THE SHELLBACK PADDLE EXPERIENCE
Steve and Cindy’s experience in paddlesports is multi-faceted, culminating from years of navigating different waterways. Canoeing and kayaking in whitewater or the sea, sailing, rowing a cataraft and outrigger racing all have taken them on many watery adventures.
Paddling fueled a passion that took the form of starting and running a specialty paddlesports retail location. For nearly 20 years their store, Alder Creek Kayak & Canoe, operated an instructional program, guided trips, provided rentals and offered the best equipment available to purchase in Sandy and then Portland, Oregon.
Traveling by standing on a floating object using a paddle has been around for a very long time. Today Standup Paddle Boarding or SUP is one of the fastest growing watersports activities. It’s fun, accessible and easy to learn. SUPs are suitable for families including kids and dogs and are fully compatible within a mix of kayaks and canoes.
There are many avenues one can take with SUP – surfing, racing, yoga, fishing, whitewater or touring. Shellback Paddle Experience specializes in flat or rough water touring and tripping. Getting from point A to point B in the safest, most efficient manner and understanding the mechanics of how the board, the body and the paddle all work together is their focus in paddler development.
From 2015 until the fall of 2019 they spent spring, summer and fall as SUP Ambassadors sharing the stoke with paddlesport shops all round the country. Then 2020 hit and things went south, far south..... Covid 19 convinced them it was time to retire from the travel life and settle-in more at home. Being gone from the beautiful Pacific Northwest for much of the prime recreation time had taken it's toll and they were ready to become hermit homebodies. Projects got done around the old homestead and they were able to focus more on paddling the local waterways. Check out the Lower Columbia Water Trail page for beta on that beautiful journey.
Now that things have eased up a bit, they have started to travel again. In 2022 Steve traveled to Arizona, South Carolina and Colorado for updates and certification courses as well as a few certification courses around the NW. This year he's going to China for a month to do a kayak course and 3 SUP courses! The summer schedule is shaping up nicely for a couple of ol' retired paddlers.
Having more free time has allowed them to participate in the ACA SUP curriculum committee where their experience and knowledge can help shape the sport. They are presently working on a video project of ACA SUP Stroke and Maneuver samples. This will be coming soon so stay tuned!
The origins of Shellback go back to the end of the 90’s when Alder Creek was doing quite a bit of high-level sea kayak instruction. A group of sea kayak instructors and aspiring students formed a team to organize sea kayak missions and trainings above and beyond what we were doing under the Alder Creek name. This team had a hierarchy of rank and was serious about skills training, fellow companionship and safety. We built friendship and trust amongst ourselves that we carried with us to the coastal marine environment. One of the Neah Bay to La Push missions, a 5-day journey around the very Northwest corner of the USA, still stands out as one of our favorite paddling adventures. Soon after we sold Alder Creek and began working for Confluence Watersports the Shellback team disbanded. When we decided to start a new paddlesport education company, reviving the old Shellback name seemed like a natural fit!