Appalachian Boarding Co. brings unique sport to area

November 12, 2018
Evan and Brooke Young, co-owners and founders of Appalachian Boarding Co., steer closer to the bank of the Kanawha River while teaching a private session in Charleston in 2017.

HUNTINGTON — The husband-and-wife team of Evan and Brooke Young say they have a way to regain balance in your life with standup paddleboarding.

“Standup paddleboarding — known as SUP — is one of the easiest water sports or outdoor activities of any kind to learn,” according to Evan Young. “It’s a unique way to sightsee while testing your balance and working your core muscles.”

This past Wednesday, the couple hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for their business, Appalachian Boarding Co., located in Pullman Square in downtown Huntington, directly across from Cold Stone Creamery.

Appalachian Boarding Co. has been on the paddleboarding scene since opening its first location in Scott Depot, West Virginia, in 2016.

“We’ve taught almost 2,000 people how to paddleboard on the water and will now expand our services to an incredible array of landbased activities at our new location,” Evan Young said.

They offer a full complement of equipment rentals, accredited instruction, activities and tours of state waterways.

“Opening up this new Huntington location is like a dream come true,” Evan Young said.

Evan Young is a native of Putnam County and a Marshall graduate. He said he first saw paddleboarding while sitting on a beach in Puerto Rico.

“I saw somebody paddling out on their knees next to a surfer who was belly-down,” he said. “They had a paddle on a surfboard. They make it out beyond the breakers, and then they stand up. They ride and it looked like they were walking on water. I was captivated from that moment with standup paddleboarding.”

Evan Young says he first jumped on a paddleboard on the Ohio River, between Point Pleasant and Barboursville at Shady Waters Campground. It was after those paddleboarding experiences the couple began planning to start their own paddleboarding company in West Virginia.

“We opened our business with a deeply rooted mission of helping West Virginia regain balance both on and off the board,” he said.

Evan Young believes the new sport could help people break away from the pressures and tedium of contemporary life, as well as helping with the state’s obesity and opioid addiction problems.

“It’s made changes in my life from the inside out,” he said.

Evan Young says he lost nearly 80 pounds after starting paddleboarding.

“I had tried to exercise many times before,” he said. “But it was to no avail. I would succumb to injury. I was overweight. I weighed close to 300 pounds. I had succeeded in many areas. But I had no balance.”

Cassie Taylor, who is from the Teays Valley, West Virginia, area, says paddleboarding is the “cool” new thing.

Taylor says she first saw the activity being posted on social networking sites all over the internet and wondered if there was any place in the Huntington or Charleston areas offering it.

“It was such a unique thing and I wasn’t sure if I would find anything, but I found out about Appalachian Boarding Co. and was able to try paddleboarding,” she said. “Now I am hooked.”

J.D. Burns, of Huntington, says paddleboarding offers many health benefits.

“I started paddleboarding, and it just takes the stress away,” Burns said. “It’s also a great workout and really fun. I am glad we have this opportunity now in Huntington. I would recommend it to folks of all ages.”

“It’s easy to learn for all ages,” Brooke Young said.

“You will feel yourself gain stability instinctively as you begin to ignite every major lower-body muscle group in conjunction with all supporting muscle groups to achieve balance. And perhaps best of all, you gain confidence and burn off calories as you learn to keep your balance on West Virginia waters.

“West Virginia has so many waterways around the state, and our primary areas are those around Cabell, Putnam and Kanawha counties,” she said. “We are also a mobile business, so it’s just so easy for us to pack up our vans and meet at the particular waterway for the events.”

Their Appalachian Boarding Co. hosts a growing community of SUP enthusiasts on their Facebook internet site. The company schedules many events and posts them to its Facebook page. They also have a website at www.appalachianboardingcompany.com.

Evan Young said the company has participated in several events, like the Coal River Race, the UC in Eagle Fest 2.0, the Great Greenbrier Race and several international race events outside of West Virginia.

“Our state needs to leverage the beautiful resources we have, the beautiful waterways, which can be found with standup paddleboarding,” he said.

For more information about Appalachian Boarding Co., visit their websites at appalachianboardingcompany.com and AppBoCo.com, or visit their Facebook page for a complete list of upcoming events.

The grand opening event also included Modest-E, a unique mobile boutique and online shop owned by Elizabeth Erin Wolfe.

“Brooke, Evan and I have been in the fashion retail business together for several years, so when I was offered the opportunity to come into a brick-and-mortar location here in Pullman Square with them, it felt like something I needed to do,” Wolfe said.

For more information about Modest-E, visit the Facebook page or its website at www.modest-eboutique.com.

Follow reporter Fred Pace at Facebook.com/FredPaceHD and via Twitter @FredPaceHD.

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