Stand up paddle board instructor Michael Conforti giving a water tour of Magen’s Bay, St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
So you’ve mastered the skill and art of iSUP. Have you thought about passing on your knowledge to a paying audience? What about using your super SUP skills to give water tours?
People who are eager to get in shape, get on the water or learn the world’s most awesome water sport are also willing to pay for your iSUP know-how.
I was recently in the Virgin Islands and stumbled upon a guy named Michael Conforti who had a fleet of stand up paddle boards lining the beach at Magen’s Bay. When he saw me on my board, he offered me a tour of St John by iSUP. Count me in!
Along our route, Michael filled me on his SUP gig in paradise. He generates all of his business by word-of-mouth and a free Craigslist ad, offering lessons, buying advice and water tours of the glorious beaches in his backyard.
Michael is a retiree from New York who traded the running world for stand up paddle when he found a good deal on a post-hurricane waterfront home. While he still owns his stateside chain of custom running shops, Caribbean stand up paddle boarding now owns his heart.
“I charge $55 per hour for lessons, including beginner and expert lessons. Island water tours are $60 per hour,” Michael says.
Tours can be given at any of the iconic St Thomas and St John beaches, with stops built in for beach bars, live island music and souvenir shopping.
Tip: if you’re thinking of giving tours on your iROCKER, be sure to carry a cooler deck bag filled with complimentary drinks and a dry bag to hold any trinkets your customers carry back.
The SUP Tour Craze
Michael isn’t alone. Wherever you’ve seen surf boards, canoes, kayaks and tubes, SUP tours are popping up.
SUP camps are also a growing new trend, allowing beginners and die-hard SUP-ers of every age to immerse themselves in all-day SUP.
To get started, you want to get yourself the right type and amount of gear. If you’re running a camp, you’re going to need a fleet of boards. Think about stocking up for various body types, sizes and skill levels. Also think about getting at least one iROCKER Big Blue for family or group lessons.
If you’re running iSUP tours, you want to think about your target customer. Will they need you to have drinks, snacks and a dry bag for their valuables? Probably. Plan accordingly.
Now, look around you and see where you can become the new water sport competition. Once you’re ready, be sure to create a Facebook page and YouTube channel to promote your expertise and your new business.
If you’re running a stand up paddle lesson program, camp or water tour, we’d love to know about it. Use the fields below to tell us what you’re doing and where, and remember to send us your pics.