When Stand Up Paddle became a thing, I was determined to give it a go. And I did, for several years until my shoulder gave out. Even with rotator cuff surgery well behind me, my enthusiasm for the sport waned. It seemed more like work than fun. But I loved the feeling of freedom and the view that SUP provides, bobbing along on a gentle wake.
If you’re itching for a solo trip before summer’s end (and have shoulder issues), here’s your answer: the Hobie Eclipse. This genius alternative to a standard surfboard is kitted out with handlebars and an elliptical-like device. You hop on the sturdy longboard, place your feet on the pedals, and off you go. It’s the simplest thing, and faster than paddling.
They’re not available for rent at all outfitters, but they are part of the fleet at Three Belles Marina in Niantic. My intern, Georgia, and I headed over on a sunny afternoon. After supplying us with life jackets, the helpful staffer told us everything we needed to know: squeeze the hand brake to turn left or right and don’t tilt (even though it feels natural to do so).
We pedaled happily around Smith Cove and into the neck of Niantic River, utterly pleased with ourselves and getting a quad workout at the same time. Three Belles even provided us with a clear plastic pouch for my phone to snap away without worry.
Good to know: Reservations for the Hobie Eclipse are a must and ask specifically for them. Cost: 2 hours $50. Plenty of standard SUPs and kayaks are at the ready, too.
Also available for those that prefer sitting to standing on the water are pedal-powered kayaks and sailing kayaks for one or two. Three Belles offers sunset kayak tours on Sundays. Check their online calendar.
Interested in purchasing your own kayak or paddleboard? Three Belles sells its fleet at the end of the summer to replenish with new boards next year. Email RENTALS@ThreeBellesOutfitters.com to inquire.
For more information and to reserve: threebellesoutfitters.com
113 Oswegatchie Hills Road in Niantic