Charles Bauer didn’t start kayaking until he retired from his high school teaching career in 2020. Ever since, he’s loved getting on the water and bringing others with him. Now his website, The River Chaz, is a resource for other kayakers (hikers and bikers), too.
The River Chaz founder, Charles Bauer, kayaking at the Shell Key Preserve in St. Petersberg, Florida
Charles generously shared his story with us, so we could share it with you:
About The River Chaz Founder, Charles Bauer
I am a retired high school Social Studies teacher and golf and soccer coach. I am married with two grown children and a two-year-old grandson.
When I retired two years ago it was during the early months of COVID, so I was looking for healthy things to do outside. I decided to give kayaking a try and simply fell in love with it.
Being close to the water and experiencing nature from that vantage point was both calming and exhilarating.
I started watching YouTube videos about kayaking and found several shows on Netflix about kayaking. Ken Whiting (of Facing Waves, Paddle TV and Paddle Tales) was my inspiration. I was hooked.
I bought my own kayak and gear so I could get out on the water more often, rather than constantly renting. I also started hiking and biking so I could be outside, get exercise and experience other nature adventures.
Soon thereafter I decided to develop my own website, The River Chaz, and Instagram page, so I could share my experiences with others. My hope was that family, friends, former students and even strangers would give kayaking, hiking and biking a try and join me.
Charles’ son with his family kayaking Stony Brook Harbor, Long Island, New York
As a result, My wife, Annette, and many of our friends and some of my former students have joined me kayaking, hiking and biking. I also joined a kayaking club called the Long Island Paddlers.
I'm hoping The River Chaz website will inspire people to explore the endless possibilities of outdoor activities by kayak, hiking and bike, and to enjoy and respect our natural world.
I also hope people find it a valuable resource for finding the best kayaking, hiking and biking destinations for both daily use and for planning vacations.
Charles’ Top Kayaking Spots
One of my favorite kayaking spots on Long Island is Stony Brook Harbor. The scenery is amazing, the waters are calm and there is very little, if any, boat traffic. I am truly at peace when I paddle there. This is where I always bring my friends and family and they absolutely love it there, too.
The people who run Stony Brook Harbor Kayak & Paddleboard Rentals are the friendliest and most helpful people I have encountered.
I've been trying to kayak in all of the East Coast states. So far I've kayaked in Maine, Massachusetts, New York, South Carolina and Florida. This March I’m planning a kayaking and paddle boarding trip to the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, which was inspired by Ken Whiting (Facing Waves).
Charles with his wife, Annette, and their daughter and her fiance kayaking in Scarborough, Maine
If I had to choose a current favorite non-local destination, I would probably choose Florida. I've kayaked there several times, but my favorite kayak tour was with my wife when we explored the mangroves in the Shell Key Preserve near St. Pete Beach using Coastal Kayak Charters.
My second choice would be a kayaking, hiking and camping trip to South Carolina's blackwaters and Bulls Island through REI and Coastal Expeditions. It was an amazing experience.
There are so many great kayaking choices out there both domestically and internationally, it's hard to pick a dream kayaking destination. Every time I watch Facing Waves, I am introduced to another potentially amazing kayaking experience.
Why Charles Loves Aqua Bound
I bought a very light weight Aqua Bound paddle—the Sting Ray Hybrid 2-piece Posi-Lok model—after watching one of Ken Whiting's reviews. It has made a world of difference in my paddling endurance and efficiency.
Since then I’ve recommended Aqua Bound paddles to all my kayaking friends and several kayaking companies I've used. I can't say enough good things about them.
Charles Bauer, founder of The River Chaz website
Connect with The River Chaz
You can connect with Charles on The River Chaz website to find reviews of rental services he’s used and kayaking spots he’s paddled. He also reviews hiking and biking destinations.
You’ll also find The River Chaz on Instagram.
(All photos courtesy of Charles Bauer)
Do you have paddle questions our friendly Customer Service Team can help you with today? Content them: 715-755-3405 • [email protected]
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