© Submitted photo
Outside Expeditions owner Tim Nicholls, left, with lead guide Kenneth Sanderson take a break at the North Rustico shop. The company is celebrating its 20th anniversary providing kayak experiences on P.E.I.
NORTH RUSTICO – The original goal was to get people outside in the fresh air and the company that began with a couple of kayaks and bicycles back in the '90s are now celebrating their 20th anniversary.
Outside Expeditions is celebrating two decades of the paddle and pedal business in Prince Edward Island and plans are for an even bigger future. The operation has its home base at North Rustico harbour and a satellite operation at the Brudenell River Provincial Park near Georgetown.
“When we first opened in 1993, sea kayaking was considered an extreme sport and not a recreational activity,’’ said owner Tim Nicholls. “But with design changes and more stability, kayaking is now a big endeavour for many people and families.”
The company began with a few kayaks on the beach and offered a few multiday camping trips to surrounding beaches and coves on the North Shore. But as competition in the industry increased and more people became interested in kayaking, Outside Expeditions introduced a day trips, including a shorter tour on the sheltered water of Rustico Bay that was more appropriate for families and beginners.
“Since then, we’ve grown to be one of the most well-known and successful kayak and bike outfitting companies in the Maritimes,” said Nicholls. “Our goal is to showcase P.E.I.’s natural beauty, culture and wildlife.”
Nicholls says his most memorable trip was taking a U.S. family out on tour celebrating the birthdays of their quadruplet daughters.
“We’ve had people from all over Europe, Japan and China and never had a close call when it comes to safety,’’ he said.
Outside Expeditions offers various lengths of guided kayak day trips for people of any age or ability, out on the ocean, on the river, or in the bay, as well as kayak lessons and sales. Bike rentals are also available with paths and trails close by to explore P.E.I.’s National Park and Confederation Trail in Eastern P.E.I. The Brudenell location offers paddleboard and canoe rentals.
“Outside Expeditions is an engaging summer job that allows you to get outside and meet people from different places,” said former Brudenell manager Sean Molloy who spent five years with the operation.
All guides are certified by Paddle Canada and are qualified in first aid with experience guiding in P.E.I., Canada and the world. Google getoutside.com.
“We get lots of returning customers so I know we are providing people with a good experience and putting a smile on their face,” said Nicholls.