Thousands line up for board lessons
Pilbara residents are riding the stand-up paddle boarding tide, making use of perfect conditions for the trendy water sport.
More than 3000 people have learnt to SUP with Cracker Jack Paddle Sports since owner Jaclyn Nicholl started operating in 2015.
North West Boardriders has also been going strong, with about 50 members joining since the club started in March.
“Originally, I planned to have a couple of boards and kayaks, but it just took off straight away,” she said.
“From those wanting to get out on weekends to tour groups, community groups, youth programs and school groups, the community really embraced it.
“With our clear water and amazing marine life, you just get to see so much standing up, and you only have to be a couple of metres off the shore.”
Ms Nicholl said her affiliation with the Stand Up Surf Shop had enabled residents to access highquality equipment and herself to gain business advice.
Stand Up Surf Shop owner Cameron McKay said the combination of warm weather, an outdoors lifestyle and lack of surfable waves had contributed to paddle boarding’s success in gaining a foothold in the North West.
“I guess the versatility is another reason why it has been so successful around the world,” he said.
“You can do your cruising, yoga, fishing and the fitness aspect of it as well if you want.”
The surf shop team will be in Karratha for the long weekend, offering free demonstration boards for people to try, and running clinics for those who already have boards.
Mr McKay said the shop’s North West trip, which has seen him visit Carnarvon, Broome, Port Hedland and Exmouth, had generated plenty of interest.
Ms Nicholl said it was an honour to have Mr McKay, one of the State’s best paddlers, running clinics for the weekend.
Cracker Jack Paddle Sports owner Jaclyn Nicholl, right, with grommets Abbey Cawthray, 9, Jai Dyson, 10, and Oliver Karolyi.