Nashville Paddle Co. supports the work of the Cumberland River Compact every day: we donate a portion of all our proceeds—lessons and rentals—to the organization. So, it only makes sense that we would be a sponsor of the Cumberland River Dragon Boat Festival, their largest event of the year. Well, we brought our enthusiasm to the water. In fact, we brought it to the water on a paddleboard…that is how we carried in our drummer. And we won the Spirit Award. It was a great day for NPC, but more important for the Compact, for the River and for Nashville.
Now that the kids are back in school and the outdoor temperatures seem more like Fall than Summer, folks have started asking us:
Question: How late will the paddleboard season will run this year?
The long answer: It depends. We love to paddle, and we want to help you get out on the water as long as we possibly can. We’ll be out there until the water gets too cold. After a certain point it is no longer safe to have new paddlers out on the water. If you’re an experienced paddler and want to rent with us after the temps have dropped, just shoot us an e-mail and we’ll make it work.
The short answer: SUP yoga with Nashville Power Yoga will likely run through the end of September and lessons and rentals through the end of October.
If there is anything we love as much as paddling, it is our dogs. So, when opportunity arises, we love to take our dogs out on the boards. We encourage our interested customers to do so, too, so long as they have dogs who like water and have PFDs to fit their pooches. (We love our Glide boards for this purpose. They put up with abuse from canine paddlers.) Local magazine Nashville Paw magazine just published an article (with some awesome photos, if we do say so ourselves. The photo to the left is from the photo shoot with the hard-working Amiee Stubbs.) Check it out for lots of information on how to get your dog started on a board. And then come paddle with us.
This has been a hard decision and discussion over at Nashville Paddle Co., but we have decided not to offer lessons or rentals for new paddlers 4th of July week.
We know that is a week that lots of people will have off and will want to be on the water. But we also know that week is when there are a lot of boaters and Jet Skiers on the water and a lot of people who are drinking and boating. As a result, we don’t think it is safe to teach new paddlers to SUP on those days. If you have rented with us in the past or want to take a board for the week or weekend to a lake house, we’re happy to hook you up. Otherwise, schedule a new paddler lesson for when the holiday madness subsides.
Stand-up paddling can be hard work. Part of the point is that it is a good workout. And running an SUP business, well, that’s even harder work, making sure everyone is safe, staying clear of other folks who want to share the lake, and taking care of equipment and gear and scheduling.
All of that is important, but we also want to have fun. Paddling is fun. Our clients are fun. So, some times we do stuff for no reason other than it is silly and fun and makes us laugh. To wit, last night Justin Bieber came stand-up paddling with us. Book a rental or lesson and see who shows up when you’re on the water. In Music City, you just never know.
I’m in the process of fixing a paddleboard for the second time (same board, crack in a different spot). This isn’t one of the boards in our rental fleet, or even a brand that we carry or paddle. A friend owns this board, and obviously, has had trouble with it, so I’m trying to help her out.
Back before I discovered SUP, I refinished a lot of antique furniture and stripped a lot of paint from old houses, so I find repairing boards somewhat familiar and kind of fun. But, of course, it is more fun to paddle the boards than to fix them.
So, this seems like a good time for a reminder: be careful with the boards out there. Our PaddleFit instructor John Denney calls them 12-foot eggs. While some of our boards, like those from Glide SUP, are more durable than others, they all need to be treated with care.
Here’s our advice:
- Watch hatchbacks and doors.
- Don’t drag boards through gravel.
- Don’t drop boards on the ground.
- If you start to see a small problem, fix it early, rather than waiting until it becomes a big problem
Take care of your boards so you can spend more time on the water and less time in the shop.
We honored Mother Earth this Mother’s Day. Armed with bags donated from the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, we took a group of paddlers, including some from the Cumberland River Compact, out on the water. After some quick instruction, we paddled at the Smith Springs Recreation Area on J. Percy Priest Lake and pulled out debris from the lake’s shores (often there is some debris in the water itself, but the water levels are high, so most of what we found was on the water’s edge).
We found broken boat seats, lawn chairs, beer bottles, bottle caps and milk bottles, not to mention fishing lures and plastic gloves and items that could not be identified (see photo). One of our volunteers took the bags to the dump afterwards.
We love paddling and feel grateful that we have so many access spots in Middle Tennessee. It was great to spend a sunny (if windy) day playing on the lake, but also giving back a little bit. We’ll schedule another clean up day later in the season. Let us know if you want to join us.
Three years ago this weekend I was glued to the TV. I had one eye on the Cumberland, which was rising, causing the Gaylord Opryland hotel to be evacuated. It later flooded. I watched the televised reports, wondering if I should evacuate my house. I packed a bag of essentials. Ultimately, I didn’t leave, but ended up trying to help those who had to.
This week’s rains—nowhere near 2010 levels, but still high and resulting in flooding in some areas—got me thinking again about Middle Tennessee’s rivers. Flood management isn’t a once-and-done solution. It is an ongoing process, balancing development and growth with new sustainable practices, conservation and common sense. One of the reasons that we donate a portion of all our proceeds (not just profits, but all proceeds) to the Cumberland River Compact is to make sure that these important conversations continue.
While May 2010 was a tough month, it was also uplifting. It helped me see how Nashvillians band together and work together when they need to. It helped me feel connected to my adopted home and it helped me clarify the kinds of philanthropic work I wanted to do. I hope that Nashville Paddle Co. can play a small part in helping to address water issues in the future.
One of the most fun things about SUP is meeting the amazing people who are involved with it. In January, when we got PaddleFit certified, we met Baltimore’s Jessie Benson. Next Sunday, April 28, she’ll be a special guest in Music City. With our own Liz Vehyl, Benson will be teaching one of her sought-after FloYo classes, which are combinations of yoga and pilates: on the paddleboard, of course. Register today, because space is limited.
For the first few years when we paddled around Nashville, people looked at the boards on our cars and asked us where we were going surfing. Kayakers and canoers had their events and the few SUPers we knew had theirs.
But things are different now. People shout “paddleboards!” or “YOLO!” when we drive by. We see other paddlers out on the water. And there are lots of paddling events that include people no matter what it is they like to paddle. So, Nashville Paddle Co. was stoked to be asked to participate in the Cumberland River Paddlefest on Saturday, April 13, presented by Paddle Adventures Unlimited. It takes place on Old Hickory Lake (876 Burnett Rd., Old Hickory, TN 37138).
There will be free events and activities for all manner of paddlers, canoe, kayak and SUP. Lots of clubs and non-profits who do work on our waterways, including TSRA and the Cumberland River Compact (to whom we donate a portion of our proceeds) will be there, too. Come join us!