With origins in 1960’s Hawaiian surf culture, stand up paddle-boarding or SUP’ing isn’t exactly new, but it’s been a slow and steady sell for Canadians. And there’s a good explanation: we have rather limited access to coastline.
Still, SUPing – standing on a wider, thicker, more buoyant version of a surf longboard and paddling with an oar – has experienced a swell in popularity because, as Nelsonite Steve Kerr points out, you don’t necessarily need waves; you can SUP in any body of water, like lakes and rivers. The sport is also easy to learn and reasonably priced, costing as little as $ 1,000 for a beginner board and paddle.
Kerr, a Quebec native drawn to the Kootenays in 1994, is banking on SUP’s growth. In 2011, he left his job as a mason and started Kerr Boards, dedicating himself to being a full-time custom stand-up paddleboard shaper. The 38-year-old father of two creates handmade, hollowed wood boards from sustainably harvested cedar planks from Harrop-Proctor, 30 kilometres north of Nelson, and coats them in vegetable-derived epoxy resin. Birch and maple veneer from the Blewett hills overlooking his home form the board’s frame ribs, reminiscent of a whale’s backbone.
It’s all part of his plan to marry sustainability, style and sport. ” I wanted to be creative and responsible in this passion, so I created an environmentally respectful product…and a piece of art you can hang on your wall in the off season.”
– Bobbi Barbarich
Steve Kerr – based in Nelson, British Columbia, is starting the process of handcrafting exquisite stand-up paddleboards using sustainably harvested local wood.
In the next year, he will be producing a limited number to test in the water.
The Kootenays of BC offer some of the most beautiful waterways on earth to paddle, and so inspiration comes easily.
Steve’s knowledge of the area and his twenty years of snowboarding and back country experience inform his creative expression.