Words by John Streit. Photos by John Streit and Lauren Thompson

On a calm day, the paddle from Surf & Adventure Co. to Blue Pete’s restaurant isn’t a grind-it-out, physically demanding trip on a standup paddleboard. At about 3.5 miles, it’s enough to work up a healthy thirst that the Pungo watering hole is more-than-capable of quenching.

But a steady 25-30 mph west wind threw a wrench in our plans to gather a crew of SUPers and kayakers to make the paddle between the two establishments. The wind flow, while it insured that plenty of water filled our waterway for easy paddling, created a massive amount of resistance for those standing atop their boards, as well as a steady current and 1-foot wind chop headed in the wrong direction of Blue Pete’s.

Regardless of the challenge posed by the windy Sunday, the crew of about 20 paddlers – kindly networked to us by our very good friend Cindy Stokes – decided that an out-and-back paddle from S&A to the mouth of Back Bay would suffice for our first Blue Pete’s Friends Paddle meetup. The original plan had the gang parking at Blue Pete’s before being shuttled back to the shop, where our one-way trip would begin.


But the crew, comprised of both novice and expert paddlers alike, cut through the brisk breeze to complete the three-mile trip. Several of the participants rented everything they needed from head-to-toe with wetsuit gear and SUPs from our rental fleet. Cindy even saw to it that a photographer and writer from Coastal Living Magazine came out to document our journey! We’re excited to see what comes from their visit!

The paddle through the martime forest and brackish marsh yielded awe-inspiring sights, as it usually does. Witnessing the ecosystems in the winter is a unique experience, as a different swath of colors is on display than in the summertime. Green reeds are replaced by the wintertime look of straw, which casts a dramatic contrast on the crisp, clear blue sky.


After the crew tackled the route – and the wind in the process – everyone was primed for a laid-back session of drinks and eats provided by our friends at Blue Pete’s, who were kind enough to open early for our group.


Surf & Adventure Co. and our friends at Freedom Surf will be teaming up to provide more of these kinds of meetups at several awesome paddling sites in Virginia Beach in the coming months, so stay tuned to this blog, our website and our Facebook fan page for the details!

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