Friday, May 8, 2015

'Paddleboarding' Coming to Fairhope Pier?

Fairhope, Alabama. (


south pier park
The city's Recreation Committee gave a thumbs-up to the request of Fairhope-resident John Manelos for a franchise to operate a paddleboard business on city property just south of the main pier; and it may be officially approved by the city council at this Monday's meeting after a public hearing.

Manelos, the owner of Fairhope Paddleboards, will also give lessons there.

The city gets 20% of the gross as a franchise fee; a business license is also required.

The sport originated in Hawaii about 10 years ago:

"Stand up paddle surfing and stand up paddle boarding (SUP), (Hoe he'e nalu in the Hawaiian language) are sports originating in Hawaii as an off-shoot of surfing. They enable surfers to paddle farther into the ocean than is typical or to paddle standing up as a sport unto itself.

Recreation Committee
A 2013 report called it the outdoor sporting activity with the most first-time participants of any in the United States that year.[1] Paddlers race on lakes, large rivers and canals, ride breaking waves, and glide over long distances along sea coasts, often using tail winds to aid the trip."

(Paddleboards are also available for rent at 17 Turtles in the Fly Creek marina.)


The Committee heard that bids are being prepared by city engineer Jinright for several possible scenarios for six new tennis courts to be built at Stimpson Field to supplement the six already there: $300,000 was budgeted for the courts this year.

At last word, the bids are to ask for proposals to help the city council determine relative cost per court:

1) 6 hard (asphalt) surface
2) 6 clay surface
2) 4 hard; 2 clay ('hydrocourts')
3) 4 clay; 2 hard

Estimated yearly maintenance costs are being requested as well and the number of courts of the same type necessary to  host high school and private tournaments are a factor to consider as well.
'Hydrocourts' have automatic watering systems for the clay to prevent cracking, but need additional maintenance too.

The city has tentative plans to hire its own tennis director/pro next year who should be able to help maintain the clay appropriately; but additional personnel may be necessary as well.

Recreation Department personnel worry about additional costs for clay caused by damage from the torrential rains common here.


Dave Mauritson, right
Fairhope Tennis Association President Dave Mauritson presented a 100-signature petition asking as many as possible be clay; at least two of them.

Association members are currently the primary users of the facility.

He said the slower, softer surface is more compatible for the association's mostly-older members; and should not cost much more,  by his estimates.

He said clay courts need to be refurbished every year (new clay added) but last longer than hard surface ones (twice as long?).

The FTA would be willing to help with some maintenace, such as rolling; a court-fee could be charged to help defray costs, Mauritson said.

(As of this writing, the bids have not been formally solicited: they do not appear on the city's website.)

John Manelos


Anonymous said...

Let’s just keep commercializing the “Crown Jewel Of Fairhope” than we can advertise as the mini Orange Beach. Crowds and Noise free of charge while a few connected profit.

Anonymous said...

So true.

Anonymous said...

pure greed , the bay is the only thing fairhope has going for it and that is just down at the pier way too small for everything they try to cram on a postage stamp piece of property

Caitlin Moore said...

Well.... I think it's great. Seems like something my boys would be interested in and it beats driving to the Gulf to find something like it.

Anonymous said...

These earlier commenters are obviously sour people. Paddle boarding is a wonderful thing that all people can benefit from. Stay positive about positive activities!