By Hank DeHart
Edited by R. Darren Price
Posted Feb. 24
Since 1983, River Runner Outdoor Center at 905 Gervais St. has been providing local river lovers the gear they need to get on the water, whether they are first-time kayakers or experienced anglers.
"There are so many types of paddling out there," shop manager Jesse Koch said. "You've got to have some of everything."
A river guide for seven years, Koch says the best way for people interested in canoeing or kayaking to get out on the water without having to buy all of the equipment needed is to rent or use a demo boat.
For novice paddlers, River Runner offers day trips on the Congaree National Forest's Cedar Creek for $50. Beginning this spring, River Runner will offer three trips a week down a 3 1/2 mile portion of the Saluda at Saluda Shoals Park. The store also offers canoe and kayak rentals for $40 for one day, plus $10 each additional day.
Although the store offers camping and backpacking gear, River Runner specializes in paddling equipment more than other shops. The store keeps around 400 boats in stock for rental and sale.
River Runner offers canoes and kayaks for any application and skill level. From classic wooden canoes made by Old Town Canoe Co. to smaller white-water play boats, the store is packed wall-to-wall with boats made mostly in the Carolinas. Koch said most boats cost from $300 to $900.
Koch says he has been paddling all of his life and that his favorite local river is the Congaree.
"It's hard because I spend a lot of time in the shop, but I try to get out there as much as possible," Koch said.