How FastPaddler Got Started
Chris coming across finish line for Blackburn Challenge, 20 miles around Cape Ann, Gloucester
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 competitive swimmer in 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 flat-water 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, 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. This was a great first boat for me as I got my first chance at ocean paddling.
A couple years later I started FastPaddler focusing on Braca-sport® paddles in the USA. Through excellent customer service and easy online ordering, we have become the exclusive dealer for Braca-sport in the USA. I’m very excited to offer Braca-Sport®’s excellent products to the paddling community. 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] !
Braca XI Van Dusen ’92 and Mohican