Watersports find home at marina

New venture provides paddleboards and kayaks at Oak Bay Marina

  • Jun. 30, 2015 7:00 p.m.

Steve Sinclair

Kayaks fill a new dock courtesy of Ocean River Adventures, while the next dock over holds two locked-up rowboats, and empty spaces where two others are already out on the water.

The newest vessels are a part of a branching out, and bringing people in at the Oak Bay Marina.

“We’re becoming a very community-oriented marina,” Oak Bay Marina GM Steve Sinclair said. “We want to be part of the community and get people involved because it brings people into the area.”

Ocean River hosted a soft launch on Father’s Day.

“It was just getting folks out to kayak, to let everybody know they’re going to be in the marina here,” said Sinclair.

The first full weekend of summer marked the official launch, with stand-up paddle boards and kayaks heading out on tours and day trips

“You can go out and tour the waterfront, Discovery Island, or the evening tour,” Sinclair said.

The marina was a logical step, said Brian Henry, owner of Ocean River Adventures. It was one he’d even pursued in the past, but then the focus was on Oak Bay Marine Group as a business.

“There really wasn’t an opportunity for other businesses in Oak Bay Marina. The new management has decided to make it more of a community marina, which I think is fantastic,” said Henry, who grew up paddling the waters off Oak Bay.

The success of tours run out of the nearby Oak Bay Beach Hotel, with rave online reviews, makes it more “comfortable” to branch out with the new Oak Bay Paddleshack – an Ocean River Outpost.

“It’s an Ocean River outlet but it really is Oak Bay and we didn’t want to lose that feel,” Henry said. “The neighbours seem to be over the moon. I thought that was so positive.

“It’s a beautiful shoreline to take people and introduce them to kayaking.”

Adjacent to the paddleshack is the Whitehall Rowing dock with its four rentable vessels.

“I’ve not gone out yet, yet being the key point,” Sinclair said, adding it’s a great workout.

And then there are the whales that frequent nearby waters, the ever-present seals and even the birdlife.

Rowing starts with a necessary training session, then club members can buy blocks of time for the boats.

Whitehall also has plans to roll out a stand-up paddle board outfitted with the sliding seat and oars so rowers can soar across the top of the water and get the same workout.

 

“I really think it’s going to be a popular thing once word gets out,” Sinclair said. “We’ve got a great location here.”

 

 

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