As summer approaches, a new paddle board and kayak rental service on Lake Bryan provides an escape from the Texas heat.
Paddle EZ has four paddle boards and six kayaks available for rent year-round from sunrise to sunset at their Lake Bryan location, which launched on March 8. Customers rent the equipment by selecting a date and time on the Paddle EZ website. Both kayaks and paddle boards cost $18 per hour and come with paddles and life jackets.
The company was started in March 2017 and serves parks throughout Texas, Tennessee and Washington State.
Paddle EZ founder and chief executive officer Scott Koester said he decided to open a location on Lake Bryan because around a quarter of a million people live in Bryan-College Station, including a large number of young people.
“Among the younger demographic, paddle boarding is getting very popular, so having A&M there seemed like a really good fit,” Koester said. “Also, the lake itself had a really nice spot down a little canal where it’s pretty protected, so it was an ideal location.”
Koester said he wanted to lower the cost and increase the availability of renting paddle boards and kayaks by not requiring someone to stay near the equipment and wait for customers to show up.
“I always have a list of businesses I would start if I ever had the chance,” Koester said. “[Paddle EZ] was one of the ones at the top of the list. I like efficiency, and I like being outside.”
Koester said the rental program has received positive feedback throughout the past two years, and all of the locations that opened in 2018 wanted to renew Paddle EZ. According to Koester, Paddle EZ will likely expand in Washington State and Tennessee and into Alabama and Oregon.
“It’s a Texas-created start-up,” Koester said. “We obviously appreciate people trying something new, and we welcome any kind of feedback people have as well.”
Lake Bryan energy accounts manager Elisabeth Reyes said before March, visitors to the lake would have to bring their own paddle boards and kayaks.
Reyes said it was reassuring that Paddle EZ was already in place at 15 state parks when Lake Bryan was considering having their own location.
“We felt comfortable with the fact that they had a relationship at that level, that they may be a good fit for Lake Bryan as well,” Reyes said. “I think that we’d like to have [Paddle EZ] there as long as it makes sense for us and for them.”
Though there are no lifeguards at the lake, Reyes said she is not aware of any safety issue involving the rental program.
Reyes said there is not good cell service in the park, so visitors should make their rentals ahead of time.
Lake Bryan also provides camping sites, parking spots for RVs and a pavilion for events. The park will host Spring Into Summer on May 18, which will include food trucks, bounce houses and a showing of “Finding Nemo”.
More information about renting and Paddle EZ is available at paddleez.com.