SUP Life in New England with SUP East Coast Style
Following their superb video published on TotalSUP back in December, TotalSUP wanted to know the amazing people behind SUP East Coast Style, a super active Stand Up Paddle kiosk in Marblehead near Boston, Massachusetts. Its founder, Leah Beth Goodman, gives us the tour!
Hi Leah, please tell us more about yourself?
My name is Leah Beth Goodman, and I am a passionate person who loves coloring outside of the lines! I’m a bit of a workaholic and put my blood, sweat and tears into anything I do. When you love what you do and it comes from deep inside your soul, there is no “work day” schedule. My creative, curious gypsy soul is inspired by so much and so many that “work” is not a “job”, it is my passion and a lifestyle.
I own SUP East Coast Style with my husband Christos. In addition to our SUP business, we both have full-time jobs. I own and operate a second company, Leah’s Skin Care and More. My skincare practice is located within a yoga and fitness studio, which is also home to SUP East Coast Style’s retail boutique space. It combines everything I love: adventure, fitness and healthy living. Come play with us! SUP East Coast Style is a beachfront kiosk in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Our mission is to provide you with proper equipment, paddle technique, safe instruction, and of course, more fun than you can imagine. In this sport, if you’re not smiling and spreading stoke, well then, you’re not doing it right!
At the SECS kiosk we offer rentals, lessons, SUP yoga, SUP fitness and Sup boot camps, “Glowga” (Shavasana under the Stars), Glow Tour Paddles, Youth Programs, SUP birthday parties, corporate team building, workshops, race team training and clinics as well as various events throughout the season. We own and operate two trucks that travel to our youth program and workshop locations throughout the North Shore.
How many members do you have ?
Well, I’ve never really crunched those numbers because I don’t love paperwork or data. But, we do have 75-100 boards in our fleet; and, they are pretty much used all day, every day across all of our locations. I’ll let you do the math. What else I can tell you is that we have an amazing staff of 46 teens and adults. We open at sunrise and typically close after sunset, unless we have scheduled glow programs, tours or classes scheduled for the evening. Christos and I basically catch up on sleep in Fall!
What are the best spots in your area and why?
Our kiosk location at Riverhead Beach in Marblehead, MA, is one of my favorite spots for all SUP ages and levels. We have a great oceanfront location with plenty of parking, located within a friendly boating community. There are different restaurants and places along the shoreline to paddle up to, dock your board and grab lunch. You can plan a whole-day excursion out of this spot. The adventures are endless! You can paddle to and explore different beaches and islands, it never gets old.
“You can paddle to and explore different beaches and islands, it never gets old.”
We are extremely cautious about water safety and have created strong relationships within the community over the years, which is an additional asset to this location. We have created a vibe that all are welcome. Whether you’re renting from us or paddling out on your own board, you can drop in the water safely from our kiosk location. The area is protected from winds for the most part, and high tide is always the best time for a paddle, even if you are a beginner. When those winds do kick up, we won’t let anyone paddle past the harbor’s docks, unless you’re on SECS race team and we feel like getting in some gnarly training! We also encourage paddlers who drop in at Riverhead to let our staff know where they’re heading, regardless if you’re a customer or not. It’s all about safety!
I grew up on Massachusetts’ North Shore but spent lots of time in Hawaii and lived on the West Coast for years. Spreading that aloha and stoke is the main ingredient to SUP East Coast Style. We love the sport, the ocean and our fellow humans! It is a privilege do to what we do, and we simply LOVE IT ALL. We want everyone to play, discover, or perhaps, rediscover what is here in their own backyard. I feel like we have our own little paddle pool in the mouth of the harbor that everyone can play in.
What is the SUP race scene like around Massachusetts? Are there any particular events that you would like to recommend?
I love that this is one of your questions! The race scene here in New England has just really started to take off. The sport for the most part has been recreational. Each year I run and created an event known as Pedal to Paddle: we kick off the SUP season with an oceanfront spin class, recreational paddle and a fun run-paddle race. It’s not competitive; we wanted to grow into the race scene as the sport evolves in the New England area. Christos and I have been enjoying the SUP race scene for years… here, there and everywhere. But, we knew starting out that we had to take it one season at a time for the business. I tend to run full steam ahead so he keeps me in check!
About three years ago, I was approached by Plummer Home, a local nonprofit that provides residential and community-based programs to at-risk adolescents. They wanted to launch a SUP race fundraiser that launches directly from their exquisite waterfront property on Winter Island in Salem, MA. I was subsequently contracted as the event’s race director. The goal was two-fold: raise awareness in the SUP community and raise as much funds as possible for this incredible charity.
Since the sport was still young, I decided to use the same format from Pedal to Paddle and build from there. I was unsure of how many paddlers would actually race, and I had my heart set on raising as much money and awareness to the charity as we could. I originally set a goal of raising $10,000. When it was all said and done, we raised over $50,000 and had over 300 participants between land and sea! In our third year, 2016, we raised $80,000. It is amazing and continues to grow each summer as the premiere SUP event on the North Shore, attracting elite racers from near and far.
I don’t typically name drop but I’m going to name drop because I love these humans so much. Without Christos traveling all over for this crazy race scene with me, I would have never got the chance to learn, train and make lifelong friendships with Evelyn O’Doherty, Terence O’Malley, Terry Kent, Patrick Broemmel (and his Hobo Squad), Veronica Ribot-Canales, Johnny O, Kim Riely, Michelle Baldi Currier, Nessa Brunton, Andrew Kellar, Jon Beauchesne, Dan Gavere, Stephanie Shideler, and the list goes on and on!!!! These are just a few of some pretty amazing humans and incredible athletes that have participated in paddle for Plummer. This year you can look forward to a crazy rematch as I know Terry Kent is coming back with a fire burning inside him! (I’m rooting for ya terry!)
“The sport and the scene is all about fun right?”
Being the Race Director over these past three years, has allowed me to create the opportunity to bring a higher level of paddle education and coaches to the east coast. I get to paddle, learn from my fellow athlete, coaches and friends, in my own back yard. Then to be able to share that knowledge through SUP East Coast Style and bring to the community and event is such an incredible privilege that I cherish each and every day. The sport and the scene is all about fun right? And it is competition for sure, but it’s also a place to meet up with friends, both new and old. Christos and I launched a race team program in 2016, season 6 for us. It was time because the scene is growing in popularity! The North Shore’s go-to events are: Paddle For Plummer, Danversport SUP Cup (Race Director Ashley Steeves), and The Misery Challenge in Manchester by the Sea (Race Director Josh Crosby).
In 2017, our fellow friend, athlete, and lifelong waterman, Johnny O, along with a small-but-mighty committee will roll out the NEW ENGLAND SUMMER RACE SERIES. The series will include all three of these events, plus a brand new race hosted in Gloucester organized by our friends at Cape Ann SUP. This is definitely going to stir things up a bit here in New England. Keep an eye out for more to come!