Julie Wiley, of Port Huron, heads out to the water during a stand up paddle board class Wednesday, July 22, 2015 at Lakeside Beach in Port Huron.
Erik Isaacson is a paddleboarding visionary.
When Isaacson moved to the Blue Water Area five years ago, he saw a need and decided he would be the perfect person to fix it.
“I was active duty Navy for 22 years and retired and when I came here the thing I noticed was I was paddling on a standup paddle and I was the only one,” Isaacson said. “I thought what a neat way to try to bring paddle boarding to a place that it is ideal for it.”
For the second consecutive summer, Isaacson has teamed with the Port Huron Recreational Department to bring paddleboarding classes to the area at Lakeside Beach.
Classes kicked off in July three days a week and will restart August 8 through the end of the month. They are $50 for residents and $100 for non residents. All the equipment necessary to participate is provided.
“The basic concept and No. 1 rule is to always stay relaxed,” Isaacson said. “If people tense up or squeeze the black or red out of the paddle they will have a challenge. The more relaxed you are the better you do. I usually force them to smile because they are focused on something else.
“The No. 2 rule is don’t look down. The board and the water is going to do what it’s going to do and you aren’t going to change that. You always have to refer to rule No. 1, stay relaxed. You can put in as much effort as you want to. If you want to have a calm casual paddle you can do that. If you want to go race speed you can learn to do that.”
On Wednesday at Lakeside Beach the waves were choppy but that didn’t deter Isaacson’s class. Cheri Nicholas of Port Huron chatted with Isaacson between breaks.
“If I can do this, anyone can do this,” Nicholas said. “It’s a lot of fun. It’s a good exercise. Learning to keep my balance in a new way. That’s the most challenging part. This is our second week and I feel a lot more confident the first week or even the beginning of this class.
“I haven’t done it without waves. If I can do it with the waves, then I know I can do it. I wanted to do something new that was good exercise and fun.”
It didn’t take Julie Wiley of Port Huron long to find a comfort zone on the board.
“I like it,” Wiley said. “We have kind of choppy waters today but we learn how to deal with the waves and get a nice workout in. We have all of this water and it’s a neat new way to utilize it.”
If Isaacson has his way, paddleboarding will find a full time home in the area. He is currently planning a Paddleboard yoga class that will also run through the Rec Department and also rents out equipment on the weekends at Lakeside Beach.
“We have unsalted shark free water,” Isaacson said. “We have shallow water here so if you fall off you just hit the sand. Its a safe environment for paddleboarding and these are some of the best waters you will find.”
Contact Joseph Hayes at (810) 989-6268 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on twitter @jhayes1136.