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The Story Behind Portland Paddle

a boat floating along a river next to a body of water

We’ve always wondered why Portland, which is probably one of the best cities for sea kayaking in the country, lacks any businesses that rent kayaks on its mainland waterfront. The city is a short paddle from some incredible kayaking destinations in Casco Bay, and  the protected waters near the waterfront are great for inexperienced paddlers. Within a few hours, for example, it’s possible to paddle from the East End Beach to rugged  Jewell Island, where you can camp out on a  beach flanked by cliffs facing the open ocean. Or you can hop in a kayak and ramble along the harbor, checking out the cityscape and working waterfront. There are so many islands in Casco Bay and so much to explore that the potential destinations and route options are pretty much infinite.

We wanted to share the awesome kayaking potential of Casco Bay with our friends and neighbors here in Portland. So we decided to start Portland Paddle. Starting in June 2013, you’ll be able to head to the East End Beach, rent a kayak or SUP, take a kayaking lesson or join a guided kayaking trip. The entire bay is yours to explore — by kayak or SUP.

The East End Beach seemed like the perfect spot to base Portland Paddle. It’s an easily-accessible and convenient site, a short walk or bike ride for many Portlanders and right off I-295 for others. The beach makes it easy to launch, and the relatively protected waters nearby are great for first-time paddlers and for learning. It’s also near the beginning of the 350-mile Maine Island Trail, which extends the length of the Maine coast to Machias. Basically, the beach is a great kayaking spot for just about anyone —  from expert kayakers launching ambitious expeditions to novice paddlers who just want to spend some time on the water and maybe spot a seal or reel in a striper.

We hope Portland Paddle becomes a hub for the sea kayak and SUP community in Southern Maine and a gateway for anyone interested in trying out the sport or experiencing Casco Bay.  We will open for business during the first week of June. In the meantime, feel free to shoot us an email at or call us at 207-370-9730.

Hope to see you on the water soon!

Zack Anchors and Erin Quigley

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