Warm weather seems to trigger everyone’s desire to get in shape for bathing suit season. After winter’s indoor gym hibernation, many seem eager to escape outside. For this reason, Island Water Sports of Hilton Head created a guided Kayak Cardio class that will tone the entire body while disguising the exercise as an hour and a half tour of South Beach Marina.

“We wanted to spice things up a little bit. Everyone needs exercise, but going to the gym day after day can be a little monotonous. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to get some great exercise while enjoying what this beautiful island has to offer,” guide Alan D’Anniballe reflects on the new business venture.

D’Anniballe’s passion for kayaking began close to a decade ago when he was studying at Kent State University. Taking advantage of Ohio’s Cuyahoga River nearby, D’Anniballe found the tranquility of the water addicting–so much so that he moved south where he could paddle year round. Having served as a guide in Hilton Head for the past five years, D’Anniballe is excited to introduce other young adults to the aquatic activity.

The Kayak Cardio class will be offered once a month to start. Each session’s drills and activities will vary, so repeat customers are encouraged. All the drills will force customers to use muscles that would otherwise be inactive if they had just leisurely rented a kayak. Check-in on the dock by 8:30 a.m. and then D’Anniballe will provide a refresher on proper paddling form.

The first Kayak Cardio class started off with a short warm-up paddle out of the calm Braddock Cove into the Calibogue Sound. Once there, customers partnered up to run both kayaks a few yards on the beach and then complete ten squats, making sure to keep the boats off the ground the entire time. Then they ran a few more yards with the kayaks and ended with twenty lunges.

When the warm-up was completed, kayakers headed back on the water for two sets of Indian Runs. Everyone formed a line and the person in the back paddled to pass everyone else and take the front position.

Customers then work on their rapid paddling techniques in suicides both backward and forwards between buoys. Just when customers began to feel tired, dolphins and manta rays magically surfaced to encourage the kayakers to push through the burn.

Students can experience this exercise for themselves. South Beach Marina is located at the most southern tip of Hilton Head Island within the Sea Pines Resort. Once you pay the $6 entrance fee into the resort, you can spend the rest of the day relaxing on the waterfront which offers restaurants like the famous Salty Dog Café, as well as shops and bike trails.

The typical $40 fee includes kayak, paddle and PFD rentals. If you remember to bring a valid student ID, the company will gladly offer a 15% discount. Make sure to bring a water bottle, sunscreen, sunglasses, and towel. Gnats were bad on the dock and beach so a veiled hat is recommended. Keep in mind that clothing and footwear may get wet so dress appropriately.

While no definite dates have been set for next month, the company should be announcing shortly on their Facebook page. Only twenty spots will be available for each class so sign up quickly. Whether you are a skilled paddler or have never experienced kayaking before, Island Water Sports guarantees that you will have fun while getting a great workout.