SUP INSTRUCTORS NEAR YOU
From flatwater socialites to downwind warriors, SUP instructors are key to learning how to standup paddle. In honor of our upcoming Beginner's Guide, hitting newsstands March 28, here's a look at some of standup paddling's top instructors in your region.
FIT AS A PADDLE: BRODY WELTE
Brody Welte isn't your average instructor. The 36-year-old doesn't have the slouch of a desk jockey pundit or the belly of a high school football coach. In fact, Welte says he's probably in the best shape he's ever been, thanks to SUP.
"I've always been active but when I was introduced to paddling, to me it was the most complete, functional form of exercise I've ever come across," Welte says. "I've probably never been stronger and more fit than I am now just because I'm paddling."
Welte, who was already an avid surfer, was living on Kaua'i when he was first introduced to SUP and was immediately hooked. It also helped that he met and befriended Dave Kalama, one of the sport's pioneers. He'd found his calling. He developed a business plan around the sport and moved to the Tampa Bay area and started teaching.
"I just fell in love with St. Petersburg because it had a lot of flat water," he says. "The whole thing is flat and I'm thinking, 'OK this is going to be a conducive area for people learning the sport.' It's such a water culture there."
"It got way bigger than what I anticipated," he says. "We've been doing it for almost three years now and we've certified about 360 people in North America."
Welte teaches paddling-specific workouts in and out of the water but doesn't forget to include good technique.
"If you're using proper technique you're going to engage all those core muscles, you're going to work on balance, so for me that's the major, core tenet we teach everybody," Welte says. "We've got to teach people to paddle correctly."
Welte has since relocated to the San Diego area and opened a PaddleFit training center in Cardiff. In January the company launches its affiliate program where instructors can receive instruction for opening and running official, PaddleFit-certified training centers.
He is also a partner in Kalama Kamps, exclusive, destination-style SUP camps. He's anything but hands-off.
"I basically use myself as a guinea pig. It's got to work for me before I can introduce it to anybody else," Welte says. "I'll do a lot of experimentation with paddling, with the fitness stuff and it'll help me become a better paddler." --WT
This article originally ran in our 2013 Beginner's Guide. Look for more profiles in our upcoming Beginner's Guide on newsstands, March 28.