Boating in Boston drops oars in seven locations?including local lakes, ponds, the Charles River, and Boston Harbor?sending visitors on watery adventures with a fleet of canoes, kayaks, sailboats, pedal boats, paddleboards, and festive and essential lifejackets. Whether navigating the peaceful waters of Hopkinton State Park's Hopkinton Reservoir?the place that, in 2002, started it all?or campus-adjacent eddies of UMass Boston's Fox Point Landing, visitors can hit the water untrained or sharpen skills with solo or group lessons. The crew of instructors also instills a love of boating in the littlest landlubbers with youth summer camps that teach basic skills and safety.
Signature service: Paddleboard and kayak rental, tours, and sales
Staff Size: 2?10 people
Brands Used: SUP ATX paddleboards
Pro Tip: Beginners should plan [to attend on] a day with light wind. Paddleboarding can be mastered in less than 15 minutes.
Q&A with Kathleen Tefft and Guy Gauvin, Owners and Operators
Sometimes it's all about the little things in life. What supplemental courtesies do you include with your main services to leave clients with a smile on their face?
Complimentary muffins, coffee, and juice with the sunrise tours; complimentary snacks and beverages with the sunset and moonlight tours.
How is your approach different than that of other professionals in your field?
We have a mobile fleet of paddleboards and kayaks, which means we can meet you anywhere and deliver to a customer's location. The locations we list on our website are just a few examples of where we can paddle.
When and how did you first develop a passion for your work?
We are lifelong residents of the Ocean State and both love spending time by the water. Guy began SUP several years ago while living in Maryland. Kathleen began paddling a year ago in Narragansett Bay and was immediately hooked.
The instructors at EMS Schools traverse rocky, frozen, and watery terrain from New England down to Virginia, imparting people with their love of the outdoors along the way. Dating back more than 40 years, the EMS Climbing School teaches people of all ages about climbing through introductory classes and more advanced classes in self-rescue, alpine climbing, and glacier-skills classes. The watery wing of EMS's operation includes group tours and kayaking and standup-paddleboard lessons, which can help students enjoy these water-bound endeavors. The experienced and certified guides also offer hiking and skiing programs, and EMS Schools also helps organize family and school outings, summer camps, and company events.
Osprey Sea Kayak Adventures' aqueous instructors equip riders with the building blocks for surfing success with comprehensive courses and hands-on demonstrations. During the two-hour intro-to-standup-paddleboarding class, certified instructors help small classes of students brush up on body-boating basics atop the calm, protected waterways of the Westport River. Armed with top-of-the-line equipment, including boards, paddles, and masks shaped like each rider's favorite waterfowl, students learn how to keep their balance, paddle properly, and navigate eddying currents safely and quickly. Osprey's intro lessons shove off at high tide every Saturday and are calibrated to all levels of surfing experience. In the event of days marred by inclement weather or Loch Ness Monster impersonators, lessons may be rescheduled for cleared conditions.
The land surrounding the Narrow River is a prime example of Rhode Island's varied natural splendor, which includes sandy beaches, lush forests, green fields, marshland, and sand banks. Narrow River Kayaks puts it all within reach, equipping locals and visitors with a variety of vessels, including canoes, kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards.
Once boated up, you can paddle your way across the Pettaquamscutt Watershed area for a relaxed day of fishing, picnicking, spotting wildlife, or making kissy faces at your own reflection in the river. With outdoor showers, changing tents, and portable restrooms onsite, Narrow River Kayaks assures aquatic adventurers a comfortable time in the great outdoors. The shop also sells new and used kayaks, and can set up all boaters with items such as dry bags, waterproof containers, and personal flotation devices for jaunts past the John H. Chafee Wildlife Refuge and the Kettle Ponds.
Before helming Paddle Board RI, John Andel was working as an IT consultant, itching to hop onto his board as the hours crept by each day. An erstwhile surfer, scuba diver, and spear fisher, John had encountered standup paddleboarding while visiting Costa Rica and fell in love with the aquatic pastime faster than two cupids in an archer's duel. "You get a whole different perspective,” he says of standing up on the board. “Sometimes you can see 20 feet down into the water.”
Drawn to the sport’s flexibility, John has engineered a diverse selection of tours, including the full-moon paddle, the business’s most popular tour, which takes groups out on quiet waters to gaze up at the glowing orb and stake out real estate for the moon colonies of the future. Another tour, the Tuckered Dog, invites pooches to hop on board with their owners at a dog-friendly pond. Paddle Board RI also offers classes from introductory lessons to less traditional options, such as paddleboard yoga taught by a certified yoga instructor, meditative sunrise sessions, and muscle-sculpting workout classes.
Although his business has taken off, Andel still leads the vast majority of the tours: at the heart of the venture still beats his own passion for being out on the water and sharing his love of paddleboarding with others. “We’re not just a rental company,” he says. “We’re about enjoying the water.”