Missouri stand up paddle boarder looks to break more records
COLUMBIA - When Shane Perrin first picked up a paddle nearly eight years ago, stand up paddle boarding was a fairly unknown sport.
After a friend from Florida introduced him to the sport, Perrin started to research stand up paddle boarding, commonly referred to as "SUP."
"Nothing was available, so I actually built a paddle and stood on my canoe," Perrin said.
Perrin constructed his own paddle board out of wood strips. With no one to guide him through the learning curve, Perrin faced a few challenges.
"I was falling off the board constantly," he said.
After purchasing a real board, Perrin decided to enter an ultra endurance SUP race in 2011. Perrin raced for 340 miles down the Missouri River and placed 34th in a field of 117 participants.
"After that, everyone started asking me "Where can I do this? How can I get one? Where can I go?'" he said.
Perrin currently holds the twenty-four hour flat water record after paddling 101 miles in Austin last year. Perrin said paddling for a day straight is not difficult for him.
"It's only 24 hours," he said. "I know that sounds terrible."
Perrin decided to start open his own organization, SUP St. Louis, a few years ago to introduce others in Missouri to the sport.
"I didn't have the luxury of having an instructor," he said. "I had to fumble through and figure things out. So, for me the coolest part is like when they get out there, and stand for the first time and you just see this ear to ear smile. That is what keeps me going."
Perrin coached beginners onto their boards at A. Perry Philips Park when Columbia Parks and Recreation partnered with SUP St. Louis on Saturday.
Stand up paddle boarding has exploded in popularity since Perrin jumped on his homemade paddle board years ago. According to a survey by the Outdoor Foundation, nearly three million Americans participated in stand up paddle boarding in 2014.
"I just like to challenge myself," Columbia resident Anne Crousore said. "It's a great sport for everybody."
"My kids started paddling when they were two or three years old," Perrin said. "My oldest client is 72 and she's done better than people in their 30s."
This October, Perrin said he plans to break his 24-hour-record. Perrin also hopes to standup paddle board for 24 hours in the open ocean in November.