Surf Reston has asked Reston Association for permission to offer occasional classes and outings on Lake Audubon, Newport and Thoreau, according to RA documents.
“In 2015, it is proposed that sessions better utilize all four Reston lakes,” Surf Reston operator Steve Gurney wrote to the RA Board. “Many of the RA members enjoyed seeing Lake Anne from a new perspective and inquired about paddling on the other lakes. Expanding beyond Lake Anne can lighten the footprint of the offering on any one lake in additional to providing options for RA members to explore the water in our community.”
There had been controversy using Lake Audubon when SUP lessons were first proposed for Reston in 2013. At that time, the previous owner of Surf Reston wanted to base operations at Lake Audubon. That proposal received much pushback from Lake Audubon-area residents, who did not want a commercial operation on the all-residential lake.
In 2014, there were two successful paddleboard events at Lake Audubon, said Gurney.
“The majority of sessions are five students and one instructor, ” he said. “Surf Reston would request the potential to have sessions that would not exceed 15 paddlers. For example, Reston Community Center has requested organizing a ‘trip’ for 12 paddlers. These requests would be limited in quantity and during specific day and times to minimize impact.”
Surf Reston is also working with Reston Association to try and offer SUP as part of Teen Camp and Day Camp, as well as several fitness/yoga/paddleboarding combo classes.
The 2015 schedule proposes most SUP classes at Lake Anne, but also classes and tours at Lake Audubon on alternating Wednesday evenings and monthly events at Lake Newport and Lake Thoreau on Sundays.
The RA Board will vote on the summer 2015 schedule at its Feb. 26 meeting.
Photo: Paddleboarding on Lake Anne/Credit: Jim Kirby
The schedule will have two days/evenings of paddleboard instruction on Lake Anne per week, and no more than three intermediate level classes per month at Lake Audubon. There will be no “rental fleet” of paddleboards at any Reston lake, says Larry Butler, RA’s Director of Parks and Recreation.
The plan for summer 2014 looks much different than it did in late summer of 2013, when the RA Board passed a a motion to allow to allow the company to do business at Lake Audubon.
That plan was met with complaints from many Lake Audubon residents, who said offering a commercial enterprise at the all-residential lake would lead to an influx of noise, garbage and non-resident use of the lakes.
Still, one Lake Audubon resident spoke up at Wednesday’s meeting against business at Lake Audubon.
“With commercialization, the lake becomes more crowded and noisy,” she told the board. “Blatant and crass commercialism defies everything that brought us to Reston. This plan is scaled down, but it is just the tip of the iceberg.”
While it is hard to police whether users of Reston’s lakes are Reston residents, some board members said it is important to remember that Reston lakes are for all residents, not just lakefront property owners.
“I am certainly sensitive to neighbors who are concerned about too much use,” said Lake Anne/Tall Oaks director Eve Thompson. “But I am also sensitive to lake residents vs. non residents. We cannot create an allusion that the lakes are not for all of Reston. The lake is large enough, people. We will figure it out.”
As part of the agreement between RA and Surf Reston, the paddleboard company will pay to RA 10 percent of its gross revenues per class season. RA says that will be between $500 and $1,000.
Meanwhile, a local yoga studio is working on purchasing space at Lake Anne Plaza. In addition to offering studio yoga, there would be about four classes per week of SUP-Asana — yoga on paddleboards — at Lake Anne. The board also voted in favor of that on Thursday, pending SUP-Asana’s purchase of studio space.