Tybee Business Spotlight:
North Island Surf and Kayak
Located in the heart of the Tybee Marina, just across the Lazaretto Creek Bridge, North Island Surf and Kayak is the premier watersports authority in the region. Specializing in all things surf, paddleboard and kayak, the aquatic outfitter has been facilitating adventure and exploration throughout the Georgia coast since 2004. Wayfarers and locals alike entrust North Island Surf and Kayak with their watersport needs, knowing that the business has the right rentals on deck and passionate people to help every stroke of the way.
North Island Surf and Kayak isn’t just a business centered around water, their success goes deeper than that: this is a family that’s centered around water, a family whose guiding principles and passions align seamlessly with their purpose and pursuits. Co-owner Rebecca Parris believes that this alignment is what makes North Island standout from the rest: “We are truly water people. Our entire life is dictated by the tides and Mother Nature.” Together, Shane and Rebecca Parris and their two charismatic kids share their love of the sea with the community.
Service is an integral part of what North Island Surf and Kayak does. In addition to serving water-lovers year-round, the bustling business consistently supports local initiatives. North Island makes regular donations to regional auctions for important organizations, like the Ossabaw Island Foundation, and they’ve sponsored every Turtle Trot, Kayak Race and Fresh Air Home fundraiser throughout the years. “Since 2013, we have donated yearly to the Tybee YMCA’s Annual Campaign, and we have also paired with ‘The Y’ since 2006 to offer summer camps to local children,” Parris added.
Stellar service and a philanthropic focus aren’t the only ways that North Island Surf and Kayak gives back. They also celebrate coastal ecology and local history through impactful eco-tours. Their customized eco-tours explore a range of topics not limited to the area flora and fauna. These tours are an interactive learning experience, an invitation to travel through time and learn about historical narratives that often go untold. Native American history, the influence of Gullah peoples, the development of modern shipping and “Savannah’s sordid history with pirates,” are just some of the compelling topics uncovered in these tours. Navigating on kayak, the engaging eco-tours traverse area marshlands and riverways, with popular destinations including the pristine Little Tybee Island and Cockspur Beacon. And, North Island offers beach walks and birding tours, too. History buffs, nature-lovers, watersport fans – really anyone after an intriguing, unconventional adventure that’s inherently off of any beaten bath will relish an eco-tour with North Island Surf and Kayak.
Parris knows that her family business is so much more than rentals, tours, lessons and sales. Ultimately, good business is a matter of fostering positive, personal relationships with the people you serve, and North Island Surf and Kayak has mastered that art: “We truly try to give our customers a one-of-a-kind experience.” North Island is a place where customers aren’t just placated like tourists, they’re welcomed as friends. And it’s that personal touch that keeps customers coming back year after year. Well, that and Tybee’s beautiful landscape, Parris notes: “Really, our job is easy because this part of the world sells itself – all we do is facilitate fun!”
North Island Surf & Kayak
1C Old Highway 80
PO Box 1786
Tybee Island, GA 31328
About the Author:
Chantel Baul is a Savannah native with a knack for writing and an ever-growing curiosity. She received her BA in English and Professional Communications from Armstrong State University, and when she’s not writing she’s serving the country as a US Army Reserve Officer. She’s an NPR nerd/foodie with a deep passion for all things travel, sustainable living and fun.