1. What is a SUP?
SUP stands for Stand Up Paddle Board. Stand Up Paddle Boarding is an offshoot of surfing that originated in Hawaii. Unlike traditional surfing where the rider sits until a wave comes, stand up paddle boarders stand on their boards and use a paddle to propel themselves through the water. This sport has been identified as the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants in the United States.
2. What kind of kayaking do you have available?
We offer both whitewater kayaking and on-the-lake kayaking. For the whitewater we use inflatable kayaks. On-the-lake we have inflatable, open hard shell (shorter), touring hard shell (longer), sit-on-tops and kid’s kayaks. The inflatable kayaks are either single duckies (seating one person) or double duckies (seating two people). The sit-on-tops are either one person or kid’s (smaller) Both are made of a hard material, as are the open hard shells and touring hard shells. All come with life jackets and paddles. Where necessary we also provide a pump. Helmets are also available at no extra charge. A roof rack is required to transport the hard shell kayaks.
3. Where are you located?
We are located at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool & Fitness Center, 1220 Main St., Ouray, Colorado 81427. Inside the Hot Springs Pool building you will find the Ouray Picnic Basket. This is where we are located. You can come into Ouray County Watersports and/or the Ouray Picnic Basket without coming into the pool itself. Look for our signs. Remember, the Ouray Picnic Basket has everything you might need for lunch at the lake.
4. Where do you operate?
Our whitewater and kayak trips take place on the Uncompahgre River. The put-in is located at the town of Ridgway and we raft and kayak down to the lake at Ridgway State Park. The river is rated Class 1 – 2 and offers fun and excitement for all ages. During the raft trip, both you and your guide can paddle as you work your way down through the river’s obstacles and rapids. On the kayaking whitewater trips, you pilot the kayak on your own. You can either share a kayak with a guide or you can be by yourself with the guide close by in his or her own kayak. For your rafting and kayaking experience, we provide everything you need or want: Life jackets, splash gear and even helmets if desired. And, of course, your certified and highly trained and qualified guides.
5. Tell me about the rental of your SUP’s and Kayaks.
We rent SUP’s and kayaks out of our store at the Ouray Hot Springs Pool. Or, we can deliver them to your Ouray motel room, home or campground space. The SUP’s and most of the kayaks are inflatable which allows for easy transporting to the lake at Ridgway State Park. Once you arrive at the lake, you simply inflate the SUP and/or the kayak and hit the water. Everything you need is provided. For the SUP, that includes a carrying bag, paddle board, pump, leash and life jacket. For kayaking, we have a pump and life jacket.
6. Are life jackets or helmets required?
All children 13 and under are required to wear a life jacket when on the water. For those over 13, they must wear a life jacket when whitewater rafting or kayaking. When SUPing or kayaking on the lake, no one over 13 is required to wear a life jacket. But, they must have one close by. We recommend, however, that all persons wear a life jacket at all times. You never know what might happen. Helmets are not required for either whitewater activities or floating on the lake. They are available, through, if you want one.
7. What should we wear?
The climate varies considerably in the Colorado mountains. Ouray is almost 8,000 ft. in elevation and the lake at Ridgway is near 7,000 ft. The temperatures can easily fluctuate up to 40 degrees during the day – and you can sometimes see an afternoon shower. For whitewater rafting and kayaking, remember that the water is snow-melt and is very cold. We recommend that you dress in layers. From the bottom up, we suggest tennis shoes that have good traction along with cotton socks. There is a lot of latitude as far as pants. On warm days, swimsuits, shorts and the like. On cooler days, something that is warm underneath with pants that are water repellant- is the best. Tops are similar. We will provide splash gear depending on the weather and river conditions. And, last, don’t forget your sunglasses, hats and sunscreen.
On the lake for SUPing or kayaking, it really is your choice. You can wear shoes, sandals or go barefoot. One thing to remember is that the sun is very intense at these high elevations. Do not skimp on the sunscreen and always wear a hat.
8. How old to you need to be to be on the water?
The minimum age if five (5) for whitewater trips. The kayaking depends on river conditions and experience of the child. We do not allow most children under age thirteen (13) to kayak in whitewater alone. As for SUPing and kayaking on the lake, young children must be close to their parents at all times. There are no age restrictions.
9. What licenses and certifications do you have?
Ouray County Watersports is an insured outfitter and is licensed by the State of Colorado. We are also a permitee of Ridgway State Park for both sailing and whitewater activities. Your guides for both whitewater and sailing, Scott and Sally Clifford, are licensed United States Coast Guard Captains. Scott has guided whitewater rafting and kayaking for over 30 years. Sally has been sailing along the California coast and on western lakes almost all of her life. Both will make sure you are safe and have loads of fun. The cost for the whitewater adventures is $30.00 per person.
10. Tell us about your sailing.
Your Captain most likely will be Sally Clifford. She hold a Master’s License issued by the United States Coast Guard that allows her to operate passenger vessels up to 50 tons both up to 200 miles off the coast and on inland waters. The sailboat is a 14 ft. Hobie Hardin that seats 3 – 4 persons. Trips are 3 hours and are narrated by Sally. The cost is $250.00.
11. What are your days and hours of operation.
We are open every day from approximately 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. We also are available by email or telephone after hours.
12. Do you accept reservations?
Reservations are highly recommended. Although we have a good number of SUP’s and kayaks, they go fast, particularly during the busiest times in the summer months. Similarly, our whitewater rafting and kayak adventures are always in high demand. Although new this year, we expect the sailing to likewise be very busy.
13. What forms of payment do you accept?
We take cash and almost all debit/credit cards.