Shop Talk | Eco-Friendly SUP Shops
By Rebecca Parsons
If we were painters, the ocean would be our palette. As standup paddlers, preserving and protecting the ocean isn't something that is going to occur by happenstance, it’s something that must occupy the forefront of our minds and our decisionmaking. It is our obligation. So when it comes to running a standup paddle shop, there is both a right and wrong way to do things as far as Mother Nature is concerned. The former would apply to these five shops which are committed to conservation, educating their customers, and leaving the smallest footprint possible. -RP
My Aloha Paddle & Surf, Inc.
My Aloha is dedicated to promoting a healthy and ecofriendly lifestyle via the sport of standup paddling. Owner Rob Bennett acknowledges the dwindling number of waterfront access points for paddlers, so he adopted a boating access area to provide an easy entrance for paddlers. Aside from providing rentals and classes, My Aloha works closely with both the Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation and Surfrider Foundation Charlotte Chapter to preserve and maintain local waterways. In addition, My Aloha started its own initiative, Keep LKN Green, through which they promote green activities and clean up local lakes.
SUP Eco Adventures
Melbourne Beach, FL
Located on beautiful Melbourne Beach, SUP Eco Adventures is close enough to be easy access for most tourists, but far enough away to provide an escape from the hustle and bustle. Their eco-tours go out on the Indian River Lagoon, where paddlers have an opportunity to view the local wildlife and learn the unique roles that each species plays within the ecosystem. The shop also gives back to the planet by donating a portion of their proceeds to the protection and conservation of manatees and the Sea Turtle Conservancy.
Key West, FL
At Nomadic SUP, they do things a bit differently. They offer eco-tours that focus on the local wilderness and wildlife; plus a "natural" tour where clothing is optional. Because what better way to be at one with nature than in the nude? They also host Nomadic PUP's (Pick Up Paddles) where a group of paddlers get together and pick up garbage as they paddle their local waterways. They maintain this philosophy on their everyday tours too, with a "pick up as you go" mindset.
Hawaiian Paddle Sports
Kihei, Maui, HI
The motto at Hawaiian Paddle Sports is ‘e mālama i ke kai’ which means 'to care for the ocean.' All of their tours begin with a beach cleanup and guests are offered biodegradable sunscreen and a stainless steel water bottle. The eco-tours and snorkeling trips protect marine life by enforcing a strict no-touch policy. As a result of their efforts, Hawaiian Paddle Sports is the first and only company on Maui to become a Certified B Corporation.
Charleston SUP Safaris
Folly Beach, SC
Charleston SUP Safaris stresses environmentalism from the very get-go with their clients. All bookings are paperless and clients are encouraged to bring a reusable water bottle. Dolphin Safaris run three times a day. On the tour, guides teach paddlers about the local ecosystem and its wide array of inhabitants. They have a "learn by interaction" philosophy-meaning they give clients the chance to be fully immersed in the environment they are learning about. SUP Safaris partners with several organization including Earthforce, in an effort to get kids on the water and participating in environmental stewardship programs.
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