What good is living in a city with three rivers if you never get out on the water?

Just in time for summer, Tres Rios Sports has opened its doors at the trailhead of Millvale Riverfront Park, offering kayak rentals and sales three days a week.

The business is the brainchild of Rob Hainan, a Latrobe native and former kayak racer. Over the years he accumulated so many racing kayaks that he decided to start selling them as a licensed dealer for the high-end Epic brand of kayaks.

He and his family recently moved to Aspinwall and he said one of the reasons they moved to Pittsburgh was to be part of the revitalization of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts.

“We lived in a rural area, out on a 100-acre farm, and we really wanted to be part of the vibe of what’s going on in all these river towns.”

Rob Hainan and his wife, Lucia, with the high-performance kayaks they sell at Tres Rios Sports. Photo by Tracy Certo.

While the original plan was to find a spot to sell kayaks somewhere in the city, the business wasn’t quite at the level where a stand-alone storefront made sense yet. Fortunately, a chance encounter with some individuals from the Borough of Millvale convinced Hainan that renting kayaks along the river made perfect sense for his business and the riverfront community.

“Millvale is a growing community embracing its location along the river and always looking for unique recreational opportunities for Millvale residents and visitors,” says Eddie Figas, Millvale’s Director of Administrative Services. “Growth of riverfront activities is directly related to the continued redevelopment of the Millvale business district.”

In addition to selling kayaks from Epic [NEXTpittsburgh tested one and loved it – Ed.], Tres Rios offers pedal-powered kayaks made by the Hobie company.

“One of the problems with renting [a traditional] kayak, if you have no experience, is that it can be difficult to steer. You put someone in and they go around and around. With the Hobies, you don’t have that problem at all because you just pedal with your feet. It’s very user-friendly.”

Last year, Hobie took their pedal drive system a step further and married it to a standup paddleboard. Hobie calls them the Mirage Eclipse and they retail for about $2,500. Hainan says Tres Rios is the only place locally where you can rent this first-of-its-kind leg-powered stand-up board. [NEXT tested those, too, and they were not only great fun but also a great workout – Ed.]

“Think an elliptical machine meets a StairMaster meets a paddleboard. It’s a super fun and unique way to move around the water.”

Rentals of both pedal kayaks and standup paddleboards are available at an hourly rate, the perfect amount of time, says Hainan, to circle nearby Washington’s Landing.

Tres Rios is located at the Millvale Riverfront Park next to the Borough storage garage. Hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Friday through Sunday. Rentals cost $26 an hour. More information available at http://www.tresriossports.com/

Brian Conway

Brian Conway is a writer and photographer whose articles have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and local publications. In his free time, he operates Tripsburgh. Brian lives in the South Side.