Surfing … with a Paddle?

Get up, stand up on a paddleboard

Let’s face it. Surfing is not for everyone. So if your dreams of becoming the next Kelly Slater don’t seem to be happening anytime soon, why not try a more user-friendly way to ride the waves? If you thought Jesus looked cool walking on water, wait until you hop on a paddleboard.

Paddleboards are heavier and longer than surfboards, making for a larger surface area (10-14 feet long, 27-29 inches wide) that allows you to stand up in dead flat water. Unlike surfing, in which one needs the momentum from waves to stand up, one can paddleboard virtually anywhere: rivers, lakes, into the heart of darkness — whatever floats your board.

“It’s really not that difficult to learn if you’re new to the sport,” says David Camferdam from the Half-Moon Outfitters Store in West Ashley. “As long as you have a good sense of balance and a good attitude, you should be fine.”

You can rent directly through Half-Moon Outfitters for $40 per day. Oli Nah is another good option, with rentals starting at $50 per half-day and 90-minute lessons starting at $75. Charleston Watersport Outfitters offers rentals and lessons for $50. —Nick Rosser

Paddleboarding Rentals/Lessons

Charleston Watersport Outfitters

1547 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant

(843) 884-9098

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Half-Moon Outfitters

425 Coleman Blvd., Mt. Pleasant

(843) 881-9472

280 King St., Downtown

(843) 853-0990

94 Folly Road Blvd., West Ashley

(843) 556-6279

Oli Nah

1204 Palm Blvd., Isle Of Palms

(843) 886-3337

Surf the Earth

47 Da Gullah Way

Pawleys Island

(843) 235-3500

Time for a Trip

Slip into a kayak and explore Charleston’s waterways

There just might be no better way to enjoy Charleston than to hop on a kayak and explore the coastline.

Coastal Expeditions offers half-day (3 hrs.) and full-day (6 hrs.) trips, multi-day excursions, kayak rentals, and instruction. Full-day excursions include the black water creeks of a cypress swamp in Francis Marion National Forest, the old canals of abandoned rice fields in the ACE Basin National Wildlife Refuge, and the waters around the Cape Romain National Wildlife Refuge.

Feel like taking on the wilderness alone? In addition to offering full-day, half-day, and multi-day excursions, Nature Adventures Outfitters allows you to self-guide your own expedition and will help you plan the equipment, supplies, camping permits, tide preparation, and emergency provisions to make your trip complete. If you’re not brave enough for a completely solo trip, half-guided tours are also available that allow you to paddle out to your campsite with a guide and paddle back to civilization on your own the next day.

If you’re looking for some solid instruction, Sea Kayak Carolina may be your best bet. In addition to offering daily paddling tours, they also specialize in a wide array of open-water training workshops and lessons. They don’t have two person kayaks, however. Take note that all of these companies plan expeditions and lessons based on your individual paddling experience. That means no experience necessary, folks. —Nick Rosser

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Coastal Expeditions

Shem Creek Maritime Center

514-B Mill St., Mt. Pleasant

(843) 884-7684

Folly Beach

2223-A Folly Road, James Island

(843) 406-0640

Isle of Palms Marina

41st Ave., Isle of Palms

(843) 886-9590

Nature Adventures Outfitters

1 Seafood Drive, Mt. Pleasant

(800) 673-0679

Sea Kayak Carolina

1731 Signal Point Road, James Island

(843) 225-7969

Ride the Waves

Although the waves in these parts aren’t the most impressive, they’re ideal for the novice surfer —Chris Haire

Air Company

Lesson: Kiteboarding

1313 Long Grove Drive, Mt. Pleasant

(843) 388-9300


Lesson: Surfing

1101 Ocean Blvd,. Isle of Palms

(843) 886-9845

Charleston Watersport Outfitters

Lessons: Surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding

1547 Johnnie Dodds Blvd., Mt. Pleasant

(843) 884 9098

Folly Beach Shaka School

Lesson: Surfing

6 Street East, Folly Beach

(843) 607-9911


Lessons: Surfing, wind surfing, kite surfing

1204 Palm Blvd., Isle Of Palms

(843) 886-3337

Sol Surfers Surf Camp

Lesson: Surfing

1170 Lazy Lane, Mt. Pleasant

(843) 884-9098

Surf the Earth

Lessons: Surfing, paddleboarding

47 Da Gullah Way

Pawleys Island

(843) 235-3500

Get Your Sea Legs On

If “motorboating” at the bars isn’t getting you anything but a restraining order, try the ocean. Charleston offers a wide array of motorboat tours, sailing excursions, and deep-sea fishing charters that are designed to satisfy any sailor’s love for the sea. Not extreme enough? Jet-skiing may be your best bet, but make sure you leave the urine drinking and sea jousting to Kevin Costner. —Nick Rosser

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Charter Boats

Absolute Reel Screamer

1027 Ocean View Road, James Island

(843) 270-4464

Atlantic Offshore

1413 Shrimp Boat Lane, Mt. Pleasant

(843) 884-7486

Captain Ivan’s Sport Fishing

805 Duck Hawk Retreat, James Island

(843) 762-2020

Charleston Fishing

1407 Shrimpboat Lane, Mt. Pleasant

(843) 881-9735

Hot Shot Charters

95 Ripley Pointe Drive, West Ashley

(843) 209-1630

Inshore Fishing

2223 Folly Road, James Island

(843) 860-5176

Knot at Work Fishing Charters

85 Rivers Point Row, James Island

(843) 442-7224

Shem Creek Charters

100 Church St., Mt. Pleasant

(843) 856-4090

High Speed Boating

Thriller Charleston

Ripley Light Marina

Ashley Point Road

(843) 276-4203

View Boating, Sailing, Eco-Tours in a larger map


Captain Jack’s Sailing Charters

605 E. Arctic Ave., Folly Beach

(843) 588-2823


Barrier Island Eco-Tours

50 41st Ave., Isle of Palms

(843) 886-5000

Water-skiing and Wakeboarding, Jet Ski/Waverunner Rentals

Extreme Jet Ski Rentals

200 W. Arctic Ave., Folly Beach

(843) 270-7474

H2Osmosis Sports

3050 Marlin Road, Johns Island

(843) 793-4470

Tidal Wave Watersports

Isle of Palms Marina

69 41st Ave., Isle of Palms

(843) 886-8456

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