Beautiful weather is upon us on the East Coast, which means paddling season is underway! While on a search for our own SUPs to use on upcoming water adventures, my sister and I came across East Coast Paddle Sports, a Rhode Island-based kayak and paddleboard rental and sales company with two convenient locations—one in East Greenwich nearby Finn’s Harborside Restaurant, the other at Ram Point Marina in Wakefield, its brand new satellite shop opening this May.
We caught up with its owners, Guy Gauvin and Kathleen Tefft, who temporarily opened the Wakefield shop for us so that we could check out the SUPs they had in stock, and while there learned a little bit more about the RI SUP scene.
This super friendly duo have years of paddling experience. It’s a big part of their active lifestyle, even getting their families in on the fun because, according to Guy, “You can just head out when the moment strikes you, and since there are no motors, no crowds–just you, your thoughts and nature–you can find peace. It’s the best way to relieve stress that I know of.”
Kathleen added, “It’s a great work out too! I can practice yoga, take my dog for a ride, and spend some quality time with my kids and sweetheart. And because it’s very portable, I have the freedom to paddle whenever and wherever I want.”
As amateur SUPers looking to get better in the sport, we were excited to spend time on water but didn’t know where in the Ocean State to go. Guy and Kathleen are SUPing advocates who opened up shop simply to spread the joy paddling brings (providing the best rental rate for this reason–$15/hour for a SUP, $12/hour for a kayak), and didn’t hesitate to share with us 6 great spots to go SUPing in South RI this summer:
Kathleen started, “Narragansett Bay is full of beautiful coves throughout the shorelines of Warwick and East Greenwich. Since I started paddling a few years ago, I have had the opportunity to explore the many coves and inlets that I explored from land as a kid.
“I have also come to understand and respect the currents and tides in our area. Early on, I paddled in Occupessatuxet Cove in Warwick where you can get to Greene Island, but only when it is exposed at low tide. It can get windy which makes for a great workout, but seeing the residential shoreline properties in that area from the water makes it all worth it.”
Guy said, “Go to Greenwich Cove for an early morning sunrise paddle. Launch from the ECPS East Greenwich dock, head north, then after a short paddle, turn east following the shore of Goddard Park all the while watching the sunrise over Narragansett Bay.”
Johnson Pond & Reynolds Pond
Guy continued, “For fresh water paddling, go to Coventry, launching at Zeke’s Bridge on Johnson Pond, next to the bridge that divides Johnson Pond from Reynolds Pond. Since Johnson Pond is built up and also tends to be a busy place in the summer, most paddlers who put in at Zeke’s Bridge will want to head south under the bridge right next to the boat ramp and into Reynolds Pond.
“Reynolds Pond is a beautiful winding pond with a mix of white pines and cedar swamps along the shore. It is largely within the Big River Management Area so the shorelines are undeveloped. At the far end of Reynolds Pond, you can keep going under I-95 and up the Big River.”
North Branch Pawtuxet River
Kathleen continued, “My sister regularly launches from the North Branch of the Pawtuxet River. She is frequently seen floating down the river on her head.”
Point Judith Pond
Guy concluded, “I cannot wait to explore all the hidden gems of Point Judith Pond. Point Judith Pond offers wonderfully diverse scenery, ranging from woodlands in the north to barrier beach in the south. From our newest location [in Wakefield], you can paddle north up Saugatucket River to the Mew’s Tavern, or south into the Upper Pond and explore all the coves, beaches and abundant wildlife in the area.”
East Coast Paddle Sports also provides kayak rentals, SUP yoga classes, corporate team building and family outing packages. Come check out the new location at the grand opening in May with paddling and SUP yoga demos and distribution of 50% off rental coupons. For more information about the grand opening, to reserve a kayak/SUP, or to sign up for a class, please visit www.ECPaddleSports.com. You can also find them on Facebook and Instagram.
By the way, I decided on the Hot Pink POP SUP 10’6″ Classico Nature Tech.