Riviera was approached a few months ago with the idea by Rick Stinson, a tennis coach and DHHS graduate. The need for boards and a place to store them was a small hurdle, but we were able to collaborate with The Dana Outrigger Canoe Club for a place to store the SUP's, and we offered to donate 10 Riviera 10'6" SUP's, and paddles for the kids to use during class.
Stinson is a SUP racer and a surfer himself and wanted to bring his love of the sport to his students.
“I grew up surfing and that’s a sport you can do forever. [Standup] is a a life-long sport too,” Stinson says. “I wanted to give that to these students.”
He’ll do just that, twice a week in hour-and-a-half block periods, introducing students to training regimes, board styles and the different disciplines of the the sport. 24 paddlers showed up for the first class, ranging in experience from seasoned racers to first-time paddlers. An afternoon sea breeze made conditions tough for the first on-water class but the students were ready and willing to have at it.
“Conditions were a little breezy,” Mike Skelly, a Hobie lifestyle athlete who was helping out with the class, says. “But they all took it in stride. Everyone got on the board and paddled despite the conditions.”
Some of the more advanced students helped beginners or cruised farther afield. Skelly and Stinson raced around the harbor and checked on the groups as they figured things out. It was hard not to be jealous of the students and teachers alike, sliding over the cool green water. You couldn’t ask for a better classroom.