PADDLE FORWARD New business owners getting their feet wet
Alisen Charlten and Steph Sophocleous are paddling into uncharted waters.
The friends were recently approved by Parks Canada to launch their new stand-up paddleboarding business in Jasper National Park. On Friday, they set up their fleet of rental boards and were giving 20 minute introductory lessons before allowing their customers to cruise the crystal clear waters of Lake Edith.
“Be aware of the wind,” Charlten said. “Up at that level you’re a giant sail.”
Getting approval for their new venture has been mostly smooth sailing. The pair submitted a proposal to Parks Canada in the winter but were told the idea would have to go to public tender. It was, therefore, a relief when their new business, Translucid Adventures, won the bid.
“We were ecstatic,” Sophocleous said. “We had put so much time and effort into this. We felt like our dreams were coming true.”
For Charlten, part of that dream was doing something that connected her to nature.
“Being on the lake, where it’s so quiet, it gives you a real connection
to the present moment, which I think is why a lot of us end up in Jasper,” she
want to feel alive, you want to be outside…being on the water is one of my
favourite ways to do that.”
Popularized by surf culture in Hawaii and growing exponentially all over the west, stand-up paddleboarding has come on strong in Jasper in the last two summers. Charlten said the activity is accessible to a wide range of people.
“It’s easy to catch on,” she said. “Everybody can modify it to where they’re at.” Sophocleous agreed. “This is an opportunity to get out there and try it,” she said.
Charlten and Sophocleous have worked together before—the pair strengthen many Jasperites’ yoga practices through their teaching with River Stone Yoga Studio.
Yoga, in fact, was the common thread which led the pair to the paddleboarding business. Charlten, a water sports enthusiast, saw the opportunity to bring her practice onto the water.
“Paddleboarding was an opportunity to take my yoga practice onto a floating yoga studio,” she said. “That was a big draw for me.”
Now they’re hoping it will be a big draw for others. Translucid Adventures
will offer stand-up paddleboard (SUP) Yoga classes on Wednesday evenings,
starting June 17. They also plan to offer regular SUP Yoga on weekends starting
super excited to get started and share stand-up paddleboarding with the rest of
Jasper,” Sophocleous said.