Braca-sport® Paddles and Accessories for the USA. NELO for New England!
Why the name FastPaddler?
- FastPaddler is an easy name to remember. Whether paddling on the beaches of Cape Cod, shores of Rhode Island or locally in the Sudbury River, curious folks are always approaching us and inquiring about the surfski or K1, wing paddle, pfd, gps etc. It is often difficult for them to write down a website name (if on the water) and our thought is “FastPaddler” will be easy to recall.
- Higher Performance then the typical paddler. So while the name is not to portray the image that we are the “fastest paddlers”, it does reflect that our community of paddlers are faster than a typical weekend kayaker. In addition to selling two of the highest performance paddling brands in the World – BRAČA-SPORT® and Nelo, we will also be featuring articles about Training, Clothing, Electronics, Paddling Technique, “Where to Start”, etc. Our Nelo kayaks are supplied in partnership with Elite Ocean Sports in South Carolina.
- FastPaddler represents all paddling sports. We don’t just carry surf ski and kayaks paddles, we carry the entire line of Braca-sport paddles! We have inventory of Braca Dragon paddles, Braca SUP, including the new Maui SUP, and Braca Polo and Braca Outrigger. And of course with our original focus on surfski and kayak paddles we always have Braca IV and Braca XI in stock so that Braca’s carbon wing paddles are available for paddlers in the USA. That’s the reason we started – to get high quality Braca-sport paddles in our community of racers – and we are happy to provide these exceptional Braca-sport paddles to athletes in all paddling sports.
I am Chris Chappell, owner of FastPaddler. I started paddling 9 years ago, at age 45, when a strained Achilles stopped my running. I desperately needed an outlet for cardio training. While I had never paddled a kayak before, I grew up on the ocean in Connecticut, as well as being a swimmer in high school and college, so being in and around water was not new. I also had taken up windsurfing during my twenties. Upon my achilles injury, paddling a kayak seemed like a great sport to try. I live very close to a nice small river – the Sudbury River – as well as taking frequent trips to Cape Cod and my hometown Groton, Conn.
My first boat was a CD Solstice GT. I purchased it on craigslist after doing a little research for kayaks for bigger sized athletes. I paddled it for a month, with a Werner flat paddle, and quickly realized I needed to move up in performance, so I picked up an Epic 18X and wing paddle. This worked great and I realized performance paddling was going to fill that gap of getting great cardio workouts without putting stress on my joints. Now I knew it was time to look for a lighter, higher performance boat for the river, and started investigating what boat may be good for the ocean as well. After about a month of Googling, reading message boards, reviews, etc, I stumbled across a guy in Colorado that had this boat called a “Mohican”. Sounded like exactly what I wanted. I’m 6’3″, 215lbs, paddling on rivers and was looking for something fast, that fit well, and that I could grow into and race as well. The Mohican sounded perfect! So where do I get one? Well, I found Ted Van Dusen’s information and was shocked that Ted’s Company, Composite Engineering, was located in Concord, MA – about 15 minutes from where I lived. After a brief visit to the shop ordered my first Mohican in 2009 (which I still paddle, having over 3,500 miles on it and still going strong!). While the Mohican is an awesome flatwater and river boat, I needed to find something for the ocean.
When looking on the message boards for another wing paddle, I came across a paddle that a guy named Wesley Echols had for sale so reached out to him. Long story short, went to visit Wesley, bought the paddle and during my visit to “the garage” saw my first surf ski. On a subsequent visit to “the garage” the next month, I took home a V10Sport he had for sale. This was a great first boat for me as I got my first chance at ocean paddling. Over the next few months, quickly becoming a training partner with Wesley, we were typically paddling on his home waters, the Sakonnet River. Later in the fall, we were brainstorming after the 2009 Lighthouse to Lighthouse – my first race. He was looking to build a website to share all his knowledge and data he had collected about surf skis and paddles over the years. Having done websites in the past, I quickly put together a prototype that weekend….and SurfskiRacing.com was born.
After 6 great years of working together, I decided to take a break from Surfskiracing. A couple years I started FastPaddler. I’m very excited to offer both Braca-Sport and Nelo (in partnership with EliteOceanSports) to the paddling community, as well as helping to grow the sport through articles and reviews. Please check back often as we will continually be adding new products and new content. Any questions or suggestions are always welcome at [email protected]!