Barbary Ghost boat Captain Drew Testwuide shares his love of the water, paddle boarding and his “First Mate” Niko through his boating charter business. Drew recently added a social paddle with dogs Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) event on Saturday mornings. It’s free if you have your own board or you can rent one through nearby KGB Kiteboarding for $20 per hour (reservations required). Paddlers at his new weekly event do not necessarily need to BYOD (That’s bring your own … dog!) and can paddle solo.
Testwuide, though young in years, has a lifetime of experience on the water and a captain’s license to boot. Prior to buying Barbary Ghost eight years ago, Testwuide drove ski boats and taught wake-boarding.
SUP is appropriate for all skill levels for humans, but Drew notes three characteristics to consider when paddling with your dog:
- Size – Smaller dogs tend to be easier to paddle with than big dogs
- Temperament – calm dogs are easier than high-strung dogs
- Gear – doggie life vests are optional but a good idea (leashes are discouraged as they can get tangled and pull the human counterpart into the water)
The beginning level course hugs the calm, seawall protected Emeryville Marina shoreline. Drew requires no wetsuits or special attire, but recommends non-cotton materials and a light jacket for the 50ish degree water.
Drew recommends wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) as the Coast Guard can issue fines for those caught without. He carries a few extras for guests but not for dogs (although Niko has one for open water adventures). “Your board is your primary safety device” Testwuide advises.
This inaugural event back on May 27th brought about a half-dozen doggie/human tandems including fifteen year old terrier mix named ‘Lucky’ chaperoned by locals Emily and Will. KGB kiteboarding employee Isaiah joined with his Australian shepherd mix ‘Stitch’.
Testwuide acclimated the paddlers by demonstrating kneeling on the boards and shift weight from side to side, then stand and do the same exercise to balance and get a feel for the water. Testwuide then led the paddlers calmly, in shallow water along the shoreline. Paddlers ducked under the first dock ramp behind the marina office and past the bird sanctuary. They continue to the fishing pier and along the cement seawall protecting the Marina from the bay water.
Drew plans on expanding this route to venture further into the Emeryville Marina Cove sometime this summer. For those looking to advance their SUP skills, Barbary Ghost also offers Downwind Safari adventures on the open water.
In addition to SUP, he offers a variety of charters and getaway packages. Last year, Drew hosted an inspiring stand up paddle board event on the Bay with Team Quickblade and two paddlers who have overcome the loss of limbs with the help of special adaptive equipment. The video produced below was shot from aboard his Barbary Ghost. Testwuide has also hosted a music video crew, ESPN and has an upcoming wedding anniversary sail.
For those looking for a bonding experience with their dog, Drew and Niko launch from the Marina commercial dock Saturday mornings at 10 am. Signs point to the fishing boats along with PropSF ferry service and Barbary Ghost Dock.
Visit Barbary Ghost on the web or follow them on Facebook for more info on their nautical adventures and private escapes.
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