Story last updated at 4/3/2013 - 3:25 pm
Blue Nose Surf opened its doors two years ago, serving to help Juneau residents and visitors catch some waves in unique ways.
Neil Nickerson, owner of Blue Nose Surf, has been surfing for a long time, both in Southeast Alaska and in waters that gain a more vibrant surf.
"I had been watching this paddle board sport growing and catching on," Nickerson said. "I just thought it would be the perfect summer thing to do in Juneau. Nobody was doing it and I wanted to try it so I thought I would be the one to get it started."
Patrons don a wetsuit, get on a paddle board and see the wilderness from a different perspective. So far, he's gotten a good response to the sport.
"I really thought that I would be catering a lot to tourists, but by far most of my business has been with locals," Nickerson said. "I am definitely happy to have so many locals get interested and get started."
People typically start when the weather warms up - sometime in April - until it gets cold again, but Nickerson said, there are a few people who enjoy it so much they go out any time of year.
Blue Nose Surf is growing.
"The first summer it was kind of slow until I got some advertising going," he said. "Last year was my second year and I really had a lot of business. I really expect it to just keep on going. It definitely seems to be weather dependent. On sunny days I get the most calls, try to have specials to get people out paddling."
Nickerson said there are two main challenges with doing business in Southeast Alaska. The first is shipping equipment up here.
"Another one is a lot of people don't look local, they go on the internet and have stuff shipped up without even knowing I'm here," he said. "I could have provided people with a lot of stuff at a good price."
Some of the items he sells are surfing and paddling equipment, wet suits and dry suits. For people who have never done paddle boarding, or who are uncomfortable going out for the first time, Nickerson offers lessons and tours.
The most fun part about the business for Nickerson is getting out on the water and seeing the wildlife.
"It's just such a beautiful place to paddle and there's always something to see," he said. "We have great conditions almost always. It's really just a great place to paddle.
Even on nice days, paddling you just get warm. Almost eventually everyone jumps in just to cool off. That's why we wear wet suits rather than dry suits."
For the long term future of Blue Nose Surf, Nickerson hopes to get more people interested in the sport so he can keep the business going, and get people what they want and need so they can go out and have a good time. He also wants to offer more kids' programs so they aren't afraid to get out in the water.
"Paddle boards are smaller and lighter than kayaks," he said. "They just jump on and take off and they have a great time. The other thing is, you really don't have to take lessons to get back on one if you fall off. You just slide back on real easy."
Nickerson said people shouldn't be afraid of cold water.
"They can go out and have a lot of fun with the right equipment," he said.
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