The City of Nanaimo Parks, Recreation and Environment department has enlisted the services of Jennifer Vroom to preach the virtues of paddleboarding.
Vroom, who also owns and operates Van Isle Paddleboard Co., says the health benefits of paddleboarding are numerous and it’s not just for the athletically inclined.
“It’s a very, very accommodating sport, so anyone can do it because it’s zero impact, from kids to seniors,” said Vroom. “Sometimes I’ll have groups of families: there’s a seven-year-old and a 75-year-old, so anyone can do it. It’s easy on the joints, it’s really a leisurely sport.”
One of the most popular courses, according to Vroom, is Paddleboard Core and Stretch, which melds exercising and the paddleboard.
“We start with a warm-up paddle across [Westwood Lake] and we all tie up and, all just yell out what we’re doing,” said Vroom. “We normally do a bunch of core exercises, from pushups, planks, lots of variations on sit-ups, we do squats, we just have a lot of fun on the board.”
The boards are stable and can take the weight – Vroom likens them to big barges.
As many families take lessons, they are afforded the opportunity to bond with one another, which is one of Vroom’s favourite things about the lessons she teaches.
“You’re working together and there’s definitely that connection between the adult and the child that they’re balancing together, and they’re just having fun and just being out on the warm water and connecting with other families or friends, whoever is out there at the same time,” Vroom said.
While Vroom teaches a Sunset Paddleboarding class, where participants go along Newcastle Island in the evening, a majority of lessons through the city are at Westwood Lake.
People taking classes at Westwood will be able to paddleboard with a picturesque, canvas-like backdrop.
“The nicest thing here is that it’s calm, it’s warm, it’s protected at Westwood Lake. There’s no boat traffic, you can’t hear the highway noises, you’re just out here in this little peaceful pocket,” Vroom said.
For all of the city’s paddleboard offerings, and recreational activities, please see the Activity Guide.
To register, please go to ireg.nanaimo.ca or call 250-756-5200.