BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP: Paddleboard popularity gets boost from teacher

By Chelsea Radler, Staff Writer
   BORDENTOWN TOWNSHIP – Bryan Mitchell is an elementary school teacher, environmentalist, father, and paddle-sport enthusiast.
   A certified kayak instructor since 2000, Mr. Mitchell, 38, combined his love of paddling with his passion for conservation when he founded GreenWave Paddling in 2007. He operates the business from his township home.
   ”I love teaching, but I was born to paddle,” he said. Mr. Mitchell teaches second and third grade at Clara Barton Elementary School in Bordentown City.
   GreenWave offers kayaking trips and tours throughout central New Jersey. This year, Mr. Mitchell also began offering lessons in standup paddleboarding, a new sport popular on the West Coast. Paddleboarders, a group that includes Hollywood stars Jennifer Aniston and Pierce Brosnan, must balance on a 10-foot long surfboard while rowing and steering with a canoe paddle.
   ”It’s the next wave in paddle sports,” Mr. Mitchell said.
   The sport is a popular type of exercise with celebrities because it tones many muscles simultaneously.
   ”It’s a great all-body workout,” he said, explaining that the arms, back, abdomen, and legs work to maintain balance and movement. Even athletic new paddleboarders should expect to wake up sore the next morning, he said.
   ”The first few times you’re going to need to recover a few days,” he said.
   But paddleboarding is definitely beginner-friendly.
   ”If you’ve kayaked or canoed before, if you’re a biker or a hiker, that’ll help, but you just need to want to have fun,” Mr. Mitchell said.
   GreenWave has gone to special lengths to remain environmentally aware, he said.
   ”It’s already an environmentally friendly sport. I’m taking it one step further,” said Mr. Mitchell, who uses kayaks made from recycled plastic, wooden paddles, and life vests made from organic floatation material. The paddleboards Mr. Mitchell uses are inflatable to reduce wind drag and increase gas utility for cars that transport them.
   Mr. Mitchell also donates 10 percent of his profits to an environmental organization each year. This year, he will contribute to the Crosswicks-Doctors Creek Watershed Association, which preserves local surface water quality.
   All equipment needed for lessons is supplied, including paddles designed for teenagers and women. Mr. Mitchell is flexible about accommodating different trip lengths and locations. All participants are required to wear personal floatation devices.
   Mr. Mitchell always carries a phone while on the water to ensure safety, his first priority. Mr. Mitchell said children as young as eight can ride with a parent in double kayaks, but that teenagers and above would benefit more from the experience. Paddleboarders must be teenage or above.
   Beginner paddleboarders will be surprised by how quickly they feel comfortable maneuvering the board, he said. Even the occasional flop into the water is more refreshing than discouraging.
   After a two-and-a-half-hour lesson, “You’re going to be wiped out,” Mr. Mitchell said.
   Paddleboarding lessons are $50/person. A three-hour kayak trip down 6 miles of Crosswicks Creek is $75/person.
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