Stand Up Paddleboarding On Martha’s Vineyard — Nighttime Adventure On Oak Bluffs Harbor

Stand Up Paddleboarding With Lights At Night In Oak Bluffs Harbor - LED SUPMany people may not know this, but I am not the most “outdoorsy” person, which is somewhat sad, since I live in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  So, for Summer 2013, I have been making a conscious effort to get out and do more, and take advantage of the Island.

I hike the trails a bit now, and I even did SUP (stand up paddleboarding). But not just any SUP — nighttime paddleboarding with LED lit paddle boards!  Watch out MV – I am on the move.

For months, Chick (Carolyn Stapleton) who owns Island Spirit Kayak, has been trying to get me to go on one of the LED SUP trips, which are new this year.  She has been telling me how much fun and how easy it is.

But I have to admit I’ve been putting it off week after week because I was nervous about trying it.  I didn’t want to fall in the water and embarrass myself.  Finally, I realized, I just had to do it.

Getting Ready For The Stand Up Paddleboard Adventure At Oak Bluffs HarborSo, I gathered a group of friends together, and I booked a time.  I was committed!  At 8:15 p.m., we all met at the Oak Bluffs town boat ramp.  Start time really depends on the sunset time, but you usually start when it’s light out, so everyone can get a good command of the basics of paddleboarding.

Island Spirit Kayak Owner, Carolyn "Chick" StapletonIf you’ve ever met Chick, you know she is so sweet and so funny.  She knew that the women in our party, Wendy, Nicole, and myself, were a little nervous about the whole thing.  She was really supportive and definitely put me at ease.

Eventhough it’s SUP — it’s so much cooler!  Our boards were fitted with high intensity LED lights that illuminate the water underneath which gives you a glimpse into the wildlife, and makes you look something like a floating UFO from the distance.

All I could think about when getting on the board was how much people are going to laugh at me when I fall in, but I was excited just the same. Starting on my knees, I quickly got comfortable enough to stand.

It was a little windy but completely manageable.  As we paddled across the harbor, heading towards the dock by Nancy’s, we all got in our own rhythm, and were doing quite well, and I hadn’t fallen yet.

It was getting darker and it was so cool to be seeing the Oak Bluffs harbor from this vantage point, passing quietly by sailboats and motor boats, seeing the cars pass by, and the restaurants full of light and activity across the way.  It was really relaxing and fun.  I was enjoying it more than I thought I would.

Hanging Out On The Paddleboards By Nancy's Restaurant On The Oak Bluffs HarborOnce we made our way over to the dingy dock by Nancy’s, we all paddled towards the dock, got on our knees, and got together as a group.  It was time to connect, talk about the event, and have a drink.

Another cool thing about the nighttime tour is that Chick has glow-in-the-dark Island Spirit Kayak cups.  So, we’ve got our LED lit boards and our glowing cups — we are totally where the party’s happening on the harbor.

We were laughing and just taking in the experience.  People kept coming down and asking us about what we were doing.

I have to say, it must look pretty cool watching us on the water.  We all got back up and paddled around the harbor some more, passing Coop deVille, where we paused for a couple of pictures.

Then it was time to head back to the boat launch.  This was my favorite part of the trip.  By this time it was dark out, and I was completely comfortable on the paddleboard.  It was amazing to see under the water with the LED lights.  The water was clear, and the harbor was quiet.

I was completely lost in the moment, taking it all in, marveling at the beauty of the water and the harbor.  I took my time getting back because I didn’t want it to end.  I felt as though I could have stayed out there for the whole night.

Seeing the water and the harbor from a paddleboard made it seem like a special place.  I usually don’t appreciate the harbor for its beauty, but tonight I did.  Oh and by the way — I didn’t fall!  SUP is SUPer easy, and if I can do it, anyone can do it!

LED SUP is a must whether you live here, Summer here, or are visiting for the weekend.  There is nothing quite like it.  Being on a LED paddleboard in Oak Bluffs harbor is one of those unforgettable experiences.  It is just plain awesome.

The End of Our SUP Adventure On Oak Bluffs Harbor With Island Spirit KayaksFor the LED SUP tours, you have to be 12 years or older.  It’s $65 per person and is about an hour long.  I wore shorts and a t-shirt over a bathing suit, but didn’t go into the water.  However, lots of people jump in afterwards — totally up to you.

We did however conlude our water adventure at Donovan’s Reef with a couple of Dirty Bananas.  Is that what vacation is like?  I can get used to this!

Also, Island Spirit, which has been around for 13-years, offers so much more.  I know you’ve seen its office over by State Beach with all the kayaks and SUP’s, but did you know that you can take an overnight kayak trip to Cuttyhunk?

You paddle around Penikese, fish in Quick’s Hole, and grill lobsters at sunset overlooking Aquinnah light.  Don’t worry, you don’t sleep in the kayak, you get to stay at a fishing club that has hosted past presidents.  Now that sounds like an adventure, but I think I have to work up to something like this.

As Chick says: Happy Paddling!

Thanks for reading On Point.  You can learn more about the adventures Island Spirit Kayak offers on Facebook or their website.  They have great things for kids to do too!  Speaking of social media, don’t forget to  “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on TwitterLinked InPinterest and YouTube.

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