New recreational activity available in Brownwood

With the temperatures rising, there’s a new option for cooling down in Brownwood and the surrounding area.

Phillipe Foix, a Brownwood firefighter and self-admitted “fan of the outdoors and outdoor recreation activity,” has created Bayou Kayak Rentals — which officially opened for business July 4 during RiverFest.

“I think it’s a great idea and surprised no one in Brownwood’s done it before, especially with a college here,” Foix said. “It seems like this area’s just been asking for this.”

Bayou Kayak Rentals is a start-up business in the truest sense of the phrase, with a Facebook page of the same exact name and a phone number — (325) 642-4951 — as the current means of operation.

“We’ve only operated one full-time day and that was at RiverFest,” Foix said. “That was our foot in the door, trying to get everyone interested and put ourselves out there. We had some people sign a makeshift petition who were interested in seeing us operate on more of a full-time basis.”

Those interested in kayaking the Pecan Bayou through Riverside Park can contact Foix via the aforementioned phone number or through the Bayou Kayak Rentals Facebook page to set up a reservation. Kayak rentals are for a minimum of two hours and the cost is $20. There is a list of rules that must be adhere to and a waiver form to sign for liability purposes, Foix said.

“From the boat ramp at Riverside Park going down to the dam by Humphrey Pete’s is .7 miles, which takes about two hours to get there and back,” Foix said. “There’s another dam 1.3 miles up river and that takes better than three hours to go to and back.”

At the moment, Foix possesses 10 kayaks — a number he hopes to see grow as the business flourishes.

“I’d like to really expand next year to 20, depending on how things go, and then depending on demand decide where we go from there,” Foix said.

Foix accepts the fact that the kayak business is not booming in the Brownwood area at the moment, but is hopeful that will begin to change through word of mouth.

“I know a kayak rental business isn’t a very profitable business, it’s not going to make anybody rich, but I’d like to see it in this community,” Foix said. “Hopefully, eventually, the ultimate goal is to operate summer weekends. We’d be open 17 weekends from May 30 to Aug. 30. If that looks good and promising, maybe people will be interested in the offseason, fall or spring weekends. With the population of Brownwood I’m not sure there’s enough to sustain an overhead to be open weekdays, but definitely weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.”

Foix stated he envisioned working on his days off from the Brownwood Fire Department, as well as his second job in construction, and would likely bring on fellow firefighters if the business takes off.

“Once there’s a bigger demand, we could hire on more employees which could be off duty firefighters,” Foix said. “That’s an advantage because of their CPR, EMT and fire rescue certification.”

Foix would like to operate the kayak business out of Riverside Park, however, “there are rules against conducting business on the property,” he said, adding he hopes to have discussions with the city regarding the matter.

“I want to focus on the Riverside Park area because I think it would be most successful there,” Foix said. “It’s right in the middle of town and has all the amenities we need from grills to picnic tables to rest rooms and a play ground. If people come they’ll have additional activities. This would be just another option, another thing for people to do in town.”