Paddle UpPublished 7:15pm Friday, July 5, 2013
River roving, no boat necessary
On hot summer days nothing beckons more than the wide expanse of the Pamlico River and Liane Harsh, owner of Inner Banks Outfitters, said that’s why she’s doing a brisk summer business with kayak and paddleboard rentals.
Harsh said those doing the renting are young, old, couples, entire families — all looking for a fun way to spend the day.
“You just never know who’s going to walk in the door,” Harsh said. “Everyone’s in a good mood, I’ll tell you that. It’s not like going to the dentist.”
Harsh said a lot of Inner Banks Outfitters traffic comes from Greenville, from those looking to get out of town for a “day-cation:” a change of scenery and something a little new and different. In the meantime, they’re beefing up the local economy.
“I see them all the time, the people who come over from Greenville, in town for the day. They stick around and eat at the restaurants too,” she said.
She also finds many of her renters are locals entertaining out-of-town guests by getting them out on the river and taking a dip in the water.
“People go up to Castle Island and go to the beach there,” Harsh said. “You can even go swimming off our stuff — it’s kind of a floating beach.”
Kayaks and paddleboards are not only a good option to access the river, being manpowered they’re also eco-friendly and provide a good physical workout, according to Harsh. Paddleboards, in which paddlers stand upright with a single paddle, are a full-body workout that starts with the art of balancing, Harsh said.
“Kayaking is more upper body—it’s a little more chill. You can relax,” she said. “Right now, probably 40 percent of our business is paddleboard rentals … People see other people doing it and want to try it,” Harsh said.
For those looking to try out kayaking and paddleboarding, Harsh keeps plenty of rentals on hand. While walk-ins are welcome, for the group paddles, reservations are required. Last month’s “supermoon” saw over 50 kayakers braving the rough Pamlico waters during Harsh’s monthly Full Moon Paddle — a gathering of kayaking and paddleboarding aficionados on nights of the full moon, one that’s free to those who bring their own boards.
Harsh said Inner Banks Outfitters’ group paddles are open to everyone as long as they’re mode of transport is human propelled.
“We’re having a great summer,” Harsh said. “Come out and play.”
Inner Banks Outfitters is located at 1050 East Main Street in Washington. For more information about kayak and paddleboard rentals, visit www.innerbanksoutfitters.com or call 252-975-3006.