When Holly Evans and friends first discovered stand-up paddleboarding, they knew Lake Minnetonka was a perfect spot for it. After being introduced to the sport which was hot in Hawaii and on coastal beaches, the three friends bought boards and started paddling around Lake Minnetonka. "We would get people constantly coming up to us and asking, what is that? It's like you are walking on water," remembers Evans.
Three years ago Evans and two friends founded Wai Nani Surf & Paddle. The business continues to grow as more people fall in love with the glide of the surfboard on the water.
"This year it's really taken another turn in terms of now more people want to do it. We have young, old, and families trying it," Evans said.
Evans teaches beginner classes, leads stand-up paddleboarding tours around Lake Minnetonka and rents boards out of a shack on Wayzata Beach. Many beginner classes are women's groups, book clubs and friends who want to try out the sport together.
Excel as a Beginner.
Kari Rohrich grabbed five of her friends and fellow mothers from the Plymouth and Maple Grove area and met Holly Evans on Wayzata Beach for a 75-minute session on SUP. The session begins on the shore learning fundamentals and then moves into the shallow water. By the end of the class, the beginners don't look so "beginner" at all.
"It's something we've all wanted to do," said Kari Rohrich. "It's so much easier than I thought it was going to be."
More experienced paddleboarder Dave DeFontaine enjoys the exercise and exploring the Lake. Since he retired in November, he's been an active stand-up paddleboarder.
"When there's wind, I go sailing. When there's no wind, I go paddling," said DeFontaine. "I've probably been on 110 of 125 miles of shoreline. There's very little shoreline I haven't padded on all around the lake."
DeFontaine says he likes the stand-up aspect of the sport better than sitting in a canoe or kayak. The repetitive motion works his torso and improves his balance.
"I call it hydrotherapy," said DeFontaine.
The serenity of gliding on the water is the perfect picture of retirement for DeFontaine, who tries to get out on the water nearly every day. Beginners experience the calm and serenity too.
"It is very serene," said Kari Rorich. "I never knew the water was as clear as it was. You can get closer to shore and it's so pleasant."
Want to Try It Out?
Think you are interested in learning stand-up paddleboarding? It's suggested to try out the sport before investing in a board or paddle, which can get expensive. Wai Nani Surf and Paddle offers a 75-minute beginner clinic with all equipment provided for $50 per person. There are seminars and workshops all summer long. If you want to rent a board for an hour, the cost is $30.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
Tuesday, July 10, 2012