“My husband and I own this paddleboard shop here at the beach in a vintage Airstream. And we have a nine year old daughter who’s playing at the beach. And we love to paddleboard. We love the ocean. We moved down a year and a half ago and opened this business. Have this big playground of the ocean – it’s pretty fun.
We’re originally from Seattle. We’ve always lived by the ocean, but in Seattle, the ocean’s very cold. In Seattle, I did a lot of driving, and a lot of indoor – you just want to watch movies and drink coffee. Even if you like being active, you’re still like, stuck inside quite a bit. So just being outside is my favorite thing. And being able to walk everywhere in this neighborhood. We literally lived 7 miles out of town and would have to drive my daughter to school, everything was driving, driving, driving. Here, I walk as much as I can.
We started paddleboarding in Seattle. We’re the first West Coast reps for the company called the H2O Generation from Rockaway Beach, New York. Then, when we moved to southern California, strictly for the sunshine, the company asked if I was working yet – and I hadn’t. I was just taking time off – I was burnt out from my last career – and gave us the opportunity to open the shop. Everything kind of just fell into place. We were reps for the company in Seattle, and then just the same time we moved, they had the idea to open up kind of a franchise. So we’re one of the first stores to open to start that process. Their original idea was to be in a shipping container, but all five stores that opened – none of them are in a shipping container. The City of Long Beach wouldn’t allow shipping containers on the beach. They wanted something that was kind of less intrusive, and something that was mobile. I’ve always loved Airstreams, so I put those two together.
It’s a 1965 Airstream, and it was already mostly gutted: like the kitchen and everything was already taken out. But we had to take all the inside panels down and re-insulate it. There had been squirrels living in the walls, so they had been insulated with acorn shells, believe it or not! I’ve never seen that many acorn shells in my life! So we re-insulated it, re-wired it, and did the hardwood floors, and all that stuff. Yeah, it felt difficult, but in retrospect, we got a lot done in a short amount of time. It’s hard. The city makes things hard. Just opening a business is hard. It’s definitely a learning experience.
I was in gymnastics as a kid, and my dad was super strong and encouraged us to be strong. My sister’s a yoga, pilates, spin, and aerobics instructor. And I got certified to do that when I was only 17 also. Teaching swimming was one of my first jobs. We’ve always been active. I worked in the chiropractic field for 17 years: sports rehab, sports medicine, chiropractic and massage therapy – which I still love, but I got burnt out on insurance companies doing all the management work. It’s a whole different game, they play.
I do a lot of the marketing. During the week, I do a lot online, and social media, and all that kind of stuff. My husband’s out doing a lesson right now, so he does a lot of the lessons. I do lessons too. We share a lot of the responsibilities. This is our first season that we’ve been open, so it’s just kind of a learning experience: what works, what hasn’t, what’s a waste of time. What you think is cool is not necessarily what other people think is cool. Not change who we are, but stay true to who we are, doing what we want to do.”
Excerpt may be edited for clarity.