By Denise DuBois
Nestled just off Brickyard Road in Phenix City sits a waterfront building that Tom Mulhall and his family renovated a year ago. The building became a shop and storefront for Mulhall’s passion: being on the water.
Entering the store, you can see all that the paddle company offers in the way of river fun. Sitting on the back deck, visitors can feel the serenity as the Chattahoochee River flows gently. It’s nothing like the rapids just a mile up the river. This part of the Chattahoochee offers more options to those who want to take it easy and relax.
That’s just what you do on this part of the river. For a few miles, you can just float. At one mile an hour, a tube will leisurely take you on a full day’s trip — or for just an hour or two — from the Phenix City Amphitheater — before a shuttle picks you up and brings you back to reality.
For a faster, more energetic ride, kayaks and canoes will give you a workout as you paddle down the river. Take it slow or make a race of it.
Stand-up paddleboards will test your balance, but prove to be a lot of fun when you get the hang of it.
Whatever you choose, flat water activities give you a break from the world around you.
Plus, Chattahoochee Paddle Company offers a shop full of drinks, sunglasses, bookbags, T-shirts, and so much more to make your experience the best.
Mulhall and his family worked on the shop for a year – renovating the building and acquiring the perfect boats for customers. He got the idea from his time on the Flint River as a young adult.
“In my twenties, we’d go down the Flint River several times a year. Even when my son was tiny, we’d go down the river. I always thought we could do that here the same way. When they started talking about opening the dams, I thought this was the perfect location,” Mulhall said.
Mulhall has enjoyed being on the river since he was a child.
“It’s something I’ve always enjoyed. The first time I was even in a canoe, I was 12 years old and in Boy Scouts. At 14, I started teaching paddling and canoeing at summer camp,” he said.
The feeling of wanting to be on the water stuck with him since then, and he hopes others will find the same enjoyment that he does.
In addition to water sports, Mulhall also has a wooden boat he built in his shop.
“We went to wooden boat school in Maryland. They started us there then we brought it back here to finish it. It takes a long time to build a wooden boat,” he said. He explained the process, but added that the boat hasn’t made much of an appearance on the water just yet. “It’s mainly for special events and when the water is really low. Once we have a dock, it will be easier to launch.”
The dock will be complete in the next year, he said.
A lot of what’s in his shop reflects the community – from the racks made from parts of the old wooden dams to boats that were designed in the Chattahoochee Valley area. Mulhall likes it that way.
Chattahoochee Paddle Company is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. with all boats off the river by 8 p.m. ET. Rentals are affordable. Tubes are $10 per person for two hours, and he offers single and group tubes. Kayaks and canoes are $25 per person until closing time. Stand-up paddleboards are $20. Find Chattahoochee Paddle Company on Facebook or online at www.chattahoocheepaddlecompany.com. Call (706) 315-4697 for more information. Chattahoochee paddle Company is located at 400 Brickyard Rd. in Phenix City.