BIG TIME! Article from YFI News
So I guess we've made it. Esteemed journalist Tora Berg wrote an article about us for YFI News and it was published in their recent edition. You might be able to find a copy around town which would include some sweet pics but if it's sold out at your local retailer, you can read the article below.
Old Town Paddle & Co.
Written by Tora Berg
"What a night!" "She’s a beauty!"
It’s May 13th, and the guys from Old Town Paddle & Co. are about a kilometer towards Yellowknife before being forced to stop at the ice’s edge. They had heard the previous day from some friends of some friends that the Yellowknife River had opened up. The two set out that evening with a couple of their Stand Up Paddle (SUP) boards and thought they’d check it out. Turned out the rumour was legit. After answering several questions from curious onlookers by the dock (which is fairly common for them. In Yellowknife, you’re more likely to see a black bear in your backyard than an oversized surfboard), the guys hit the water.
The calm waters of the Yellowknife River this time of year were quite different for Benji Straker and Ivan Gloeden. Just a month prior, they had been battling turbulent waters while downwinding (surfing open bodies of water except the waves aren’t necessarily breaking) on Howe Sound in Squamish, BC. They had gone to the "Adventure Capital of Canada" to become certified Paddle Canada Instructors, through iconic Canadian Waterman Norm Hann. Upon completion of the course, the pair became the first certified SUP Instructors in the Northwest Territories.
Old Town Paddle & Co. is about as far away from the grassroots of the sport as you can get. It’s a sure bet that when the beach boys of Waikiki first took paddles onto their surfboards in the ‘60’s, they never would’ve guessed that one day people up near the Arctic Circle would be doing the same thing. While there is no known surf in the NWT, there are lots of options for avid SUPers in the North. Benji talked about a number of disciplines that can be done.
"Most people will be paddling leisurely on small, calm lakes, but there are almost all the same opportunities for us in the north that paddlers have in the south. People are getting out there and paddling rivers, white-water, downwinding, covering some amazing distances on touring boards, races are popping up all over and SUP Yoga is becoming incredibly popular. "Ivan jumped in, "and while our paddling season is shorter than down south, we have a wealth of water sources up here and near endless sunlight in the summer."
The limited equipment needed (board, paddle and PFD) and the quick learning curve has made (SUP) the fastest growing water sport in the world. A common phrase used is, "If you can ride a bike, you can SUP." People with a wide range of fitness levels can enjoy paddling on a SUP. "If people want to throw their dog on the front of the board and enjoy a relaxing day on the lake, they can do that but if they want to get a serious training session in, that can be done also," said Ivan. "And the great thing is, it’s fun! So it doesn’t really feel like working out. It’s much more enjoyable than slogging away on the treadmill or elliptical at the gym and has more benefits."
While a lot of newcomers think the arms are the main muscle used to move the board ahead, the majority of the strokes, when properly executed, use mostly the back and core to generate power. An added benefit of SUP is that you’re standing (hence the stand in SUP). Compare that to canoeing or kayaking where you’re in a seated position the entire time and you get the added benefit of all your little stabilizer muscles also being activated.
While SUP can be easily learned, the guys did recommend getting some instruction. "For a person just getting into the sport, the Paddle Canada Basic Course is a great option. It’ll teach you the strokes you need to get around, but also everything from the different types of boards, ways to be safe while on the water, and some different ways to transport your boards," said Benji. "Even if you feel confident on a board, it’s always good to get some solid instruction. You can learn the most efficient ways to paddle so you aren’t putting unnecessary stress on your joints and body. Might even pick up a few different strokes to move your board around the water."
The Old Town Paddle & Co. crew is clearly passionate and knowledgeable about the sport. If you’re in Yellowknife, no better place to rent a board, take a lesson, or pick up a board for yourself!
Visit their Website: www.oldtownpaddle.com, or send an email to: email@example.com for more information.
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