Stock up on Summer Water Gear at One of These Five Local Retailers
Ditch the dinged-up boogie board and clear some space in your garage. These New England artisans know how to help you ride the waves in style.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a canoe company with a longer history than Old Town, which has been handcrafting vessels along Maine’s Penobscot River since 1898. Carried by local retailers including REI and Charles River Canoe & Kayak, Old Town’s boats—designed and tested with help from 3-D-printed models—run the gamut from fishing-friendly solo numbers to multi-seat styles perfect for camping trips (if that’s your thing). Pick your fave and snag paddles and life jackets while you’re at it; Old Town sells it all.
For Kite Boards
If you prefer your wave-riding with some air time, you’d be wise to check out McNeill Boards. Based in the small town of Georgia, Vermont, on Lake Champlain, owner Jamie McNeill caters to even the most daring flyers with handmade kite boards designed for all sorts of water conditions. One standout? The pro’s high-performance “Pike” board, built with extra glass to stand up to those dramatic swells and tight, adrenaline-boosting turns.
When you’re finally ready to graduate from renting kayaks to toting your own on your roof rack, point your paddle toward this 63-year-old Amesbury outfit. Its kayaks’ lightweight builds make it easy to schlep them to and from the water; the low-resistance hull design, meanwhile, ensures easy coasting once you hit the waves. Choose from Lincoln’s eye-catching existing line or have the team create something just for you—using one of the brand’s six models as a starting point, you can adjust material selections, deck and trim colors, rigging lines, and more.
For Stand-Up Paddleboards
Like your gear to look as heavenly as it glides? This woman-owned Marshfield store promises functional stand-up paddleboards so sleek, you’ll be posting beauty shots before you even hop on. Locally designed, the sea-worthy stunners include 11-foot, open-water-ready knockouts with bamboo veneers and limited-edition, GoPro-mount-equipped gems boasting fun school-of-fish patterns. Yup Sup even sells easy-to-store (and easy-on-the-eyes) inflatable boards—a prime choice for paddling newbies.
Soundings Surf Co.
Surfing might not spring to mind when you think of New England sports, but you’d be wrong to count it out if you’re game to give it a try—especially if you snag a board from this Rhode Island–based company. A local surfer himself, owner and shaper Kevin Tanner is intimately familiar with the region’s breaks, and he no doubt puts that knowledge to work when dreaming up his customizable shortboards, mid-lengths, and longboards for beginners and pros alike.