Fall paddle on Back Bay with Norfolk State University

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Autumn afternoons on Back Bay Virginia like the one these Norfolk State University students and faculty experienced tell the story of a coastal estuary in transition. As a result, wildlife sightings have been ample and fall colors are becoming more prominent as the season holds on to its last few warm days before the winds of winter arrive. Migratory birds are buzzing south along the Atlantic Flyway, which aligns perfectly with our waterway. Winding through the northern portion of Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge, the tributary offers a complete cross-section of the watershed’s natural environment from maritime forest to marsh to open water. For more information and to book your group outing on our scenic stretch of sheltered, flat water, call us at (757) 721-6210 or follow this link. Thanks to NSU’s Living-Learning Communities coordinator Patrisha Aregano for bringing the crew down to Sandbridge! Photos by John Streit.

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Flashback Friday: Autumn Paddle on Back Bay

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Photos by Shaun Devine. Words by John Streit.

This set of photos flashes us back to our current season — autumn — a few years back for a photo shoot in Muddy Creek for our Surf & Adventure/Ocean Rentals annual guide book. Fall time on Back Bay is a special time of year when the brisk, cool air ushers in golden tones as the leaves change color and the sun takes a lower angle toward resting in the west. The vibrant, lush greens of summer give way to the straw hues of plant life gone dormant until their annual springtime resurgence. With pleasant air temperatures and the water still warm from ample summer sunshine, there’s arguably no better way to enjoy our region’s secret season than renting a kayak or standup paddleboard and striking out on your own Back Bay adventure. Or, allow us to show you the unique flora and fauna of the watershed on a guided tour for added insight!

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August Paddling Tours

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Sit on top and sit inside kayaks, canoes, and stand up paddle boards (SUP) for rental at our boat dock in Sandbridge.

Photos & words by John Streit.

Summer is in full swing and our Back Bay paddling tours have been cruising off our boat dock nearly every morning so far this month! We’ve been fortunate enough to have our stormy start to summer give way to beautiful, classic midsummer weather — though not as hot and humid as we are used to seeing in August. While the occasional overcast sky has come along with the cooler temperatures, those conditions offer some of the most comfortable paddling and best opportunities for wildlife viewing as the critters — especially the aquatic mammals such as minks, river otters and muskrats — ditch the shade of the marsh for open waters. We’ve also been receiving fly-bys by our nation’s iconic symbol: the American Bald Eagle!

It’s also been great to be a highlight of many family vacations for visitors of both Sandbridge and the Virginia Beach Oceanfront. We’ve even had plenty of locals making the most of their daycations on the water with us! Enjoy these photos of our recent standup paddleboarding and kayak tours.

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Group Lunch Box Kayak Tour with FRG

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Photos & words by John Streit.

There’s just something special about leaving the city hustle behind for a couple hours by paddling off the boat dock at our 577 Sandbridge Road location. The ever-present sounds of the town are replaced by the serene songs of redwing blackbirds and wind blowing through the reeds as you paddle further into Sandbridge Marsh. It’s hard to believe you’re still well within Virginia Beach’s city limit as you see osprey soaring overhead and minks inquisitively swimming around your kayak. Yet, it’s all right here, just minutes from the parking lot of Surf & Adventure Co!

These were the scenes that unfolded on a group Lunch Box Kayak Tour with the Family Readiness Group on a recent, sun-drenched, summer afternoon. There’s arguably no better setting for a team building or family bonding event than becoming immersed in the nature that we’re so blessed to have back up to our property. Paddling our double kayaks requires a bit of teamwork, so the activity lends itself well to building a sense of mutual reliance with the your paddling partner. The breath-taking transition of maritime forest to marsh to the open waters of Back Bay offers the paddler a true cross-section of our region’s back water ecology.

A Lunch Box Kayak Tour is just one of the many way you can take advantage of this awesome natural treasure. We offer many other kayak tour options, as well as rentals off of our boat dock starting at $25 for departures between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m., with a final return time of 5 p.m. for the day.

Enjoy these glimpses of the FRG Lunch Box Kayak Tour. For more information on group tour discounts and to book your next group outing, call us at (757) 721-6210 or shoot us an email at surfandadventure@gmail.com.

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Smiles for Miles on Back Bay!

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Photos & words by John Streit.

While we approach every family’s Surf & Adventure experience with the utmost passion and enthusiasm, it’s always a treat when influential members of our community choose to hit the water with us. That was the case last week, when Dr. Bill and Kathy Magee — founders of the global, Virginia Beach-based medical nonprofit Operation Smile — brought their big, happy family down to Sandbridge for our famous Back Bay Eco Tour! Comprised of the elder Magees, several of their children and many more grandkids — 21 in all — the crew was stoked to take on our three-mile track down our waterway and into the open waters of North Bay. Youthful energy and adventurous spirits ran high as we made the paddle through the maritime forest into the open marsh and open water. Some of the resident critters decided to put on a show for the Magees, as we spotted turtles, snakes, muskrats, red wing blackbirds, purple martins, vultures, osprey and even a pair of bald eagles soaring over the marsh in the bluebird skies.

The Magees founded Operation Smile in 1982 after visiting the Philippines and witnessing the remarkably high concentration of cleft lips and palettes in the local population — most of which in poverty-stricken, rural areas. Since then, Operation Smile has steadily grown into one of the world’s most celebrated and recognized nonprofit organizations for their tireless work in improving the lives of their patients — free of charge — around the globe. The Magees have been the recipients of numerous awards and honors including the first $1 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize in 1996, the Servants of Peace Award in 1997, the Golden Plate Award and Kellogg’s Hannah Neil World of Children Award in 1999, and in 2001 the Common Wealth Award of Distinguished Service and the Antonio Feltrinelli Prize for Exceptional Endeavors of Outstanding Moral and Humanitarian Value by the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. In 2007, USAID presented the Magees with the President’s Call to Service Award from President George W. Bush. In addition, Kathy Magee was highlighted in November 2009 in US News & World Report’s issue “America’s Best Leaders.”

We would like to offer huge thanks to the Magees for their incredible contribution to humanity — not to mention bringing the family down for a good time on the water!

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Beat the Heat: Blue Pete’s Dinner Tour

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Photos & words by John Streit.

We invite you to join us on the waters of Back Bay for a late afternoon paddle from Surf & Adventure’s boat dock into Pungo’s Muddy Creek to one of the area’s best restaurants: Blue Pete’s! As we’ve been dealing with a scorching heat wave, staying as cool as possible has become an important part of daily life — and kayaking is no exeception.

In my opinion, the best paddling tours S&A hosts are its Blue Pete’s Dinner Tours. The hottest part of the day has already past by the time we hit the water; and it’s likely a cooler sea breeze will be blowing across Back Bay to provide a gentle push into Muddy Creek from Back Bay. Wildlife become more active as the cooler temperatures and afternoon shadows set in for the evening. The course also puts a wider cross-section of the watershed on display; with the S&A waterway showing the transition from maritime forest to expansive marsh to the open waters of North Bay, as Muddy Creek boasts cypress groves and remnants of our regions duck hunting heritage along its banks.

The tour is unique, as it requires the participants to park a Blue Pete’s 30 minutes before scheduled departure. The S&A staff then shuttles the group back to our location for a one-way paddle to the restaurant. It is recommended to bring a change of clothes to change into after the paddle at the restaurant. From there, the guides take care of transporting the craft back to the shop while you enjoy Blue Pete’s fresh fare in one of the prettiest natural settings in the area.

Give us a call at (757) 721-6210 or click here to book your Blue Pete’s Dinner Tour online! We can do the trip on SUPs as well!

Enjoy these photos of the Kerr and Savick groups’ (from Michigan and Ohio, respectively) recent tour!

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Paddling with the Society of American Travel Writers

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Words & photos by John Streit.

There’s good reason for the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitors Bureau’s continual showcasing of our signature Back Bay Eco Kayak Tours: It’s one of the most beautiful and affordable gateways into becoming submersed in our region’s natural majesty!

This time around, two crews of travel writers and public relations professionals from the Society of American Travel Writers, who recently convened in Virginia Beach. By the grace of Mother Nature, the writers were treated to a pair of ideal midday tours through our Back Bay canal/tributary system that backs up to our property’s boat dock and runs though Sandbridge Marsh to the open waters of the northern portion of Back Bay. The wildlife came out to greet our guests, as we had fly-overs from our nesting bald eagles, osprey and even a rare encounter with a mink as we paddled through the waterway.

Enjoy these glimpses into the magical word of Surf & Adventure/Ocean Rentals’ Back Bay. To book your own adventure, call us at (757) 721-6210 or click here!

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Filming “On The Map” with WHIG-TV!

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Words & photos by John Streit.

We’re always proud to be the media’s source for adventure! Through our great relationship with the Virginia Beach Convention & Visitor’s Bureau and BCF Agency, we’ve hosted hundreds of travel and adventure journalists from around the globe, showcasing our slice of Virginia Beach on the banks of Back Bay. Our latest media visit came to us from Rocky Mount, N.C.’s WHIG-TV, which selected Surf & Adventure Co./Ocean Rentals Ltd.’s Blue Pete’s Sunset Dinner Kayak Tour as the subject of an upcoming episode of “On The Map,” a show dedicated to travel destinations within a short drive from the station’s viewing area.

On-air talent Brittany Smith and cameraman Robby Morris interviewed shop owner Rob Lindauer to gain insight to our company’s wide array of adventure opportunities from surf lessons to SUP, bike and kayak tours. Our paddle to Blue Pete’s was completed with an ideal, following breeze from the east-northeast, comfortable temperatures and smooth waters for the entire trip. The two-hour paddle is perfect for building up a hunger and thirst for the restaurant’s delicious food and drink offerings!

Enjoy the photos and stay tuned for the “On The Map” video once it airs. To book your own Blue Pete’s Sunset Dinner Kayak Tour, click here!

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Group Kayak Tour with Webster Christian

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Words & photos by John Streit.

Surf & Adventure Co./Ocean Rentals Ltd. received a major shot of youth energy on Tuesday, April 28, when New York’s Webster Christian School seniors departed on their group kayak tour of our Back Bay waterway!

We’ve been hosting Webster Christian’s senior trips for many years now, and it’s always a blast to hit the water with a stoked crew of high schoolers having the time of their lives vacationing together in Virginia Beach. Whether or not they realized it at the time, the trip was also educational as the group learned about the ecology of the brackish watershed as they paddled through pristine spring conditions.

Enjoy the photos from the tour! We offer discounted rates for groups such as this, so if you’re looking for a fun activity on the water for your school, church or work groups, we have you covered. Call (757) 721-6210 or email surfandadventure@gmail.com for group pricing information.

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Opening Day on Back Bay!

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Words & photos by John Streit.

With Snowmageddon in our rear view mirror, the days getting longer and the flora turning greener; you’d be hard-pressed to find a Virginia Beach local who isn’t welcoming the transition into springtime. While we have a few weeks to go before mild temperatures become the daily standard, it’s clear that the season has turned.

Our first request of the year for our famous Back Bay eco kayak tour proved to be a further sign of the coming of spring. Appropriately enough, the tour was centered around the concept of visiting popular summertime destinations during the shoulder seasons. We were stoked to host travel journalist Zach Patton of Endless Vacation Magazine and his husband Clay on a classic, radiant early spring afternoon through our Back Bay waterway.

While the surrounding forest and brackish marsh still largely showed the drab hues of winter; budding plants and trees signaled that warmer days are upon us. As we paddled through the golden afternoon light, we were treated to some awe-inspiring sights of the waterway — some common and some rare. Nesting osprey were busy gathering the materials for their summer homes and huge vultures glided overhead across a chilly sea breeze. Red-wing blackbirds perched on the reeds and brown finches sang their songs. A surprise guest revealed itself as we reached the mouth of Back Bay in the form of a perching peacock on a dead tree in Sandbridge Marsh to the east of our waterway. While no muskrats, river otters or minks showed for the tour, plenty of fish and turtle activity show that the waters are coming back to life.

We’re excited to be featured in the fall issue of Endless Vacation Magazine as Zach reviews the offseason attractions Virginia Beach as to offer! Until then, enjoy these photos of our paddle through our gorgeous slice of Back Bay.

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