The wild side of Winthrop with Belle Isle Kayak Adventures

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.

For the Transcript

As a young man growing up in Somerville, Rick Buss first became enthralled with Winthrop after becoming a lifeguard at Winthrop Beach, spending parts of several summers enjoying the summer breezes and ocean waves of the town’s largest attraction.

“Over the years, I kept coming back here. When I got out of the Navy, I would come visit this beach, or when I was raising my kids, we would come to Winthrop Beach,” recalled Buss, co-owner of Belle Isle Kayak Adventures. “Over the years, I’ve been involved in things like scuba diving and kayak tournament fishing, and Winthrop has always been a place where I could do those things. Winthrop really is a gem.”

The idea for starting Winthrop’s first kayak touring business, came out of Buss’ love of kayak tournament fishing and his son Chris’ desire to not work the same long hours his father puts in as a contractor.

“It was an idea that I’ve been working on for some time, but we wanted to do it right because we don’t want the four walls of a storefront or office to run our business out of,” said Buss, who admits to enjoying the kayak tours he gives as much as those who pay to take them.

“I was looking around, and there was no one else really doing this kind of kayak business. There is the Charles River kayak rentals up in Newton, but ours is saltwater-based, and we’re willing and able to build you the adventure that you want to have,” said Rick, who with Chris organizes and runs all the tours his customers request.

“Usually, we need three or four days’ notice to get all the boats people will need for a tour. We do offer several kinds of tours from bird-watching tours of the Belle Isle Marsh, to saltwater fishing tours in the waters around Winthrop, but we can build tours and deliver kayaks anywhere someone wants them. We can arrange to do it from Rockport, if that’s what someone wants, so it really is a unique adventure for anyone who wants to try it,” said Buss. “Part of the reason we got into doing this is because we love to do it ourselves. I love being out on the water with a tour and having fun, as much as the people who come out with us.”

Buss said the different types of tours mentioned on the company’s website, at, are just a way of getting his customers involved in a discussion about what type of tour they want to take.

“We’ve had fishing trips and bird watchers, but we’ve also had families and bachelorette parties come out for the tours, so they really are for all types of people,” he said. “Once we have the first conversation about what type of tour and when, we talk to our customers a day or two ahead of time and build them the tour they want, along with a backup plan for inclement weather and rough seas.”

The company also offers several different types of kayaks, with seating on top of the kayaks and inside the boats, as well as wider kayaks, kayaks made for two, and kayaks with glass bottoms. The tour business just began this past spring, and Buss said business has been going very well, especially given the rough economy that has hampered so many other businesses. However, the company is still trying to create its identity in Winthrop.

Belle Isle Kayak Adventures will be offering complimentary kayak rides at Yirrell Beach this weekend, as part of the Chamber of Commerce’s Old-Fashioned Family Day at the Beach and was also recently involved with the Parks and Recreation Department’s Sand Castle Festival as well.

To learn more about Belle Isle Kayak Adventures, check out their website or call 617-719-2036.

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