Make a Splash

Grab a paddle and a board for wet and wild adventures this summer


Spending a day at the beach is the water-related activity most readily associated with this part of our state. Even so, Rhode Island’s coastline wouldn’t be the beloved summer destination that it is if it weren’t teeming with other options for getting out onto the water. Here are some of our favorite ways to get off the sand in South County.

There’s a calming allure to paddling in a kayak on a sunny day, and with a setting like the Narrow River running through Narragansett, it’s nearly impossible to step into a kayak and not feel relaxed.

“I’ve lived around and boated and swam in Narrow River most of my life. I think it’s a wonderful place,” reflects Narrow River Kayaks’ owner Jason Considine. “I enjoy showing it to people and giving them a way to get out on the water, whether they’re from the area or coming from farther away.”

Narrow River Kayaks offers paddlers a multitude of daily and multi-day kayak rental options and group outings. Considine and company also understand that continuing to enjoy Narrow River requires a respect for its pristine ecology. This environmental consciousness has motivated the development of Narrow River Kayaks’ eco-tours, led by a master naturalist who expertly caters the tours to all ages.

“It’s a really diverse natural location,” Considine explains. “People are amazed at how beautiful it is, and at the peacefulness of the wildlife refuge. They come back feeling relaxed and wanting to go again.”

Other Ways to Kayak
Adventure Watersports: Jamestown, NewportRIWaterSports.com
East Coast Paddle Sports: Wakefield, ECPaddleSports.com
Island Surf & Sport: Newport, IslandSurfAndSport.com
The Kayak Centre: Wickford and Charlestown, KayakCentre.com
Jamestown Outdoors: Jamestown, JamestownOutdoors.com
Paddle Surf RI: Watch Hill, PaddleSurfRI.com
The Purple Ape: Westerly, PurpleApe.com
Rhode Island Paddle Sports: East Greenwich, RIPaddleSports.com
Watch Hill Outfitters: Westerly, WatchHillOutfitters.com

Photo courtesy of The Kayak Centre

Stand-up Paddleboarding
Summer might easily be the best time of year to pick up a new hobby, especially one that gets you out on the water. For the folks at The Kayak Centre, the philosophy of teaching their customers a new and exciting passion has guided the integration of stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) into their business.

“We were an instructional company before we were a retail company,” says owner Jeff Shapiro. “We have something for everybody who wants to get on a paddleboard.”

He isn’t exaggerating. Several different boards are available for rent at either of the Centre’s locations in Wickford and Charlestown, including standard boards, sleeker touring boards, and foot-propelled Hobie pedal boards. On top of that, the Centre hosts SUP classes for paddlers of all skill levels, SUP yoga classes, and guided paddling tours to get patrons out exploring

“People don’t always appreciate how beautiful southern Rhode Island is. Standing up on the board gives you a different perspective on things,” Shapiro explains. “Exploring the waterways that way is different from any other experience.”

Other Ways to SUP
Adventure Watersports: Jamestown, NewportRIWaterSports.com
East Coast Paddle Sports: Wakefield, ECPaddleSports.com
Island Surf & Sport: Newport, IslandSurfAndSport.com
Jamestown Outdoors: Jamestown, JamestownOutdoors.com
Narragansett Surf & Skate: Narragansett, NarragansettSurfAndSkate.com
Narrow River Kayaks: Narragansett, NarrowRiverKayaks.com
Paddle Surf RI: Watch Hill, PaddleSurfRI.com
Rhode Island Paddle Sports: East Greenwich, RIPaddleSports.com
Warm Winds Surf Shop: Narragansett, WarmWinds.com

Jet Skiing
Sometimes you need to dial it up a notch. Enter the jet ski: a machine perfect for devil-may-care adrenaline seekers and water enthusiasts alike. Tucked on a side street by Misquamicut State Beach lies The Purple Ape, a one-stop water sport shop.

“I get people that have never been on a jet ski before in their life, and by the end of the trip, they’re flying around and they love it,” reflects owner Tom Jasulavic, who has been guiding jet skiers around Westerly waters for years. “Everybody has a great time.”

Purple Ape patrons can rent by the half hour or by the hour, and hour-long renters have the option of cruising around Winnapaug Pond or on the open ocean. Although the kick of a jet ski might seem nerve-wracking, Jasulavic is dedicated to ensuring that his riders feel safe and comfortable.

“It’s very rare that someone gets on one and decides that they can’t do it,” Jasulavic explains. “I’d say every time they get on and go out, they’re so glad they did it. They say it’s the best time they ever had, and they end up becoming repeat customers.”

Other Ways to Jet Ski
Adventure Watersports: Jamestown, NewportRIWaterSports.com

Photo courtesy of Peter Pan Surfing Academy

Talk to Peter Pan, local surf instructor and Rhode Island surfing legend, and he’ll convince you there’s no need to leave the state for world-class surfing.

“This is the best surfing in the world, as far as I’m concerned,” says Pan – pretty high praise from a guy who has caught waves everywhere from the Jersey shore to Queensland, Australia.

Pan shares his passion for big waves with anyone willing to hop on a board through his Peter Pan Surfing and SUP Academy in Narragansett. Water enthusiasts looking to learn how to hang ten can choose from a range of opportunities, from private and group lessons to several-day surfing camps. And when Pan says they cater to everybody, he means it – he’s taught surfers as young as four and surfers in their seventies. His academy is based out of Narragansett Surf & Skate Shop, where more experienced surfers can rent boards and gear and head out on their own.

Pan’s teaching philosophy is all about having fun, and nothing keeps him going more than seeing someone who’s been bitten by the surfing bug. He reflects, “I get people coming back, 10, 15 years later, saying, ‘You got me surfing, and now my kids are surfing.’ That’s pretty cool for me.”

Other Ways to Surf
Island Surf and Sport: Newport, IslandSurfAndSport.com
Paddle Surf RI: Watch Hill, PaddleSurfRI.com
Warm Winds Surf Shop: Narragansett, WarmWinds.com