SINCE 1993 WE HAVE BEEN THE PADDLERS' CHOICE IN SANTA BARBARA
Throughout the 90s, Paddle Sports of Santa Barbara, as we were known, sold and rented kayaks from Lower State St. We moved to our present location in the Santa Barbara Harbor in 2002. In 2005, we expanded to Santa Claus Lane (Carpinteria, CA) with a 3,000-square-foot retail shop and another 4,000ft² of storage.
We were seen as the Central Coast premier kayak center, with one of the largest varieties of equipment anywhere in the country. 7,000 ft² translates into A LOT of kayaks and kayaking gear. We had to sell a kayak every day to pay the rent; that’s a lot of plastic out in the world. When the financial system took a nosedive in late 2008, we were forced to re-evaluate our business model in order to survive.
Leading up to 2010, there was a shifting focus in our world away from ownership. Every year we bought large amounts of paddle sports gear and tried to sell the equipment to people in our community. After doing this year after year, we found that trying to sell someone their third (or more) type of kayak, SUP or surfboard, was getting a little ridiculous. We simply didn’t believe in it. There was so much waste, particularly from an environmental aspect.
We believe in experience, and that time on the water truly benefits all that are exposed to it. We felt so passionate about being on the ocean in our own lives, we wanted to make it easier for others as well. So in 2010, We shifted from sales of paddle sports equipment to fitness memberships, where members get full access to the wide variety of paddling gear that we maintain. Originally we called this the Adventure Co-Op, and now the Paddle Sports Center Membership. A paddling center fitness membership for the community, Eureka! People didn’t need to store, transport, maintain or purchase heavy and bulky equipment.
This idea caught on like wildfire. We didn’t advertise and people everywhere were talking about it. The largest form of flattery was when one of the co-founders walked into a SUP rental shop in 2011, in Los Angeles, CA and noticed this ‘membership’ idea was being used there as well. All with very similar pricing and offerings. WOW!
People liked this idea in its infancy and every year we have pushed ourselves to improve the concept and make it more affordable. Our shop was originally looked at as a tourist activity, and now we have over 2,500 local members. This has become a community center, a place where we now hold different types of events that the community gathers for. We have been told, from numerous members, that their time paddling with our shop has truly transformed their lives.
Our mission is to provide meaningful connections to the natural world through affordable water sports activities. Keeping the oceans healthy and clean is a priority of the Paddle Sports Center. We partner with many local organizations to participate in and organize beach clean-ups, creek clean-ups, and community activism to remove single-use plastic from other businesses in town. Here is what we have accomplished over the past few years.
- Over $100,000 in service-based donations to ocean-related organizations that help protect, preserve, and educate about ocean-related issues
- Hundreds of hours of volunteer hours
- Offering only 100% reef safe sunscreen
- No single-use plastics used for any staff or member events
- We do not provide bags, we reuse merchandise packaging as bags
- We do not sell water bottles, we provide filtered water and glasses
WE ARE A CERTIFIED B CORPORATION
In order to show our commitment to our mission, we have become a certified Benefit Corporation in 2013. Our specific for benefit purpose is to “save the oceans and natural places.” Our founders believe that our time on this planet is sacred and that we must leave it better than when we found it. Making it easier and more affordable for people to experience the ocean motivates them to preserve and protect our planet for future generations.
This came about after much contemplation and soul searching as we did not want to be in business only for the sake of profiting, we wanted something greater… a purpose. And so we have worked to create a modern business that embraces community and stewardship while providing a service that is convenient, affordable, to something we would use if we didn’t own the company.
ADVENTURE RENTAL SYSTEM SOFTWARE
In 2014, we developed ARS (Adventure Rental System), a time-tracking rental software that accurately keeps track of all our paddlers on the water and charges based on the amount of time in the rental. We currently are in our third phase of development, with some new and exciting features that other time-based rental companies will find pretty amazing. We moved from a paper-based waiver and sign-up system to completely digital, charged our customers fairly, and felt better knowing where all of our paddlers/equipment were. This system is helping the founders fulfill our for benefit purpose, by making it easier for hundreds of shops to use this software and make it easier for business owners to get more people on the ocean. Learn More about ARS and how it could help your business.
We were the first company in Santa Barbara to offer kayak rentals over 25 years ago, and we are still the best! Come down and join the family, get a membership and enjoy regular paddling on the Santa Barbara Channel. What does the future hold? Full moon paddles, surf sessions at Leadbetter beach, and cruising with the family out to see the sea lions…