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Aaron and Abi McIntosh

Aaron and Abi McIntosh plan to offer paddle board and kayak rentals on Lake Decatur. 

DECATUR – Those who want to enjoy Lake Decatur without a boat will soon have two more opportunities to do so: paddle boards and kayaks.

Aaron and Abi McIntosh received approval from the Decatur Park District board on Wednesday to offer rentals of the items in Nelson Park for the next month, a trial run for their Standing Paddle Co. business that could return next year. The Decatur couple, who also co-own New Era Signs, approached the district earlier this summer with the idea.

They have been taking part in the sport, known as stand-up paddling, for about four years. Abi McIntosh said started a Facebook group to network with others, but they found there was a gap in the market.

“Weekly, we would have people asking, where can I rent? Where can I try a board before I buy a board?” she said. “And really, we didn't have any options.”

The rentals will be available on weekends from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Snack Shack. Prices for paddle boards are $15 per half hour, $25 per hour, $45 for a half day and $65 for a full day. The kayaks, which seat one person, rent for $5 less.

Life jackets are required and will be provided with the rentals. Children 8 and older can rent a board but must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Eventually, the couple hopes to offer classes, such as “Mommy and Me,” paddle board yoga and even paddle board with pups. This fall is meant to allow them to test the waters for the business and gauge interest.

They have two kayaks, six adult-size paddle boards and two child-size boards.

“I think it's great,” said Chris Harrison, vice president of the park board. “I think doing it for 30 days, a month and a half or whatever, is a great way to get it started and let everybody get a feel for it. Hopefully, it stays next year.”

Stand-up paddling has grown in popularity on small bodies of water, Abi McIntosh said. It's fun and relaxing and provides exercise and balance.

“I think people like it because they accomplished something after an hour: I stood on the water and paddled,” she said. “I think that's part of its popularity.”

The business comes just a few months after Macon Waves Pedal Boats began offering pedal boat rentals near the Beach House restaurant. The McIntoshes said they see their offering as complementary, rather than competitive.

For information on the opening day and other updates, follow the business on Facebook at www.facebook.com/standingpaddleco. Its phone number is (217) 840-4770.

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Regional Editor

Regional editor for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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