Behind the Scenes at the Rowing Dock

Henry Hibler helps a customer get off the paddleboard at Rowing Dock. This was the customer's first time stand-up paddling.

Photo Credit: Silvana Di Ravenna

What do you get when you cross a paddle, a board and a beautiful day on the water? Paddleboarding — one of the more popular hobbies in Austin for residents looking for some relaxing recreation and a great nearby option for students and staff alike.

The city boasts a number of options for those interested in giving paddleboarding a shot, most of which lie just south of campus. One is Rowing Dock, located right on the edge of the Colorado River and just west of the Mopac Expressway. Rowing Dock caters to those new to paddleboarding, making it a fine place for your first time.

Manager Lindsay Rohler noted that the location “has a variety of boards available, most of which are designed for beginners.”

Novices are expected to wobble to and fro on their first attempt. Taking an unexpected dive into the water isn't an unlikely occurrence, so visitors should be prepared for the distinct possibility of getting wet. Failure just means going for a refreshing swim.

Rowing Dock employees do make an effort to keep new paddlers dry with some guiding wisdom.

“We do guided and group paddles, and we do offer lesson,” Rohler said. “People can bring their pets; we even had someone bring a pig.”

Going through the motions of the working day can be tough when the warm weather outside invites participation in a variety of summer activities. The calm blue waters and lush green trees on the surrounding hills make for a lovely scene — a fine backdrop for unwinding after a being cooped up inside for hours. This is not lost on Owner Ruth Framel.

“We're at the prettiest part of the lake,” Framel said.

While paddling through the river and balancing on a slim board may well provide visitors, students and staff with a bit of a workout, Framel made it clear that there is only one real goal when you're out on the water.

“It's just about fun,” Framel said.