Patrons can rent everything large and small from boats and jet skis to paddle boards, kayaks, aqua cycles, bicycles and peddle boats. There are even floating hot tubs and airborne flyboards using pressurized water pumped through hoses to propel users skyward.
Locals and tourists alike can indulge their every whim taking full advantage of San Diego’s activities-based, water-sports culture. Following is a rundown of bayfront recreation companies and the rentals and services they provide.
Adventure Water Sports
2211 Pacific Beach Drive
1710 W Mission Bay Drive
Adventure Water Sports’ motto is: “Don't waste your valuable time driving around and towing someone else's equipment or driving 5 mph. Rent from us and just hop on, and go.”
For watersport enthusiasts, and the industry catering to them, it’s Christmas in July, noted Andrew Points, Adventure Water Sport’s general manager. Asked what’s hot now in rentals, Points said, “Everything is hot right now. In summer we sell out of everything. We’re always busy.”
What’s the most trendy watercraft to rent?
“Wave runners, jet skis,” answered Points, adding the personal water craft, rent for $110 an hour with all-day special rates available.
“People can ride them in Mission Bay at full speed in a pretty big area,” said Points, adding the most difficult thing about renting jet skies in the mid-summer peak season is making a reservation.
“Right now we’re booked the whole day,” said Points advising prospective clients “to book at least a day, maybe even a couple of days in advance.”
Adventure rents ski boats ranging from 19 to 24 feet as well as a pontoon boat. Stand-up paddle boards rent for $25 an hour, $35 for two hours and $60 for four hours. Patrons must be 18 to rent.
Mission Bay Aquatic Center
1001 Santa Clara Place
Last year, Mission Bay Aquatic Center rented to 30,000 patrons helping them experience surfing, sailing, wake boarding, wake surfing, stand up paddling, waterskiing, rowing, kayaking, and windsurfing first-hand. The company has taught tens of thousands of others how to safely enjoy water sports during its 45-year existence hosting lessons, parties, picnics and classes for all manner of watercraft.
MBAC director Kevin Straw said post-July 4th is the peak of their summer beach-rental season. “Especially when the holiday falls in the middle of the week, as it did this year, with people taking time out before and after to do stuff and travel,” he said.
Straw noted MBAC, operated jointly by UC San Diego and San Diego State University, utilizes three buildings at Santa Clara Point in Mission Beach.
“We operate a kids program and the water sports camp for university students, which is open to the public including community members as well as tourists,” said Straw. “We are primarily an educational facility, with a rental program whose goal is not just to rent people equipment, but to teach them how to use it properly and safely.”
Added Straw, “When you rent a paddle board or a kayak from us, it comes with a lesson before you go out, which differentiates us.”
Concerning what’s trending with rentals at MBAC, Straw replied: “We’re finding that sailing has become more popular for youths this summer. We also have educational programs where people learn about marine sciences as well as STEM activities.”
MBAC sees a full spectrum of ages in its programs and equipment rentals. “We have a wide variety of people from all over the Southwest from as young as 6 to as old as 80 out there on the water,” Straw said. “It’s a great way to get out there on Mission Bay and find out what San Diego has to offer, that you don’t see in other places.”
Mission Bay Sportcenter
844 W. Mission Bay Drive
Billing itself as the largest public water-sports facility in San Diego, the services provided by MBSC include boat rentals, tours/classes and jet board and jet ski rentals. The company also rents power boats, sailboats, hot tub cruises and jet packs. MBSC even offers paddle boards with LED lights for night tours.
“One of our main attractions is jet skis,” said MBSC manager Matthew. “Jet-pack rentals are also popular, as are our hot-tub boats.”
MBSC has something for every individual, group or family. Added Matthew, “Paddle-boards and kayaks are always good family fun – and a big hit.”
MBS also has kid-oriented “lily pads,” two-inch thick, 20-foot long by six-foot wide floating rectangular foam play pads.
For the more adventurous, MBSC has water-propelled flyboards. “You put on wakeboard boots and a jet-ski pack with hoses that sucks up water and propels you several feet into the air turning you into Ironman, Superman, Aquaman or the Rocketeer,” Matthew said.
The pride of Sportcenter’s fleet is its 47-foot charter Malarky luxury Catamaran accommodating up to 12 passengers. It can be rented for corporate or group events, weddings, whale watching, etc.
“The Malarky is our one piece of equipment that goes out on private tours,” said Matthew.
Hot Tub Cruisin
1010 Santa Clara Place
Speaking of luxury, it’s tough to beat cruising around Mission Bay in a hot tub for relaxing in style. Hot Tub Cruisin’s pontoon-style hot-tub boats were the first ever to ply Mission Bay. The company, which operates out of Mission Bay Sportcenter, just celebrated its fourth anniversary.
Pontoon-style craft seating up to 10 are rented out for a flat rate of $215 an hour for up to four hours. There is a sound system on board connecting to musical devices, as well as an optional propane grill, a 50-quart under-seat cooler, a six-quart “in-hot tub” cooler, dry storage for personal belongings and additional deck seating.
The company’s initial rollout has been so successful, plans are in play to expand and franchise,” said co-owner Taylor Rhodes. “We now have a second boat, and we’re looking to add a third boat, and another location, while simultaneously building out our boat-sales model,” said Rhodes, adding custom hot-tub boats can be made to order from scratch. “We’re looking to build them for personal use and franchise partnership,” he added.
Rhodes said the target market for Hot Tub Cruisin is “young adults, tourists, corporations, groups and university students.”
“We’re really hitting the spectrum here,” he added. “What we’ve found is that everybody wants to rent hot-tub boats, whether it be for a 5-year-old’s birthday party or an 80-year-old’s retirement.”
Rhodes said their hot tubs are “accessorized” furnishing water slides, hooks and floats for kids, as well as offering barbecuing opportunities on-deck.
“It’s a unique way to cruise around on the bay,” he concluded.
Freedom Boat Club
2630 Ingraham St.
This year's hot water sport in San Diego is wake surfing - wake boarding's safer and more thrilling counterpart. Wake surfing brings all the fun of surfing out on the water, but with no paddling out and a perfect wave that lasts as long as you want.
Here's how it works: you go out in a boat with your friends or family and create the ideal surfing wave in the wake of the boat. Surfers use a specially designed smaller wakesurf board and use a rope to get in place behind the boat, then let go a free surf for as long as they keep their balance in the wake wave. Since the boat is only going about 10.5 mph, and you're not strapped into the board, its much safer than wakeboarding and falling into the water is much more gentle on the body.
Dan Hasbrouck, president of Freedom Boat Club, has added wake-surfing boats to the fleet on Mission Bay. As a member of Freedom Boat Club, members have access to this boat as well as more than 27 boats at two locations.
Training is part of every membership. He can teach members to wake surf in 20 minutes and Freedom Boat Club members are loving this new sport.