A CHRISTCHURCH PADDLEBOARD EN­TRE­PRE­NEUR IS RID­ING A STEADY WAVE OF GROWTH

NZ Life & Leisure - - The Brave & The Bold - WORDS

E M MA R AWSON

SAM LOADER AL­WAYS CHECKS the con­di­tions be­fore pad­dling the waves at his lo­cal beach, Sum­ner in Christchurch. And testing the wa­ter be­fore leap­ing in has also proved a good busi­ness strat­egy for 30-year-old Sam. He started small when he launched Pa­cific Pad­dle Com­pany (PPC) in 2012, just as the pad­dle­board­ing craze was hit­ting New Zealand shores, but now PPC is a global busi­ness with a pro­jected an­nual turnover of $1 mil­lion. “At the begin­ning, we only man­u­fac­tured small quan­ti­ties and this helped us re­fine the de­sign and test dif­fer­ent ma­te­ri­als such as bam­boo and car­bon fi­bre,” he says.

Stand-up pad­dle­board­ing (or SUP) has its ori­gins in an­cient Poly­ne­sia and was first mar­keted as a re­cre­ational sport in Hawaii in 2006. It’s be­lieved to be one of the fastest-grow­ing re­cre­ational sports in the world and SUP yoga (yoga on a paddleboard) is also quickly catch­ing on.

Sam funded the busi­ness us­ing his sav­ings of $50,000. Since its launch PPC’s sales have in­creased by 30 per cent each year. Sam runs the com­pany on his own and ex­ports to the United States, Aus­tralia and Swe­den. PPC’s range, which in­cludes in­flat­able and rac­ing boards, can be used in surf, rivers and on lakes. Sam de­signs the boards in New Zealand and has them man­u­fac­tured in China and Thailand.

This year the gov­ern­ment agency Cal­laghan In­no­va­tion awarded PPC a $5,000 grant to de­velop The In­ter­cep­tor. De­signed for speed, this in­no­va­tive car­bon fi­bre rac­ing board low­ers the rider’s cen­tre of grav­ity, while its flat­tened “rocker” (the ba­nana bend of the board) makes it quicker over the wa­ter, while the bow cre­ate bub­bles un­der the board to re­duce fric­tion. Sam in­tends the board to be the world’s fastest. “It’s like an air­craft wing. On a plane they try to break up the air; on wa­ter the goal is to cre­ate bub­bles. That’s be­cause some­thing mov­ing through very smooth wa­ter will have a lot of fric­tion and will be slower.”

Where pos­si­ble, PPC boards are made us­ing en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly ma­te­ri­als. Many are made from bam­boo, which is a sus­tain­able fast-grow­ing wood that’s light­weight and strong. PPC is a pre­mium brand avail­able only at paci­fic­pad­dle­com­pany.com. This

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