Opening Weekend!

Our opening weekend was busier and more fun than we ever could have imagined!!  We ran a Fort Gorges clean-up with the Maine Island Trail Association, a full Sunset Tour, and a Harbor Tour, and sent out a few renters on kayaks and stand-up paddleboards.  Thanks to all the friends, neighbors, and visitors who came out to support us this weekend - this summer is going to be amazing!

Kayak Clean-up at Fort Gorges!

To celebrate our opening day (and National Trails Day), we're teaming up with the Maine Island Trail Association to host a Fort Gorges paddle clean-up on Saturday, June 1st!  This event is just one small part of MITA's annual bay-wide Casco Bay Clean-Up.  Pay 50% off the price of a half-day kayak rental (that's only $20) or 3-hour SUP rental ($17.50), and join us at 11 am for a group paddle out to the Fort.  We'll clean up for about 2 hours, and then paddle back to the East End Beach together.  To reserve your spot, or if you have any questions, contact us at portlandpaddle@gmail.com.  Bring work gloves if you have them.  The weather should be sunny and calm - we can't wait to see you there!  

YOLO board & Forg Gorges0.JPG

Introducing Portland Paddle Punch Cards!

We've been asked by lots of people recently whether Portland Paddle offers a season pass or some discount program for frequent paddlers. Well, now we do. We just returned from the printing company with some spiffy-looking Portland Paddle Punch Cards that will make it easier and cheaper to rent kayaks and SUPs. 

 It works like this: You buy a punch card that entitles you to ten rentals. The price of the card is significantly less than you'd pay if you bought all ten rentals individually. The cards also streamline the rental process. You won't have to deal with cash or credit cards, and our staff will know which boat or SUP you prefer and which size lifejacket and paddle you use. If you call ahead and let us know you're coming, we can even have your boat on the beach for you ready to go.

When you buy a punch card, you have three options:

1) STAND-UP PADDLEBOARD PUNCH CARD: $150 (2 hours max per rental)
2) SEA KAYAK PUNCH CARD: $250 (3 hours max per rental; tandems get two punches)
3) COMBO PUNCH CARD: $200 (5 kayak rentals, 5 SUP rentals)

We're offering punch cards because we know there are lots of people in Portland who want to paddle Casco Bay regularly but don't have access to a kayak or stand-up paddleboard. Buying your own watercraft is expensive, and it's not easy to store one if you live in an apartment. And then transporting it to the water can be logistically complicated and physically exhausting. Renting is a good alternative, but the cost of renting for frequent paddlers adds up quickly. Our punch cards make renting cheaper and easier. We're hoping that they'll encourage a lot more people to get out on the water regularly. 

Going for a paddle once or twice a week is a great way to keep in shape and to experience the many different sides of Casco Bay. We'll be open every day until 7 PM, so you can stop by after work for a paddle. You can also use your punch card to take out friends or family. 

A note for sea kayakers: Before you buy a punch card, you should be familiar with some self-rescue skills. See our "Frequently Asked Questions" page for more information about what that means. The gist is that you need to know how to get back in your kayak after a capsize before you paddle a kayak on Casco Bay. 

Portland Paddle is Hiring!!

Sea kayaking outfitter now hiring at East End Beach! ($12-$14/hr)

Portland Paddle, a new sea kayaking & SUP outfitter opening in June, is searching for an employee to help run our mobile kayak shop at the East End Beach. Our business will be offering kayak and stand up paddleboard rentals, tours and lessons. This job is a great fit for someone who'd like to spend the summer outdoors and is interested in learning kayaking skills. It's also a great opportunity to take on an important role at a new business.

We're looking for an independent, hard working, and committed individual to take on 25-35 hours per week. Scheduling is flexible. You will work closely with the two owners, but you'll also need to run things on your own eventually, when necessary. You will spend much of your time interacting with customers, so you should be friendly and able to present the business and its services positively.

What the job entails:

  • Helping customers rent from our fleet of 20 kayaks and 7 stand up paddleboards (SUPS).

  • Offering basic safety and skills tips to customers.

  • Taking reservations, in-person and over the phone, for rentals and tours.

  • Carrying and loading kayaks and SUPs (with help).

  • Assisting guides on tours and lessons.

  • Closing and opening the shop.

  • Making important judgment calls regarding safety (for example, turning away customers if thunderstorms seem likely).

Qualifications:

  • Easy-going, with a good sense of humor.

  • Interested in spending lots of time outdoors.

  • Available from June through August, and September if possible.

  • Kayaking skills are not necessary, but you should be enthusiastic about learning kayaking skills and passing those skills on to customers.

  • First aid or lifeguard certification is helpful, but not required.

Compensation:

  • $12 to $14 per hour, depending on experience.

  • Free use of kayaks and SUPs (with advance notice).

To Apply:

  1. Take a look at our website so you understand a bit more about us.

  2. Send your resume and a brief cover letter that describes your relevant experience and interest in the job to portlandpaddle@gmail.com by April 30th. (Also let us know if there are any specific times that you are not available to work). 

(We are also looking for Registered Maine Guides to lead kayaking trips part-time; email us for more info at portlandpaddle@gmail.com)

The Story Behind Portland Paddle

We've always wondered why Portland, which is probably one of the best cities for sea kayaking in the country, lacks any businesses that rent kayaks on its mainland waterfront. The city is a short paddle from some incredible kayaking destinations in Casco Bay, and  the protected waters near the waterfront are great for inexperienced paddlers. Within a few hours, for example, it's possible to paddle from the East End Beach to rugged  Jewell Island, where you can camp out on a  beach flanked by cliffs facing the open ocean. Or you can hop in a kayak and ramble along the harbor, checking out the cityscape and working waterfront. There are so many islands in Casco Bay and so much to explore that the potential destinations and route options are pretty much infinite.

We wanted to share the awesome kayaking potential of Casco Bay with our friends and neighbors here in Portland. So we decided to start Portland Paddle. Starting in June 2013, you'll be able to head to the East End Beach, rent a kayak or SUP, take a kayaking lesson or join a guided kayaking trip. The entire bay is yours to explore -- by kayak or SUP. 

The East End Beach seemed like the perfect spot to base Portland Paddle. It's an easily-accessible and convenient site, a short walk or bike ride for many Portlanders and right off I-295 for others. The beach makes it easy to launch, and the relatively protected waters nearby are great for first-time paddlers and for learning. It's also near the beginning of the 350-mile Maine Island Trail, which extends the length of the Maine coast to Machias. Basically, the beach is a great kayaking spot for just about anyone --  from expert kayakers launching ambitious expeditions to novice paddlers who just want to spend some time on the water and maybe spot a seal or reel in a striper.

We hope Portland Paddle becomes a hub for the sea kayak and SUP community in Southern Maine and a gateway for anyone interested in trying out the sport or experiencing Casco Bay.  We will open for business during the first week of June. In the meantime, feel free to shoot us an email at portlandpaddle@gmail.com or call us at 207-370-9730.

Hope to see you on the water soon!

Zack Anchors and Erin Quigley