WESTPORT, Conn. -- Despite the persistent dirty snow piles and typically unpredictable late winter weather, DownUnder Kayaking in Westport has summer on its mind.
With locations on the Five Mile River in Rowayton and the Saugatuck River in Westport, DownUnder allows outdoor enthusiasts the chance to explore local waterways via paddle boards and kayaks.
Although both the air and water temperatures remain unseasonably cold, owner Kim Beaumont says, “We are offering various ways to prepare for the season, and offer ways to start using the muscles needed for paddling.”
To strengthen core muscles and help build cardio for paddlers, DownUnder has partnered with JoyRide Cycling in Westport. Cycling and paddle boarding use several similar muscle groups and offer a chance for practitioners of both to learn more about the other.
“The principle of these classes is to help the spinning community become more aware of the surf and SUP community, and the surf and SUP community become more aware of spinning as an exercise” Beaumont says.
DownUnder also plans its first ever board buy-back program in April, where loyal customers are able to sell back old boards in exchange for new shop inventory.
Find a board that catches your eye but want to try it out before you commit? Beaumont and her staff offer demo days, where perspective board buyers are able to “test drive” board to get a feel for their performance.
However, those looking to get on the water as soon as mercury begins to climb may need to wait longer than normal, Beaumont says.
DownUnder follows the Association of Paddlers guideline that safe paddling conditions are met only when combined air and water temperature eclipse 120 degrees. With water temperatures hovering at about 40 degrees and some days the air only a few degrees higher, recreation paddling, even with a wetsuit, is still some weeks away.
When the warmth finally settles in for good, expect more people than ever before taking up their paddles.
“We’ve had three times the number of people sign up for camps as they have in the past, and have sold more boards to date than we have last year,” Beaumont says.
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