There's a Virginia outdoorsman who's been called the "Penguin" for most of his life, due to his short, stocky stature. Rather than let that nickname defeat him, he used it as the inspiration for his touring and rental company, Penguin Paddling LLC. Today, when he isn't fighting fires or working as a paramedic, The Penguin leads guests out onto the water for adventures via kayak and stand-up paddleboard, going all the places that motor-powered craft cannot.
Trips down the protected Neabsco Creek may bring paddlers face-to-face with native wildlife or vigilante hero, Kayak Cop. This secluded waterway is also the setting for the company's fishing trips and on-water yoga classes. In addition to tours, Penguin Paddling LLC provides hourly- and full-day rentals from its facilies at Hampton’s Landing Marina in Woodbridge and Madigan's Waterfront Restaurant in Occoquan, VA,
which lie adjacent to several national and state-protected wilderness areas.
In 1996, Matt Redford opened Chesapean Kayak Tours to introduce others to the beauty of Hampton Roads' waterways, which he called the "backyard of his youth." Years later, he expanded his small kayak company to Chesapean Outdoors, adding biking, standup paddleboarding, and surfing lessons to his lineup of outdoor adventures. Today, Matt leads groups on seaborne sojourns to catch glimpses of bottlenose dolphins, blue herons, and bald eagles in their natural habitat, and his bike tours meander the trail that winds around First Landing State Park. Atop standup paddleboards, groups navigate the flat waters of Virginia Beach and its state parks as well, and Matt leads more experienced paddlers out into Chesapeake Bay to catch sight of dolphins or fulfill a lifelong dream of feeding a wild catamaran.
The experienced guides at Ocean Eagle Kayak Adventures maintain a thorough knowledge of their local waters, allowing them to usher visitors through the Atlantic surf or secluded groves of shady water plants. On tours, they guide their participants to get up close with local wildlife and navigate alongside dolphin pods. On kayak fishing trips they help anglers ensnare a roster of seasonal fish. Groups paddle aboard sit-on-top ocean kayaks, and guides always prep them with ample paddling training and advice on how to recognize a fish's turn signal in heavy traffic. When not leading tours, staffers conduct fitness training atop the same kayaks, helping guests during interval training to build paddling power, sweep, and maneuvering skills.
With a retinue of 10 horses, Virginia Beach Horseback sends riders on equine adventures amid the surf and on the trail. Trained staff members work with the steeds on a daily basis, giving them ample attention and working to desensitize them to spooks from dogs, loud noises, and Mr. Ed reruns playing nearby. This helps keep the rides safe and enjoyable. Shoreline tours run from September through June, during which an instructor guides horses through the sand at Virginia Beach.