SUPing the Petaluma River
Written by Ronnie Ayres
With a couple of days of winter still on the calendar, a quick drop in elevation down to Sonoma County gave rise to the temperature and evidence of an early Spring in progress. The historic town of Petaluma sits on the banks of the same named “river” which is actually a tidal slough as most resident paddlers are quick to point out. Either way sounded good to me as the warm sun had me pushing aside my heavily used neoprene booties, still wet from the 40 degree water of Lake Tahoe, 3 hours up the hill.
The Petaluma River once was a major thoroughfare, supplying the agricultural bounty, poultry and dairy products to booming city of San Francisco during the Gold Rush. Beautifully preserved, the downtown is a quintessential Main Street USA and is on the National Register of Historic Places.
There a few very easy spots to put in along the river, like at the turnaround off D street with public floating docks which once served as a roundabout for boats picking up cargo. The Marina is another spot with a boat ramp and docks and is home to the Lokahi Outrigger Canoe Club. Heading south down the river and out of town, the landscape opens up into pastures and parks with waterfront bike and running paths.
Know before you Go
Whenever Standup Paddling a new zone, consideration of the local tides and winds is key and a great to place to get that info and the best equipment for the conditions can be found right in downtown Petaluma at Clavey Paddlesports. From Standup Paddle rentals, sales and tours, the crew at Clavey has the region wired. Take a Standup Paddle tour on the wildlife heavy waters of the Point Reyes National Seashore or on the twisting backwater sloughs of the Petaluma River. Paddle with them under a full moon or in the dark of the new moon and experience bioluminescence at its brightest.
Clavey Paddlesports carries the full line of Tahoe SUP boards, paddles and accessories to get you out on the water and experience this region from the Paddler’s Perspective.