Gas prices are sky high, global warming is only making things hotter, and your pesky doctor wants you to exercise.
Welcome to summer in the modern world.
But you can still hit the water. No one's taken the fun out of that yet. Canoes, kayaks, sailboats, sailboards --- they're all powered by you (or the awesome power of the wind) and take advantage of our region's gorgeous water bodies --- it's a win-win. And, there are actually options that will leave you enough money to cancel out that exercise with a custard. Win again.
Here are some local rental options, all of them friendly to newcomers and seasoned pros alike. If you already have a canoe or kayak, your options are almost unlimited. Try Black Creek, Red Creek, the Erie Canal, Mendon Ponds, Chimney Bluffs State Park, or the good old Genesee. Whichever way you go, enjoy getting off the ground for awhile.
Braddock Bay Paddlesports
What you can get: kayak, canoe, fishing boat, or paddle boat rentals
What it'll cost you: $12 (a kayak for one hour) to $55 (sea kayak for a full day)
Contact:416 Manitou Road, Hilton; www.paddlingny.com; 888-933-9072, 392-2628
What you can get: sailboard, kayak, hydrobike, and scuba gear rentals; windsurfing lessons
What it'll cost you: $10 (single kayak, one hour) to $40 (two-hour windsurfing lesson)
Contact:11 Lakeshore Drive, Canandaigua; 394-8150
Erie Canal Boat Company
What you can get: kayak, canoe, and paddleboat rentals
What it'll cost you: $10 (canoe or kayak for one hour) to $15 (paddleboat for one hour); special rates available
Contact:7 Liftbridge Lane, Fairport; 748-BOAT; www.eriecanalboatcompany.com
What you can get: classes in kayaking and rowing; canoe and kayak rentals to use on the GeneseeRiver, Red Creek, or Erie Canal; kayaks for the Lock 32 Whitewater Park
What it'll cost you: $15 the first hour, $5 each additional hour; $25 for Lock 32 rental and day pass
Contact: 149 Elmwood Avenue; 328-3960; www.geneseewaterways.org; email@example.com
Irondequoit Bay & Creek
BayCreek Paddling Center
What you can get: canoes or kayaks to use right from BayCreek's dock on IrondequoitBay, or a shuttle to EllisonPark for a five-mile canoe trip; also classes and guided tours
What it'll cost you: $15 (one hour canoe or kayak rental) to $40 (full day)
Contact: 1099 Empire Boulevard; 288-2830; www.baycreek.com
Bayside Boat & Tackle
What you can get: gas motor boats, pontoon boats, row boats, sunfish, catamaran sailboats by the half or full day
What it'll cost you: $29 (sunfish for four hours) to $169 (24-foot pontoon for a day)
Contact: 1350 Empire Boulevard, Rochester; 224-8289; www.baysideboatandtackle.com
Oak Orchard Canoe & Kayak
What you can get: canoe or kayak rentals at two locations, on OakOrchardRiver and on IrondequoitBay; also "river trips" including shuttles and instruction
What it'll cost you: $15 (a canoe or kayak for an hour) to $80 (a whitewater Playboat for three days)
Contact: 2133 Eagle Harbor Road, Waterport, 682-4849; 1350 Empire Boulevard, 288-5550; www.oakorchardcanoe.com
Silver Waters Sailing
What you can get: A two-hour introduction to sailing a 19-foot sloop ($50); also women and couples only classes, charters, and weekends
What it'll cost you: $50 to $350, depending on length of lesson
Contact:12025 Delling Road, Wolcott; 315-594-1906; www.silverwaters.com/PAGE6.HTM
Adventure Calls Outfitters
What you can get: a 2-3 hour rafting trip in LetchworthState Park (class I/II rapids), Cattaraugus Creek (class II/III+), or the Salmon River (class III/IV); kayak rentals in Letchworth
What it'll cost you: $30 (full-day kayak rental) to $45 (Salmon River raft trip)
Contact: www.adventure-calls.com; 888-270-2410, 343-4710; firstname.lastname@example.org
Even though experts agree that canoeing and kayaking are fairly intuitive sports, you probably don't want to jump in cold. And you won't have to. Most outfitters provide at least some tips with each rental. As Dave at Braddock Bay Paddlesports says: "With rentals we give you a little instruction, we don't just throw you out the sharks. We give you something to work with."
But you might feel more comfortable taking a structured class your first time out. Most rental places offer something to get your feet wet: guided trips, private or group lessons, introduction nights. Call and ask what's available.
As for windsurfing, if you haven't tried it before, you're probably going to want a teacher. At Canandaigua Sailboarding, they say that trying it on your own can be "pretty frustrating; a lesson can cut out 10 to 15 hours of experimentation."
There are also organizations devoted to instruction and guided adventures. Try Pack, Paddle, Ski (www.packpaddleski.com), which offers a host of classes including singles, women, and families classes.
Finally: call ahead and make reservations, whether you're just renting or would like a class. When the warm weather hits, you won't be the only one with this idea.