Ever heard of stand-up paddle boarding? We hadn’t either, until a passionate ocean activist clued us in to this ancient water sport that’s experiencing a revival.
Ocean activist Gina Bradley started Paddle Diva, a stand-up paddle board business in Long Island, New York. Bradley was kind enough to answer some of our burning questions.
Q: What is stand-up paddle boarding?
GB: Stand-Up Paddle Boarding (or SUP) is an ancient form of surfing from the Hawaiian Islands, and in about 2000 it reemerged as a way for people to enjoy oceans, lakes, rivers and bays using a one-bladed paddle and standing on a longer and wider surfboard with a bit more volume.
While it is a wonderful full body work-out for the most athletic to the least, SUP also does wonders for the mind as you paddle through gorgeous scenery, on your own or with a group of friends.
Q: How did you get the idea for Paddle Diva?
GB: I started paddling on my own in 2007 and found SUP to be such a great way to get out on the water and so easy to teach my friends how to do it. It seemed like a sport for woman, but was really marketed to men.
So finally in the summer of 2009, I created Paddle Diva based on the premise that women are completely underserved in the SUP market. Since I was once a fitness instructor, wind-surfing teacher, and PADI certified Scuba Instructor I had a lot of experience working on or above the water. We live on the East End of Long Island, where there are thousands of bays to paddle on and my passion for SUP grew. I knew that SUP for women was a trend that was going to catch on for women and I wanted to be the instrument to make it thrive.
Q: Tell me about your ocean activism.
GB: I have had a very strong connection to the ocean since I was a young girl, spending my summers on the beaches of Long Island and Fire Island. I lived in the Caribbean for five years and after that followed a passion to become a skilled Windsurfer. My passion about the ocean is mostly around keeping the waters clean, of debris, plastic pollutants and oils. I see the direct effects of these pollutants first hand.