamish or any other spot indicated by a blue blob on a map. In addition to bestowing a stand-out ab workout, a stand-up paddleboard allows for more-mellow explorations of distant shoals. The board provides a quiet, connected-to-the-sea means to poke around mysterious inlets and intimate coves. With multiple boards in stock, the husband-and-wife team behind Wave Hounds is sure to have a well-fitting 2-D steed for any rider.
Todd Welter learned to surf before he learned to drive, and to this day the board seems to be his preferred mode of transportation. A native of the Oregon coast, he hasn't been able to shake his longtime lust for the sport; in turn, he opened up Wave Hounds, which helps surfers of all stripes acquire a board, find their footing, and set out into the blue.
Wave Hounds carries new and used boards from brands such as Bing, Webber, and Aloha, as well as wetsuits, surf wax, and other accessories that let everybody know you’re not a skateboarder that didn’t see the end of the pier. The store also rents out surfboards and paddle boards. Todd himself holds lessons at Short Sands Beach in Oswald West State Park, where students can practice their skills on land before venturing into the water to surf the way the Pilgrims intended.