Paddlesports Demo Center Coming Spring 2016
By Eva Potter
While skiers and boarders have snowsports on their minds right now, another group of outdoor lovers can’t wait to use their kayaks and standup paddleboards (SUPs) come spring. So the recent acquisition of Machias kayak shop Highwater Hobbies by Ellicottville’s new Adventure Bound OnTheFly outdoor adventure store at 16 W. Washington St. has paddlesports enthusiasts more than excited.
Don Boehmer, former owner of Highwater Hobbies, now heads up the paddlesports department at Adventure Bound, which offers a wide range of kayaks, SUPs and related gear.
Adventure Bound owner John Rounds said, “It’s really an expansion. We were carrying a pretty full lineup of standup paddleboards and all the accessories. Now with Don involved, we have whitewater kayaks, touring kayaks, recreational sit-on-top kayaks and, of course, all the accessories that go with those.
Rounds praised Boehmer’s paddlesports experience and looks forward to a long working partnership.
“Don’s got a lot of great experience in the area, and we’ve got a great group of brands in the outdoor business that really complement the paddlesports side. Plus, our location allows us to be able to hopefully expose all the great paddleboard options to the people who live and visit Ellicottville. I think it’s going to be really exciting,” he said.
Boehmer has always loved playing in the water. In 2012, his brother kindled his interest in paddleboarding on the Allegheny River and Cattaraugus Creek.
Then he had the harrowing experience of flipping his kayak on one of his outings. He had to self-rescue, drive to the location where his kayak had hung up and swim out to retrieve it. It became evident to him that he needed to gain more skills, so he joined the Zoar Valley Paddling Club, of which he is now vice president. The club now has more than 80 members.
“It’s a growing sport around here, especially with the Cattaraugus Creek nearby,” said Boehmer.
Adventure Bound will be opening a new Paddle Demo Center in the spring on a pond at the corner of Routes 219 and 242 right behind Tim Hortons.
Most people looking for SUPs and kayaks want to try them out before purchasing, but in most situations this option does not exist. Now locals and visitors will be able to try out equipment and gain hands-on experience at paddle clinics.
Rounds said, “The center will be an incredible amenity for people to come and try products to help determine which boat or standup is the best match for them. We’ve made a big investment in demo boats to represent what we’re selling so that people can actually paddle what we’re offering.”
The Demo Center will have dedicated hours and will also be open by appointment. Demo offerings will include kayaks, canoes and SUPs, as well as SUP yoga classes, SUP events for kids, kayak fishing, plus clinics to learn paddling techniques.
In addition, paddling enthusiasts can attend Boehmer’s indoor pool practices throughout the winter for a small fee at Pioneer High School in Yorkshire and Maryvale High School in Cheektowaga to try out equipment and get instruction.
Rounds added that Adventure Bound is creating half-day and full-day group trips in flatwater sections that are mellow “for people who have never paddled here, don’t know where to put in, don’t know the take-outs or aren’t familiar with the water.”
“We’re still working out all the options, but essentially, depending on the river flows and the time of year, we’ll be offering trips on Cattaraugus Creek, Allegheny River and a few other tributaries that will be really fun for everybody from beginners to experienced paddlers,” he explained.
For more info, visit www.adventureboundonthefly.com or call (716) 217-4047.