By Brian Lichterman | Sports Editor
Over the last decade paddleboarding has become an incredibly popular sport with people of all ages, interests, and physical ability. You can tour around Back Bay, weave between the boats in the harbor, and even head out to the open ocean to ride some waves. Regardless of your paddling skill level, Pirate Coast Paddle Co. has a program for you.
Trying to catch this wave of popularity are Newport entrepreneurs Tim Lukei, Mark Oehlman, and Terence Ngo, three best friends who grew up together and absolutely love the ocean and this sport. Less than a year ago, they started the Pirate Coast Paddle Co., offering paddle gear and lessons out of the Newport Aquatic Center on the Back Bay.
Together the three have many years of experience paddling and spend almost every single day on the water. Their main goal, along with enjoying the water and engaging in a fun, healthy activity, is to bring people together and unite the community through paddleboarding. They also donate part of their proceeds to charity as well as holding paddling events to benefit other charities. During one such event they managed to raise $5,300 for a group that works to get clean drinking water in Africa.
The Pirate Coast Paddle Co. offers a buccaneer kid’s camp, private, semi-private, and group lessons, and their main attraction: daily excursions.
The kid’s camps are an opportunity for children to learn the sport of standup paddleboarding from a professional team of instructors who will teach them all the basics of balance, control, steering skills, and paddle stroke. The children also learn about water safety and marine life. Other activities in the camps include paddles to nearby beaches, treasure hunts, capture the flag, and many other beach games.
A spring break camp schedule will be announced on the company’s website soon.
Lessons, like in any sport, are extremely helpful when starting out. Private lessons offer the most instruction, but if those seem too intimidating you can take a semi-private lesson with a companion or friend, or group lessons with three or more paddlers. Lessons are done in the calm of Back Bay.
Corporate events and social excursions are really what Pirate Coast is all about. Co-founder Lukei said, “We’ll pretty much do any type of trip, within reason.”
Safety is a crucial part of paddling, but as long as precautions are taken, the sky’s the limit. Excursions include, but aren’t limited to, paddles to restaurants along the water and nearby beaches, sunrise and sunset paddles, full moon paddles in the summer, and even beach picnics. The excursions are usually launched from the NAC, but some start at the 18th Street beach on the Peninsula.
For more information, visit Pirate Coast Paddle Company’s website at http://www.piratecoastpc.com/.