Stand up paddleboarding (SUP) has burst onto the popular scene in the last few years, opening up more water-based exercise and recreation to millions. Now, with the help of local SUP athlete and businessman Bodie Shandro, the sport is being made available to one more enthusiast, 12-year old Tanner Bawn.
Tanner suffers from Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) and is confined to a motorized wheelchair. But, after his mom began paddleboarding last year, plans were made to get him out on the water too.
“This season I decided I would donate a stand up paddleboard to him,” says Shandro. “We started talking about (if there was a) chance we could get Tanner out on a board.”
With the proper seat, and possible outrigger, SUP is well suited to adaptive sports, in part because it isn’t enclosed. The athlete can sit on the large, stable board, and paddle with a shorter, yet similar, paddle to that used by conventional paddleboarders.
“We’re going to take it step by step, (but) the first thing we’re going to do is design and fabricate a custom seat that’ll accommodate (Tanner), and then we’ll check its stability and proceed from there,” explains Shandro.
To finance and raise awareness for this project, Shandro premiered the SUP movie That First Glide at Thompson Rivers University. Proceeds from the event will subsidize the retrofit and custom seat, and any additional funds will go towards adaptive sport.
Once the board is set up, Tanner, his family and Shandro will take to Heffley Lake for the inaugural paddle.