by Betty Bardswich
PROVIDENCE BAY – Just when you thought that the beautiful hamlet of Providence Bay couldn’t get any better, it does.
Already there is the lovely Lake Huron beach, complete with a playground, Mobi mats for wheelchairs and exercise stations. And right near is the Harbour Centre, where one can get an ice cream cone and munchies and see displays featuring the area and its history and culture. There is also the Mutchmor, with a beautiful mural on its main building that offers art, local goods, a café, rental lofts, and a fish and chip restaurant close at hand. You can also grab a bite at Huron Sands Motel and Restaurant. And the residents are the warmest, most welcoming group. So, you think that Prov has it all? Not quite.
That’s because Rob Harrison, of Newbie’s Bay, has set up in town, and he brings fun and exercise. He was quick to tell The Expositor that he was delighted to be in Providence Bay and talked of the outstanding support he received from the people who live there. Mr. Harrison also spoke of the warm welcome he was given by the municipality of Central Manitoulin, especially community development/outreach coordinator Marcus Mohr.
Mr. Harrison is the owner of SUP (StandUpPaddling) Adventures Manitoulin, and he has a large variety of paddleboards for rent. First, there is the iSUP, with an all-around hull constructed for speed and stability. It is a maneuverable and lightweight tri-fin board. Perfect for yoga and paddling and is ideal for all ages.
Next is the SUP, ideal for all levels and again for yoga and working out, fishing, swimming or paddling the distance. And guess what? You can bring your pup with you on this board. As Mr. Harrison says, “On a calm day, paddling around with your pup might be one of the most serene and rewarding things you could do, and we encourage you to. Be aware, though, that we don’t provide pet life jackets.”
Rounding out the boards is a small fleet of craft from highly stable and easy to paddle sit-on-top kayaks to the pinnacle of paddling speed machines, the surfski available to experienced paddlers.
SUP Adventures places high emphasis on the safety and health of its customers and follows measures necessary during COVID-19. All employees will be wearing masks, provide hand sanitizer for customers, and thoroughly disinfect all equipment after each use. Only one group of customers will be served at a time, others will be expected to wait at least two metres away and anyone not following the COVID-19 guidelines will not be allowed to rent. Also, customers should bring their own lifejackets, but disinfected ones will be provided if needed as well as paddles and leashes that have to be worn at all times. As well, renters must carry their boards to and from the water.
The packages included for these fun times on Lake Huron include walk-in hourly rentals with a SUP/kayak safety brief, half-day and daily rentals (SUP only), lessons one on one or same-bubble group sessions (one hour plus one hour free) and a four-pack rental package with a saving of 25 percent. The lessons mentioned are for advanced bookings only.
Payments for the rentals start at $20 an hour, and Visa, Mastercard, debit and cash are accepted. Deposits are necessary for half-day and daily rentals, while hourly rentals are secured with a driver’s licence or similar form of government identification.
Every renter must sign a waiver before using the equipment, and Mr. Harrison strongly suggests that one read and fill out the form online. Go to www.supmanitoulin.ca/about-1 to do so. He also outlines what to bring, including swimwear or functional clothing, sunscreen, water, sunglasses that preferably will be inexpensive and will float and a waterproof, floating case and leash for your phone if you have to take it with you.
Hours of operation for this fun activity are noon to 6 pm Monday through Thursday, and 10 am to 8 pm Friday, weekends and holidays. Mr. Harrison says that it is best to text at 705-507-0286, but one can also email at infosupmanitoulin.ca.
So, there you go, folks. Paddle more, worry less, as Mr. Harrison says. Time to paddle on.