TRAVERSE CITY — Ryan Tiderington’s affair with the water began with a broken heart. “She” was replaced by a stand up paddleboard.
“I needed to do something constructive with my life,” Tiderington said. “Someone was selling a board for reasonably cheap. So I bought it, tried it and fell in love with it.”
This was no passing fancy. Stand up paddleboarding whipped the Saginaw-native-turned-Suttons-Bay-resident into shape, good enough to catch the eye of casting agents who hired him for stand in work for Henry Cavill, Superman, in the 2013 superhero film “Man of Steel.”
Tiderington, now 30, is in the business of helping others find love in the confluence of calm water and core strength.
“You accumulate a lot of worries on land, about your career, your relationship, money ... but when you get on the water, these melt away,” said the Stand Up Paddle (SUP) Michigan co-owner, paddleboard instructor and PaddleFit coach. “You are one with the water and more connected with your surroundings.”
Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP — as in a slurred “Surf’s up” — is considered by many to be the fastest growing sport on the water.
The Outdoor Industry Association called it “an emerging sport,” estimating that 1.5 million Americans went out on a paddleboard in 2012. It’s Maui-style surf appeal, accessibility and low impact fitness make it most attractive to the 18-44 age bracket but local retailers contend that SUP’s appeal is ageless. Anyone can jump aboard — including the dog.
“It’s something whole families can do together,” said Elaine Newbold, Crystal Lake Adventure Sports owner. “Right now we’re selling more stand up paddleboards than kayaks. People are continually buying boards, whole families, retirees, you name it.”
Her daughter, 6, rides on the front of Newbold’s board; her husband fishes off his. Family pets ride on or paddle alongside, she said.