From the Owner..


Non-athletic, dyslexic and lacking good instruction, like many, I struggled to stand on a SUP the first time in 2007 on vacation in Hawaii. Not willing to give up, I continued to work on it at home in Seattle. Applying skills learned from over a decade of sea, surf and whitewater kayaking, I discovered easy and effective methods for standing up and paddling with confidence. In 2011, I wrote Stand Up Paddling Flat Water to Surf and Rivers for Mountaineers Books. This guidebook was intended to help new and experienced paddlers learn all aspects of SUP from the basics to open water touring.

I started Salmon Bay Paddle in 2010 to provide personable expert SUP instruction in the Pacific Northwest. I’ve transformed lives by empowering and giving confidence to many who didn’t think they’d stand or enjoy being on the water. Students have lost weight, increased their self-esteem, and have paddled in places and conditions they’d never imagined they’d be capable of. SUP has changed my life, so I love to share my knowledge and skills with students to help them become confident and skilled paddlers. - Rob Casey

HOW WE'RE UNIQUE


  • Our patient PSUPA certified instructors work with all body types, ages and skill levels from beginners to advanced ages 10 and up. Good balance or fitness not required.
  • Strong focus on safety. All our instructors and customers wear a vest style lifejacket and leash. Our instructors are trained in all aspects of paddling, rescue, marine weather and boating navigation so you have the best experience possible.
  • High Instructor to Student Ratio. 2:6 for flat water and 2:4 for surf, river and open water classes and tours.
  • Learn Freighter & Tug Wave surfing in Seattle Spring to Fall.
  • Our Monday evening SUP races give you the opportunity to meet other paddlers and improve your skills on a regular basis. We donate all proceeds to the Elks Scholarship Fund at the end of the season.
  • We stay in touch with our customers with a weekly newsletter and help them choose gear and build skills so they can get to their next level.
  • We offer PSUPA Instructor Training and certification courses plus staff training and SUP business consulting.
  • We support our community by offering SUP races throughout the year that benefit various charities like the MS Society, Heroes on the Water and the Ballard Elks Lodge #827 Scholarship Fund.
  • We have a strong environmental commitment supporting several organizations such as the Washington Water Trails Association, Puget Soundkeepers, Stand4Greatbear and the North Olympic Land Trust.
  • We provide high quality equipment from Imagine, Amundsen, MTI, NorthWater, NRS, Accent, Werner Paddles and Gath helmets

  • "Rob's knowledge of surfing, safety, and his overall SUP skills helped me advance through coaching and immediate feedback boosting my confidence and ability level. I'm hooked on SUPing! I would have locked in poor habits and likely injured my back or shoulders had I not taken a lesson in my first season of regularly paddling. Rob has years of experience and gladly passes on what he has learned for the safety and fun of all SUP enthusiasts who meet him." Brittany F

    ROB CASEY

    Owner + PSUPA Instructor Trainer


    In 2016, Stand Up Journal listed Rob as one of the pioneers of SUP. In 2010, he opened Salmon Bay Paddle help people become safe and skilled paddlers. Author of one of the first SUP instructional guides, Rob also updated the classic NW paddling guide, Kayaking Puget Sound and the San Juan's 60 Trips Mountaineers Books. He contributes words and images to SUP Magazine, Stand Up Journal, NW Boating and Kenmore Air's inflight magazine to name a few. Follow his blog Stoke Magazine to learn about paddling techniques and water safety. His book blog 60 Trips Kayaking Puget Sound provides in depth info about trips covered in the book plus access updates.

    As a member of the Ballard Elks club, Rob co-founded the Ballard Elks Paddling Club which offers board storage for members. He's also on the board of the WA State Parks Paddlesports Advisory Committee and a prior board member of the Washington Water Trails Association. Rob is a founding member of the SUPIA.

    JEFF GASSEN

    Instructor


    A native of the Seattle area, Jeff also works as an automotive technician, photographer for his dad’s business and previously taught SUP at Surf Ballard. Jeff can be seen regularly spotted at local SUP races, surfing freighter waves or taking it easy on the beach in Ballard.

    Specialities: Flat Water, Racing, Surfing.

    JOSEPH McCOLSKEY

    Instructor


    Joe was one of Rob’s first students. He soon became addicted to SUP which led him on a mission to get in shape. Several years later Joe is one of most stoked paddlers we know paddling daily on Shilshole Bay near his home in Ballard. Joe recently retired from teaching Japanese at Ballard High School and has introduced many of his students to SUP. Joe's has a new career as a CSCS certified personal trainer. He trains customers at the Seattle Athletic Club and for is own business. Joe loves to tug surf and is PSUPA certified.

    Specialities: Flat Water, tidal rapids, surfing.

    JON BROWN

    Instructor


    When not surfing the coast, making his own sailboat, SUPs and surfboards, Jon works as an elementary school teacher in Seattle. Orignally teaching for Stoke Harvester, we’re stoked to have Jon on our team. A native of Tacoma, Jon also co-teaches our SUP Surf Camps. A regular fixture at local races, Jon always places well with his surf style board.

    Specialities: Flat Water, Racing, Surfing.

    ALEX VAUGHAN

    Instructor


    Born in the Philippines, raised in Alaska, Alex spent his summers on the west side of Oahu (Waianae/Makaha). In Seattle for 16yrs, Alex is an all around waterman enjoying SUP, outrigger canoe and diving. He has placed in the Round the Rock, the Urban Surf series and OC events. A SUP instructor for 6 years, Alex paddles “for my love of the outdoors and connecting to nature by respecting everything from the mountain to the sea.” Alex is on our racing team. PSUPA.

    Specialities: Racing, surfing, downwinding, flat water.

    LUKE BURRITT

    Instructor


    Raised in a remote off the grid cabin in New Mexico, Luke has his seasons figured out – he works as a climbing guide in Hueco, Texas in the winter and as a rigger for the boating industry in Seattle in the summer. He lives in his VW van ‘George’ and once was once the lead rigger for the New Zealand sailing team. Luke is on our racing team and is also sponsored by Blue Shed Shaping. In 2017 Luke and a friend are competing in the Race to Alaska on SUPs. This is a 750 mile race from Washington State to Ketchikan, AK.

    Specialities: Racing, surfing, touring, flat water.

    HOLLY RASSMUSSEN

    Instructor


    Holly started paddling by taking lessons with us less than a year ago. She is consistently on the water 4-5 days each week paddling flat water, surfing and spreading her enthusiasm for paddle boarding. She brings 25 years of experience, as a physical therapist, in movement mechanics and injury prevention to her teaching. She wants her students to be comfortable in and on the water, paddle smart, and most of all, enjoy the ride.

    Specialty: Flat water, surf, racing and tidal rapids

    SEAN NORDQUIST

    Instructor


    Sean's passion for SUP is a relatively new addition to a life long passion for outdoor sports and fitness. He was introduced to standup paddling after taking one of rob's intro classes. Sup has become one of his main platforms for fitness, healing, and just plain well-being. PSUPA certified.

    Specialties: Surf, downwind, racing, touring.

    DEBBIE GOLLNICK

    Instructor


    Debbie started as one of our students and also attended our 2015 Oahu Surf Camp. An IT by trade, Debbie has also been training this year to climb Mt Rainier. Debbie is also PSUPA certified.

    Specialties: Flat Water, surf and tidal rapids.

    DARRELL KIRK

    Ambassador


    One of the most stoked paddlers we’ve ever met, Darrell travels the world with his inflatable SUP spreading his stoke. He’s paddled through the locks in St Louis, in a salt mine in Missouri 400′ below (see article in SUP Magazine), on the Great Salt Lake, the Salton Sea and was asked by A&E to be part of a show paddling the Mississippi. He’s also first person to play a banjo on a SUP (see left). Visit his website, Stand Up Paddle the World to see the many places he’s paddled and listen to his Podcast interviews of local paddlers. PSUPA.

    Specialties: Flat Water, surf, racing, touring.

    MARK McALPIN

    Ambassador


    Mark has been our race timer for two years, timing our Monday evening races as well as St Paddles Day, the Urban Surf Race series and the Crescent Bar race in June 2016. Working efficiently with his iPad and WebScorer Mark makes timing look like a breeze!

    CHRISTY COX

    Co-owner + Business Manager


    Christy keeps the business running behind the scenes doing our bookkeeping, web design, copy editing, and scheduling. She has assisted small businesses and worked in communications and publishing for over a decade, is the co-founder of the Professional Stand Up Paddle Association and was the co-founder and organizer of the Hobuck Hoedown Surf Competition, St Paddles Day and has managed our Monday Evening SUP Races in summer.

    Specialties: Being awesome!

     
    1Where do you hold your classes?
    Our L1 to L3 classes are held at the Ballad Elks Lodge beach in Seattle. Freighter and tug wave classes are offshore from the Elks beach. Coastal surfing is held near Port Angeles and the WA coast near Neah Bay. Tidal rapids are held at Deception Pass State Park 1.5hrs north of Seattle.

    We can do private classes at a location of your choice for normal fees in Seattle, and extra fees outside Seattle.

    2Why do your classes and tours cost so much?
    We believe our classes and tours are unique and provide you with a personable level of instruction not available anywhere else in our region. We also take time to train and certify each of our instructors so you get best instruction possible. We don’t offer Groupons as we believe you get what you pay for. Our equipment is also of high quality so you have the best experience possible.
    3Do you rent SUP boards?
    We’re not a brick-and mortar-shop but do rent to our customers who have taken the SUP Sampler and/or L1 & L2 SUP Basics. We provide boards and paddles for our students for their classes. For large group rentals contact Urban Surf, NW Outdoor Center, Aqua Verde, Perfect Wave and NW Paddle Surfers.
    4Do you sell SUPs?
    Yes we do on occasion sell boards and used paddling gear. We’re not a full-time retailer or have a shop but can sell customers used or demo boards. We work with Imagine Surf, Amundsen, and Echo Composites. Check our Shop page for current listings.
    5Do I have to wear a life jacket?
    The Coast Guard requires life jackets (PFDs) for flat water paddling. We require and provide non-inflatable MTI Type 3 lifejackets (PFDs) for our classes at no cost to you. Vest style lifejackets will keep you warmer, are better visibility in busy waterways and make it easier to get back on the board. Experienced students are welcome to bring their own C02 PFDs (with cartridge).
    6Do I have to wear a wetsuit?
    We recommend full surfing wetsuits in fall, winter, and spring and for all surfing and tidal rapids classes. We provide wetsuits for free as part of your class. In summer we also have neoprene tops and bottoms for non full wetsuit days and as an alternative should a full wetsuit not work for you.
    7Will I get wet?
    Yes. We launch in waist deep water. Also there’s no shame in falling. You’ll learn more and have more fun if you get wet. Experienced paddlers fall all the time especially in surf and rough water.
    8I have poor balance. Is SUPing for me?
    Poor balance is a concern for most people, but is not necessarily a problem in learning to SUP. We make sure students are properly matched with the right size board for their height and weight, which gives them maximum stability on the water. We also teach to use the paddle as a brace when standing (like an outrigger) and about using momentum to create stability. Many are surprised at how easy it is to stand.
    9Will I fall off the board?
    Possibly! Falling is part of paddling. You have to learn how to get back on the board for your own safety. We teach you how to fall safety (flat) and climb back on 3 different ways. Falling is not a fail. As expert paddlers we fall all the time and as a result have more fun!
    10Do I have to be in shape to SUP?
    Nope. But SUP can get you in shape. You determine how much you want to put into it. You can take it easy on flat calm lakes or choose to make it a fitness routine.
    11What if I get cold?
    We make sure each student is warm and comfortable in our classes and on tours. A good wetsuit or dry suit will keep you warm and toasty. We have extra booties, gloves and hoods for student use. We can provide additonal tips and trick for staying warm.
    12Are you a Certified Paddle Instructor?
    Yes. Rob teaches PSUPA instructor certification and has ACA L1 & L2 SUP Certification and is also certified through WPA, ASI and Paddle Fit. Rob also has a First Aid/CPR Certificate and Wilderness First Aid certification. All our guides are PSUPA and First Aid/CPR certified.
    13Can I paddle in winter in the Northwest?
    We paddle year-round even in rain and snow! The right size board and proper clothing will go a long way to keep you warm and comfortable even in winter!
    14Do you teach outside of Seattle?
    Yes! Recent classes have been in Port Angeles, Tacoma, Bellingham, Spokane, and Portland, Oregon. Rob is available for out of state travel as well. We also work with Blue Planet Surf in Honolulu for our annual Surf Camp in Oahu. Contact us to discuss possibilities.
    15When is paddling season in the Pacific NW?
    We paddle all year. With adequete training and proper clothing you can paddle all year here (or anywhere). Life’s too short to wait for a sunny day in the NW!
    16We’re starting a SUP business, can you help?
    Yep! Rob has helped businesses of all kinds add SUP instruction, rentals, and sales to their services. He can also help you start a SUP race or other paddling events. Please contact us for business consulting. Rob is available to speak with you per an hourly basis. Our certification program, PSUPA does have SUP Business training as part of Flat Water 1.
    17What gear should I get?
    Always try before you buy gear! Rob loves to help folks find the right gear for their needs from car racks and boards to paddles and wetsuits, we can help! Demo Rob’s Amundson, Echo Composites, Imagine Surf boards, Accent Paddles, Salamander & NorthWater Paddle Gear, Seattle Sports and MTI lifejackets. We also have a variety of gear from NRS.
    18Can you train our staff on our SUP & kayak gear?
    Rob has trained businesses such as REI Spokane, Row Adventures, Gorge Performance, the Whidbey Naval Air Station Recreation Center, Body Boat Blade, Kayak Academy and the WWU Outdoor Center.
    19Are your class rates negotiable?
    We are not able to negotiate posted rates but can negotiate for corporate or large group tours and lessons. Our rates allow us to keep classes small so you receive the most individual attention and attain your paddling goals.
     

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