Kathy Verigin.

New website celebrates stand up paddle boarding for mature paddlers

It’s fair to say that seniors today may be a different breed than the seniors of fifty years ago.

It’s fair to say that seniors today may be a different breed than the seniors of fifty years ago. We’re healthier and more active — and possibly just a little more adventurous. A local senior has set up to celebrate with new opportunities for folks like herself interested in the growing sport of stand up paddle boarding.

Castlegar graphic designer Kathy Verigin was intrigued when, while on vacation in Hawaii, she first saw stand up paddle boarders playing in the surf. But it took a nudge from her husband to find the courage to try. When she did, she couldn’t believe how easy it was — or how much fun.

Thus began a love affair with stand up paddle boarding (SUP), a sport Verigin says is accessible for people at any fitness level and an excellent way to build core strength and balance while enjoying the great outdoors. It seemed a natural thing to take that passion and, using her graphic design skills, share it through a new website offering tips and resources, www.standuppaddleboardingguide.com.

Now, Verigin — an active 60-year-old and SUP enthusiast — has created a sister site for mature paddlers. The site, www.supseniorenthusiasts.com, offers encouragement to get started with information on skill-building, equipment, and stories by and about senior SUP enthusiasts. Since its launch, traffic has been brisk.

“We — meaning mature paddlers — need more avenues for discussion, more talk about the benefits and more encouragement to start-up, play and explore this great sport,” says Verigin. “There hasn’t been much out there. I want to be a part of changing that.”

Through the website’s discussion forum Verigin hopes other SUP senior enthusiasts will tell their stories and develop an online community, and through her blog find out the latest on gear, opportunities, and more.

On the home front, Verigin is organizing a local SUP seniors social meet-up group to get together near Robson and enjoy paddling together on the Columbia River. Verigin emphasizes that this group is for self-identified mature paddlers: there’s no particular age to qualify. She also emphasizes fun.

“Once I am geared up and on my board I find myself smiling and laughing like a little kid, and I start thinking: what could be better than this?” Verigin says. “That’s a feeling I’d love to share with others.”

To find out more, contact Verigin through the “contact” tab on the website.