Stand-up paddleboarding, or SUP, is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world; head to any popular beach or river around Michigan on a warm summer day, and chances are you'll see at least a few people gliding across the water on one of those big, colorful boards.
Woodin Family of Michigan
But despite the sport's rising popularity, buyers still have limited options when it comes to what their boards are made out of. So far, materials like foam and plastic have dominated the SUP industry. Meanwhile, wooden paddleboards -- which use more sustainable construction methods and materials -- account for only one percent of the paddleboard market. Part of that is because wood paddleboards are more complicated and expensive to make, and therefore are more expensive to buy. But Thelen and other proponents of wooden SUPs say they last much longer than their plastic counterparts -- saving customers money over time, all the while reducing what eventually lands in the landfill.
At first, though, Thelen wasn't exactly on a mission to save the planet via paddleboards. Rather, the idea to try making his own wooden board came about after a family trip to Leelanau County, where he had a transcendent experience while paddleboarding on Lake Michigan.
Woodin Family of Michigan by David Woodin - FictionDB
Thelen, a master carpenter by trade, began pricing out paddleboards online, but then he stumbled on a website devoted to build-your-own wooden surfboards -- which bore many design similarities to paddleboards. Further research inspired him to try his hand at building a small wood paddleboard for his then nine-year-old daughter. Leave a Condolence.
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