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Hilton Head Island Outdoor Vibe

Idle Speed – No Wake

Paddleboarding on Broad Creek

This sign was probably added after paddleboarding was introduced to the Lowcountry

Clearly, that message is posted for the newest vessels in the Lowcountry waters – paddleboards.  All kidding aside, while speed is not at a maximum while SUPing (Stand Up Paddleboarding), you will find a sense of calm, peace and serenity during your SUP journey.

Known as the sport of Hawaiian kings, I, as most probably were, was first introduced to paddleboarding by tabloid magazines publishing photos of A-list celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston, Matt Damon and Cameron Diaz (just to name a few) on their vacations partaking in this new sport.  Now, thanks to Outside Hilton Head, paddleboarding is a staple in the Island waters.

I’m getting the hang of SUPing

As I launched off on my maiden voyage just recently, I thought being fully submerged in Broad Creek was inevitable.  I went prepared in my bathing suit and quick-dry shorts and didn’t pack anything in my pockets that I would cry over losing in the water.  However, I never lost control and went under.  To my surprise, the “starter board” they put me on as a rookie was much sturdier than anticipated and I easily went from paddling on my knees to being upright on my feet.  I even spent some time lounging on my board, relaxing and taking in the beautiful sights – dolphins, pelicans and more.  And, upon my return, I rewarded myself for a successful (a.k.a. dry) trip with a nice, cold and salty Margarita at San Miguel’s in Shelter Cove Harbour.

However, there are more options for paddleboarding than the low-key outing I started with.  Here is a quick rundown on the SUP offerings from Outside Hilton Head:

  • Looking for Zen on the water?  You would enjoy SUP Yoga ($45 per person) as a certified yogi takes you through a 90-minute group session offering core fitness and fun.  Trust me, if I had the ability to touch my own toes, I would give this one a test run.
  • Want a new way to get in your workout?  You should sign up for Paddle Fit ($45 per person).  A stand up paddleboard core fitness program, this is a fun and new approach to staying in shape.  Experience is recommended.
  • Interested in learning about the Lowcountry’s wildlife?  You’ll want Stand Up Nature Walk ($45 per person), a Naturalist-guided tour of the coastal salt march.  As you “walk on water”, this gives you a unique, up close and personal view of our area’s wildlife.

In addition, Outside Hilton Head also offers introductory clinics ($45 per person), private instruction ($40 – $50 per hour) and rentals ($20 per hour).

Enjoy Hilton Head Island's Natural Splendor by Kayak

Renowned Naturalist Todd Ballantine, author of "Tideland Treasure," leads a kayak tour. Photo courtesy Outside Hilton Head.

Outside Hilton Head Hosts Renowned Naturalist Todd Ballantine

With its vast and intricate network of picturesque waterways, there is no better and more relaxing way to experience the natural splendor of Hilton Head Island, or the surrounding Lowcountry, than by kayak. This is particularly true for those who take advantage of expert-led excursions.

 

Thanks to Hilton Head Island’s subtropical and consistently mild climate, kayaking is always in season and some organizations offer tours 365 days of the year.

 

Outside Hilton Head, for example, has been offering a variety of outdoor adventures for 30 years and is well recognized for its range of quality programs, as well as the knowledgeable and passionate professionals who guide them. Experience is generally only required for more lengthy, advanced kayak tours and many are family-friendly enough for children as young as three years of age.

 

On Saturday, June 25, as part of its environmental education distinguished speaker program, Outside Hilton Head will host a very special kayaking opportunity guided by award-winning naturalist Todd Ballantine.

 

Ballantine, an internationally recognized educator, environmental scientist, writer and artist, is the author of “Tideland Treasure,” a Lowcountry field guide, as well as a highly regarded and long running newspaper column, “On Earth,” for which the South Carolina Wildlife Federation presented him a Harry Hampton Award.

 

According to longtime Lowcountry resident and Outside Hilton Head owner Mike Overton, “Todd Ballantine provides what I believe is truly the best nature-based outdoor excursion available in the Hilton Head Island area. His knowledge of the rich nature, history and culture combined with a remarkable ability to convey things in an entertaining and meaningful way is extremely special. Whether you have lived in the Lowcountry for a lifetime or are just visiting, this is an opportunity not to miss.”

 

The Todd Ballantine Kayak Tour, which will run from about 9-11 a.m. and depart from the Outside Hilton Head kiosk in Shelter Cove Marina, will begin with a brief paddling clinic by a certified kayak guide.

 

Then, after an introduction to sea kayaking, Ballantine will lead his informative and educational interpretive nature tour through various creeks and inlets that embrace the area’s coastal marshlands.

 

Following the tour, Ballantine will be available to sign copies of “Tideland Treasures” and proceeds from the program will benefit the “Friends of the Rivers” organization (recently renamed “The Port Royal Sound Foundation”).

 

Space for the Todd Ballantine Kayak Tour is limited. For reservations and additional information, regarding this program or others, please call 1.800.686.6996 or 843.686.6996.

 

You can also find great information, such as FAQ, regarding Outside Hilton Head online, outsidehiltonhead.com, or follow OHH on Facebook: Outside Hilton Head.