The Jersey Paddler is a long- and well-established family-owned business… a family with a passion for paddling and exploring new places.
In 1958 Walter Durrua (Walt), took over his father’s gas station at the Jersey Shore in Brick, NJ. As an avid outdoorsman, Walt thought it would be a great idea to rent canoes to area vacationers. Walt then began to sell a few boats and realized he had developed quite a following. His passion for paddling and exploring the outdoors fueled his desire for others to share this experience. With the growing popularity of kayaking and paddle sports, Walt’s business began to boom and after 33 years of operation in the same location, it was time to expand.
In the fall of 1991, the Jersey Paddler opened its doors at its present site on the corner of Rt. 70 and Rt. 88, just next to the original store. With a surface area of 7,200-square feet, the Jersey Paddler is now one of the largest canoe & kayak stores in the country stocking over 1,000 new and used boats year-round. It has become a full service retail supplier offering apparel, accessories and other merchandise related to paddle sports, world travel, camping and outdoor lifestyle from leading manufacturers around the world.
Every year for the last 47 years, the Jersey Paddler hosts Paddlesport, the East Coast’s largest kayak, canoe and outdoor consumer show in March. Over 100 exhibitors ranging from leading kayak, canoes and accessory manufacturers, to local guides and outfitters gather together at the Garden State Exhibit Center in Somerset, NJ to present new products and generate the same excitement that Walt had (and still has) for the sport many years ago.
Today, with Walt’s son John at the helm, the Jersey Paddler draws customers from the surrounding local communities of the Jersey shore, as well as from the entire Mid-Atlantic region. The store holds frequent seminars on paddling and the outdoors, and invites its customers to test any of the canoes and kayaks on the Forge Pond across the street from the store.
Open year-round, Walt, John and over a dozen avid paddlers man the floor, the boat yard and the Internet to make sure every single customer has a successful buying experience.