“The thing I enjoy most about Wednesday night paddles is the tranquility of the evening water and the calmness it sets over you. No matter how bad your day was, the Wednesday night paddle always sets you right”, said Kyle Kushner, a regular attendee of the sunset paddle sessions hosted by Pro SUP Shop in Marina del Rey. Those sentiments perfectly encapsulate the feeling of gliding across the marina during the Pro SUP Shop’s evening paddle cruises every Wednesday and Friday evening. The atmosphere is akin to a weekly high school reunion where friends and first time paddlers come together from all walks of life to share a common bond on the water. Tricia Ortega began paddling in 2012 and discovered the evening paddle sessions earlier this year. “Being with like-minded paddlers and sharing in the experience of paddling in the evenings was like the proverbial ‘icing on the cake!’ It was a melding of the perfect fitness program, great and supportive people, and fun that continued to motivate me to come every week”, she said.
“The moonlight paddle is such an awesome experience, especially when you get out to the ocean and see the shoreline all lit up. The guys really make you feel like you're part of the group whether or not you have any experience paddling”, said Mary Swanson, a Los Angeles Realtor who makes a point to join the group as often as she can. The sessions begin at the Pro SUP Shop in Mother’s Beach and typically venture up the main channel to the break wall at the mouth of the marina. Nights when there is a full moon are extra special. The moonlight reflects off the water in a shimmering glow and illuminates the sky. Evenings on the water are often clear and the coastline from Venice Beach to the Santa Monica Pier sparkles as if there is a line of Christmas lights across the horizon.
Paddlers routinely explore A Basin on the west side of the marina as they return to Mother’s Beach. Here they cruise under the ramps connecting the boat docks to shore. Known by paddlers as “the bridges”, the ramps are illuminated at night and the route offers paddlers a close up look at some of the marina’s residents. Back on shore, everyone pitches in hosing down and storing the boards before gravitating over to the Beachside Restaurant and Bar at the Jamaica Bay Inn where they extend parting conversations over food and drinks into the night.