Fitness buffs turned paddleboard gurus Cherryl Bradley and Sue Halladay run a burgeoning paddleboard business at Jamesport Bay Suites; running fitness programs like floating yoga and the beginner oriented "broads with boards." We tracked them down for a little bit of Q&A.
Q: Do you live on the North Fork?
AP: I do, I live in Greenport. I consider myself a Northforker not a Southforker. If I have to label myself.
Q: But you didn’t grow up here right?
AP: I grew up in Queens NY, in Elmhurst. I lived there until I was about 20, then I ran away with the circus, and I ended up in California.
Q: Wait, what? You were actually in a circus…
AP: Yeah, I actually auditioned for Ringling Brothers and I got hired, as a dancer. And so I did that for a year and then I toured and traveled around and ended up in California for years. Then I came back here and that was when I started working for [a winery on the North Fork].
Q: What made you want to switch gears and start your own business?
AP: I knew I wanted to start my own business and I knew I wanted to do something fun, and physical, and on the water. A friend of mine had suggested paddle boarding casually. Something like “just get four boards and hang out on the beach!” At first I wasn’t keen on the idea. I thought it sounded a little too vagabond, I don’t know. I ended up buying 12 boards anyway and I met my friends at the Inn Spot and was dropping cards off. At first I just thought I was going to be mobile. I said sort of jokingly to the owner “So what do you think about dropping off some paddleboards here?” She looked at me and she said “OK.” Just like that. It turned out they used to have a sailing school so they were permitted for it. We kind of hit it off after that and I didn’t even know how it was going to work. I didn’t even know how much money I was going to make. I didn’t even know if I could make money.
Q: So you just had like a truck and some paddleboards.
AP: Yeah. I set it up right here, on the water’s edge and as time went on I ended up with [Adventure Paddleboards].
Q: Where does Jamesport factor in to the equation?
AP: I have a friend Susan Halladay, who loves to paddle. She’s the Manager at Jamesport Bay Suites. She was a fitness instructor on the North Fork for many years and so she learned to do paddle boarding as well and over the years we have been slowly growing that part of the business. Now its official, I have signs up there, we are really trying to get the word out and let people know it’s there.
Q: What’s different about the Jamesport Adventure Paddleboards experience?
AP: Its different water there. It’s much calmer so it’s a little easier to do the yoga. Also the weather there seems to be a little less windy.
Q: What are some of the activities you offer at Jamesport, and what do people seem to like best?
AP: This year we decided to add the yoga classes and the broads on boards class to that location. We do yoga class at 6:30. It’s been really popular. Pretty much everybody has tried it at some point.
Q: Paddle boarding seems to be becoming something of a NoFo pastime, are you noticing an uptick in customers?
AP: Everyone is doing it. I have grandmothers and their grandkids doing it. You know something? It’s almost like riding a bike. It takes a bit of learning but once you get the hang of it you never forget.
Q: So you can take your whole family?
AP: Totally, it’s hard when you have parents and you have little kids and their ability levels are different, but we have it figured out. Like with the kayaks. I have singles, doubles, and then gizmos, which are like these little kayaks for kids that you can tether to a larger kayak; so they can still have the freedom and paddle around but if they get tired they always keep up with the group.
Q: Sounds like you got things figured out.
AP: I’ve been doing this for six years, and I’ve taught a lot of people, and a lot of people think they know how to paddle and, they don’t. They think that paddling is just getting on the board but it’s more than that. It’s know where the channel is; its knowing how to be safe.
Q: What do you guys do during the winter… polar paddle?
We plan for the next season. I would love to do winter paddling. It’s like a big thing on Long Island but most of those people have their own boards and their own suits. Usually in the winter we rest and we plan for the coming season.
Q: What about in between?
In the fall I want to stay open four days a week. I’d like put together some mystery adventures. I was thinking about doing a series of them. We would meet and I would decide that day depending on the wind and the weather, where we are going to go.
Adventure Paddleboards is open on the North Fork at Jamesport Bay Suites until October 30th all days weather permitting. Floating Yoga - Sunday 9:00am Kids Yoga on the Grass - Sunday 10:30am Broads on Boards (Women 40+ beginner) - Weds & Fri 7am Lessons by appointment Rentals daily