Paddling season has official returned in Maine and our paddleboards are finding their happy way back onto roof racks and open water around the state.
And while many of us are content to paddle off with a friend or two for an afternoon on a lake or river, Portland Paddle is hoping to round up area paddlers for some group excursions. They recently launched the Portland Weekly SUP Paddle group on Meetup.com.(For even more fitness meetups in Maine check out our list.)
The meetup is geared toward experienced paddleboarders who’d maybe like to expand their paddling horizons (you know, make new paddling friends, explore more of Casco Bay, brainstorm all the ways to combine paddleboarding with other sports – like paddleboard polo!).
The group meets at 6 p.m. every Tuesday at East End Beach and it’s free to join if you have your own board and PFD. If you don’t, you can rent a board and gear from Portland Paddle for $12.
Last Tuesday (yes, the rainy, 48-degree one) was the inaugural Portland Weekly SUP Paddle.
I’d RSVPed to attend a few weeks earlier, thinking, “It’ll be warm and sunny and perfect paddling weather by June 2!”
It wasn’t. But screw it, we paddled anyway! (If we always waited for Mother Nature to dole out perfect weather conditions, we’d never leave the house, amiright? Besides, it IS paddling season, rain or not.)
We paddled around the Portland peninsula into Portland Harbor, navigating by old pilings and managing to catch the Nova Star as she came into Port. Even with the overcast skies, it’s a stunning view. And I don’t think anyone regretted their decision to paddle in the mist.
It is worth noting, though, that it can only get warmer and sunnier from here! I’m looking forward to many future paddles without cold-water booties! And while we stuck close to the Portland coast for this first jaunt, organizer Zack Anchors says future destinations might include paddles out to Fort Gorges, Mackworth Island or the Presumpscot River Sanctuary. Maybe Back Cove, too.
The weekly meetups continue Tuesdays into September. As noted, the group is intended for paddlers with experience, so if you’ve never been on a paddleboard before or you’re still working on your stability and skills, consider taking a lesson or guided tour instead).