The Last Pre-Summer Adventure After Work Newport Harbor Pizza Paddle

  • Updated: May 23, 2019
  • Post By: Matthew Hengst

May 23rd, 2019

Once a month -ish a group of us get together and paddle around Newport Harbor after work. We launch from the public beach next to the Newport Aquatic Center in a combination of kayaks and SUPs and paddle out into the main harbor where we find a restaurant that either has its own dock or is near a public one.  Others will meet us there and we enjoy food, beer, and socializing before paddling back to the cars in the dark. We've been doing this for years all times of the year and in pretty much any conditions. Light, dark, rain, and the dead of SoCal winter where you're tempted to put a sweater on with your flip flops.

You can find writeups of other paddles here.

This particular paddle was a big one since we had a new restaurant to try.  And Jack Kieffer was going to be away for the next 2.5 months traveling across the country.  And on my end there was the minor detail that the next day was my last day at work for at least the next 4 -ish months meaning the paddles were likely going to be a bit irregular for a while.  And we had another person dunk into the water.  Eventful!

Fortunately we great conditions and there was a lot of other paddle traffic in the harbor as we launched from North Star Beach at 6:45 pm.

No sooner had I launched than I heard a minor shriek followed by a loud splash.  Kay had been playing around ahead of us and managed to flip her canoe into the water.

A few minutes later she was back in her boat only a slightly bit soggier.

These paddles are always fun but the summer ones tend to be everyone's favorite since it's warm and we get to enjoy a sunset as we paddle down the main channel.

For months we've been mourning the loss of our old haunt Pizza Nova since it closed down last December but we'd gotten news that a new restaurant had opened in its place called Mama's.

(We originally planned to eat at GuacAmigos but it turned out that this dock is the sole property of Mama's and they don't have any boat access of their own so we switched over.)

It's comfort food all right and the portions are massive, the food selection is varied and decent, and the beer selection was acceptable.

After a pleasant hour or two stuffing ourselves and catching up with everyone's summer plans it was time to be off.

People who join us for the first time are always nervous about paddling back in the dark but conditions are almost always glassy smooth and there's plenty of ambient light.  We even had the tide on our side as we came back in reaching the beach sometime after 10:30 pm and getting me home late enough to be short on sleep for my last day of work and a long drive up to the Sierra for the start of the summer adventure!

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