Rethinking Retail: Stand-up paddleboarding a means to retail, gym partnerships

The Rutabaga paddlesports shop is targeting the fitness crowd to build participation in stand-up paddleboarding -- and sees a natural means to partner with the likes of gyms and fitness retailers.
Author:
Updated:
Original:

The buzz over stand-up paddleboarding has grown louder over the past three years, and

Rutabaga, an outdoor specialty store in Monona, Wis., has found that the sport especially appeals to fitness-oriented consumers -- and could be a path to partnerships with gyms and fitness retailers.

As SNEWS® reported on June 18, Rutabaga recently hosted a luau to promote stand-up paddleboarding and drew a surprising number of new customers who were more of the fitness set than the traditional outdoor retail consumer base. (Click here to read the complete story.)

“We roasted a pig, wore Hawaiian shirts and got a whole bunch of people on boards,” said Rutabaga owner Darren Bush. “We saw people at our luau we’d never seen before -- yoga instructors and a lot of other people into fitness.”

Bush pointed out that consumers are responding to a steady stream of media messages that stand-up paddleboarding is a good form of exercise and therefore can be great cross-training. “That’s what you see in most of the magazine articles written about it,” said Bush.

Doug Erwin, CEO of Tahoe Stand Up Paddleboards (www.tahoesup.com), in Reno, Nev., said that stand-up paddleboarding primarily works a person’s core.

“Because you’re balancing, you’re activating your core,” said Erwin. “While you’re paddling you’re also rotating, and keeping stabilized while rotating really strengthens core muscles.” He added that the sport also involves “a lot of micro muscles in your feet and legs,” and does it in “a very low-impact way.”

Bush said that Rutabaga didn’t really play up the fitness angle of paddleboarding when he promoted the luau through a radio ad that ran at a high frequency for a week. Rather, the ad message focused on how stand-up paddleboarding is fun and relaxing (partly because the store didn’t want to turn off people who don’t consider themselves fit). Nevertheless, the promotion brought out people looking for a new way to exercise. Bush said he wants to build a community of people to support paddleboarding. Bush didn’t offer details about his plans to do that, but he said he’s working with gyms and fitness retailers as well as other entities that are natural partners.

Bush said he’s particularly interested in reaching out to women, as he thinks they’re buying the majority of the boards. Erwin of Tahoe Stand Up Paddleboards said he was not sure whether the majority of buyers are women, but he said that participation by women is growing quickly (his company’s women’s-specific board has seen the highest demand), and about 60 percent of women are buying boards for exercise.

As for the overall growth of stand-up paddleboarding, there’s a general consensus in the outdoor specialty market that it’s generating lots of interest but only slight to moderate sales. Nevertheless, plenty of shops are willing to give it a go, and Rutabaga has moved a modest number of boards this spring and summer. “They’re selling,” said Bush. “They’re not flying out the door, but they’re selling.”

--Marcus Woolf

Related

SUP_with_PFD_thumb.jpg

PFD makers address rising issues with life jacket laws and stand-up paddleboarding

On a bright Saturday in early June, 35-year-old Chip Knight was cruising on his stand-up paddleboard on Vermont’s Waterbury Reservoir when two state policemen in a boat approached him. “They had seen me from the shore with their binoculars, and they saw that I didn’t have a life ...read more

Standup_Paddleboard-Thumb.jpg

Stand-up paddling riding a wave of enthusiasm…will it last?

People in the paddling community have long voiced the need, as they call it, to get "butts in boats" as the secret to industry growth. However, there is a growing faction of the paddlesports business that now refuses to sit down; instead, they believe the way to drive sales and ...read more

FitBlowout-ExteriorRenderingSM.jpg

Rethinking Retail: Fitness Blowout looks to blow up retail, mixing in gyms, meeting rooms, community services

In today’s economy, it’s not hard to question Jim Rosen’s sanity, undertaking a $3.5 million project of proportions epic to the fitness industry with a mission never before seen. But his passion – and frankly the logic behind it – convinces you he may be on to something. His ...read more

Revo Sunglasses Partners with Tahoe Stand Up Paddleboards (SUP)

07.18.2011– Foothill Ranch, Calif. - Performance eyewear brand, Revo, today announced a partnership with Lake Tahoe-based, Tahoe Stand Up Paddleboards, one of the top SUP manufacturers in the industry.The two brands have aligned for the Tahoe EXPLORE Project, a new short-film ...read more

Ladies-Night-Thumb.jpg

Rethinking Retail: Two retailers discover ladies nights are inviting

If you're looking to add a little buzz to your store's community vibe and a bit of kick to your bottom line, you might do well to start focusing on the ladies. As two retailers SNEWS® recently chatted with have found, when it is ladies' night, the feeling's right and it makes for ...read more

BOGA Stand Up Paddleboards Signs Exclusive Distribution Contract with

San Francisco, USA– Ocean Lineage, leading North American distributor, is excited to announce it's new partnership with BOGA Stand Up Paddleboards, a trendsetting manufacturer in the stand up paddleboard industry. The sales and distribution relationship established with Ocean ...read more

Stand-up paddleboards now being rented at American Adventure Sports ou

American Adventure Sports retail store located in Greensburg, PA will now be renting stand-up paddleboards for day and multi-day use.A stand-up paddleboard resembles a surfboard but is slightly longer and wider for stability. They have rudders on the bottom for stability and a ...read more

ORSM10_Pdl_OldTown_Saranagreen.jpg

Outdoor Retailer Summer Market ’10: Paddlesports Pt. 1 -- Market makes a solid comeback with boat designs, stand-up paddling

During last year’s Summer Market, there was plenty of grumbling among the paddlesports booths, as manufacturers and retailers protested new show dates. But this year -- with the show moved back to August -- folks seemed pleased, and many retailers who skipped out last year were ...read more

AloydFitnessThongTHUMBNAIL.jpg

Rethinking Retail: Aloyd Fitness finds success in humorous ads

There’s not much too subtle about a photo of a guy wearing a thong peeking out from under his gym pants as he’s resting between sets in the gym. Of course, there’s also not much too subtle about the slogan that goes with the photo, “Life’s short. Be sexy for it.” And, yes, when ...read more