How We Got Started Renting Paddleboards
Established in 2014, Big Willie’s Action Sports was built on a handshake over a couple of beers after two friends, Derek Girmscheid and Jon Cressman, struggled to find Rental Paddleboards in downtown Nashville.
Who Is Big Willie?
Big Willie is actually a dog…Derek’s bulldog. He was the inspiration of our laid-back culture. Willie and his sister, Ginger, love getting out on the water.
Our Experienced SUP Guides
Each tour you will have a tour guide who will be with you on your paddleboard adventure and a driver who will shuttle you and keep a watchful eye while you float down the river. They’ll provide you with helpful tips, keep an eye out for you on the river and provide a brief intro to help you get oriented on your board.
Paddle boarding In Downtown Nashville Our Downtown Nashville Tour consists of a 2-3 hour paddle down the Cumberland River that starts at Shelby Park and ends at Riverfront park on Broadway smack dab in the middle of Downtown Nashville.
Look out for our signature tour van (AKA the Willie Wagon) and it’s trailer full of paddle boards & gear. We provide all of the gear and a quick introduction session for new paddleboarders. The gentle current of the Cumberland River directs paddlers downtown, where paddlers enjoy some of the most unique sights and sounds of Music City, USA. When the tour is o
ver, paddlers exit the water at Riverfront Park at Broadway & First for some photo oportunities and a quick beverage and snack and are shuttled back to Shelby Park.
Questions & Answers About Our SUP & Kayak Tour
Q: What’s included with the Paddle board Tour?
A: The tour includes everything you’ll need for a downriver adventure. We supply the paddle board rental, paddles, life jackets, instructions, and manpower to lug the equipment in/out of the water.
Q: This is my first time Paddle boarding. Do I need experience before going on the tour?
A: No. Each group is given a Safety & Skills demonstration before heading down the river, which includes the basics skills needed to operate a Paddle board safely and effectively. Our guides provide additional instruction during the tour to make sure everyone feels comfortable and has fun.
Q: Do You Have Kayaks?
A: Starting this season we DO have a limited number of kayaks available for each tour, please be sure to give us a call ahead of time to request one.
Q: When Do tours start?
A: We typically take groups out on weekends at 10am, 1pm & 4pm.
Q: Where should we park?
A: We park and meet at Shelby Park in East Nashville. Parking is free and there are plenty of spots! Head towards the railroad tracks along the river and you will run into us with our boards and trailer. The quickest way to find us is to turn onto Davidson Street and head towards Shelby Bottoms Greenway. The boat ramp is just past the golf course and baseball fields.
Q: What should I wear on our Paddleboard tour?
A: You should dress as if you are going to the beach. Bathing suits are recommended, along with a good pair of sandals or water-shoes that can get wet. We recommend that riders wear their shoes while getting on/off the boards.
Q: What should I bring along?
A: We recommend bringing sunglasses or a hat. We have sunscreen, water and snakcs available for all tours. Try to minimize the number and size of belongings you bring with you, as storage options are limited. Be sure to check our list of recommended tour products you can order ahead of time to keep you and your belongings safe and dry.
Q: Is there somewhere to store my belongings while on the tour?
A: Yes, there are two options for storing your belongings. We have dry-bags available that you can bring with you on the tour. Belongings can also be stored in our shuttle bus. The bus is attended or locked at all times, for security.
Q: Will my camera/phone get wet?
A: We encourage you to leave behind your camera, as our guides will bring one in a waterproof bag, take photos at several points during the tour and we post them in the following days on Facebook. Please let our guides know if you don’t want your pictures posted.
Q: How long is the tour?
A: The tour typically lasts 2-3 hours depending on current and the number of people in the tour.
Q: What happens in the event of bad weather?
A: Someone once said “if you don’t like the weather in Nashville just wait 10 minutes”. The honest truth is that occasionally, we may get a little rain while we’re out on the water. However, in the event of serious weather conditions that prevent us from operating safely, reservations can be rescheduled or refunded. Refunds are given on a case-by-case basis.
Q: Is there an age-limit for the Tour?
A: The minimum age for Tours is 12. Riders under the age of 18 will need to need their parent/guardian present.
*At the beginning of every tour we just need you to sign a simple liability waiver for the day.