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Our Story

On a sunny day in January of 2011, Paddle Sports Center owners Garrett and Kaia Kababik met on a SUP paddle from Leadbetter beach out to Hendry’s and back. That was the beginning of many ocean and land based adventures, taking them to New Zealand, Greece, and Hawaii, but ultimately leading them back to their favorite place, Santa Barbara and the Channel Islands.

Garrett has been associated with Paddle Sports since 2002, when he landed a summer job with former owners Mark and Luisa Hyatt to guide kayak tours at the Channel Islands and rent kayaks from Refugio Beach. After a few summers of this, Garrett decided it was a pretty sweet gig, and stuck around for his internship from the University of New Hampshire in Recreation Management, eventually managing the company until 2008 when he went on a 2,100 mile hike on the Appalachian Trail.

After returning, he and 2 friends purchased a majority of the company from the Hyatts,  kept growing the island programs, and introduced the Paddle Sports Membership.

His partners have since moved onto other life adventures, but he and Kaia keep the energy strong with memberships, camps, and getting people on kayaks and paddleboards all year long.

Upon meeting in 2011, Garrett and Kaia created the Ocean Explorers Camp (OEC) program in partnership with Kaia’s non-profit at the time, Save the Mermaids. The idea was to “play to protect,” giving children an opportunity to grow an appreciation for the ocean,establishing a lifelong adoration and stewardship.

OEC has always been an affordable and fun summer camp option, making it one of Santa Barbara’s favorites. And each year we donate scholarships for dozens of campers who cannot otherwise afford camp.

Paddle Sports Center has been a family affair for over 30 years and continues to be to this day. You may come down to Paddle Sports on any given day and find a furry Malamute behind the counter or a wild young toddler playing on the shop floor. Bring your family on down and enjoy the incredible waterfront and harbor of Santa Barbara.

From our family to yours … thank you!

Kaia, Garrett, and Torin with baby Karu in the belly of Kaia with the Podsen family on a family mountain adventure in 2022.


We are a tight-knit group of watermen and mermaids that love the ocean.

Kaia Kababik

Owner, Lead Counselor, Freediver, Mermaid

Garrett Kababik

Owner, Guide, Lead Counselor, Divemaster, Leave No Trace Master Educator, Paddler of all crafts

Ashley McKoane

General Manager, Lead Counselor, Mermaid

Max Garber

Camp Counselor, Guide