Could Nalu Standup Paddle & Surf's Inaugural paddle down the Rocky River become as much a rite of spring as swallows returning to Capistrano or buzzards returning to Hinckley?
Sunday five intrepid paddlers set the SUPSquatch, a ginourmous 16' x 10' inflatable paddleboard, into the slightly swollen Rocky River at Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation's South Mastic picnic area and paddled 8 miles through Fairview Park, Cleveland, Rocky River & Lakewood before pulling in at the Emerald Necklace Marina.
Nalu's Bill Cochrane said when they launched they didn't have a complete idea of what they were getting into. "I was pretty surprised we only fell once. Part of that success was having experienced paddlers on-board with proper equipment (helmets, wet-suits, PFDs). One of our paddlers used to do a lot of fly fishing on the Rocky River so he was able to point out challenging places with hidden drop-offs and submerged rocks.'
Cochrane added "I wouldn't recommend that river to someone who wasn't an experienced paddler and was unfamiliar with the Rocky River as the only time the river is high enough to paddle is after a big rain. Some parts of the river changed from six feet to 6 inches deep over a very short distance."
A more relaxed paddle for experienced and novice paddleboarders is Nalu's "Paddles & Pints", a weekly Thursday night excursion where paddlers bring their own board (or rent from Nalu) for a one-hour paddle launched from a few spots (Merwins Wharf on the Cuyahoga River, Wendy Park on Whiskey Island on Lake Erie), followed by a debrief session at a local brewery like Brick & Barrel Brewing, Market Garden, Tremont Taphouse or Nano Brew. Look for Paddles & Pints to begin May 18!
SUPSquatch Rocky River Paddle Photo Gallery
We'll give you one guess at our choice for the video soundtrack!