California Canoe and Kayak: A conversation with Keith Miller
Favorite thing to do in Oakland to take a break from the work day?
My favorite thing to do to break from my work day is actually, Go paddle - so I’ll hop in a boat or a stand up paddle board and I will jump in the water because here is it and we’re close by.
How far can you usually get?
20 minutes half an hour perhaps I can paddle, Depending on how fast a craft I use I can paddle to Coast Guard Island and back.
Now if it’s not paddling then I like to hang out, like if I want to go watch a game I’ll go to one of the restaurants that has a TV like Steel Rail or Overland or Jack’s and have a beer and watch a Warrior’s basketball game.
How have your classes and trip offerings changed?
The biggest change is that more people are doing standup paddle boarding. It’s about half our business now for rentals and classes. It’s fairly easy to get into, its less gear intensive, the boards are lighter.
We outgrew that space, we grew pretty fast, and we moved to Point Richmond - before we moved there I actually checked out JLS - this was ‘85 - and these buildings were all here. The project had been completed and the buildings were pretty much empty at the time, there wasn’t much going on. I was excited about coming here because of the water access but I made a phone call to the state water control quality people, the local office, and I was informed that the water quality in the estuary at that point in time was very questionable… So we moved to Point Richmond instead, used the Richmond Marina for our classes. In 1993 I was approached by the Port real-estate division to move here again. It took me by surprise... As it turns out it was on a recommendation from the Alameda County economic development commission, [they] suggested that if you wanted to improve JLS activity get something down here to draw people here to use the water.