During the covid-19 lockdown, youth and adults took to the outdoors. According to the Outdoor Industry Association, “the top reasons for starting an outdoor activity during the pandemic include getting exercise, staying healthy, and getting out of the house.”
WhitewaterTV Executive Producer — Antoinette Lee Toscano Credit: Matthew James Berrafato MBerrafato Images
The challenge for Outfitters, outdoor gear, apparel, equipment manufacturers, the National Park Service, therapists recommending getting outside for mental health, and others is this.
1. How to reduce barriers to entering and excelling at outdoor recreation?
2. What are the ways to develop “Conservation Ambassadors?” A phrase created by Antoinette Lee Toscano and used by the free National American Adventure Sports Club program where Toscano is the architect.
3. Can one create a community for the newly outdoorsy that centers on the most vulnerable and invites professional and competitive athletes?
The answer is yes.
And two women leaders in whitewater from bordering countries in the U.S.A. and Canada collaborate to deliver world-class virtual Stand Up Paddling (SUP) instruction — one of North America’s fastest-growing sports. And just in time to meet new year fitness goals.
Reta Boychuk Founder CANRVR SUP Credit: Ashley Voykin
Meet the whitewater women changing the adventure sports industry
Meet Reta Boychuk, the founder of CANRVR SUP Instructor Collective, based in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada. Boychuk, a Paddle Canada Certified Instructor Trainer, Kokatat and Badfish SUP paddling team member, and a brand ambassador for Werner Paddles and Predator Helmets. She is also an all-around whitewater paddling enthusiast specializing in whitewater stand up paddling.
“Reta gives 200% in everything she does. She is passionate about safety, increasing skill levels, and maintaining our beautiful natural spaces while having fun.” — SUP Student Trish Rasmussen
But not everyone in the market to buy a stand up paddleboard or who is already paddling lakes and rivers has access to quality instruction Antoinette Lee Toscano noticed.
Antoinette Lee Toscano Credit: MBerrafato Images
Toscano is the host and executive producer of the Colorado, U.S.A-based WhitewaterTV on the XOTV.me platform and some Smart TVs. She identifies as an “all-around outdoorswoman,” but Antoinette is an angler, kayaker, and a newbie stand-up paddler on the water. In addition, Toscano is a Kokatat, Badfish SUP, Watershed Drybags, and Team River Runner paddling team member. Recently, Toscano was appointed a City of Loveland, Colorado, U.S.A Parks and Recreation Commissioner. Her passion is ensuring that everyone has equitable, sustainable, and safe access to adventure sports and taking advantage of outdoor recreation’s health and social benefits.
Antoinette Lee Toscano, MBACredit: MBerrafato Images
The confluence of technology and paddlesports
Thirty-one years ago, when the Internet became popular, no one could imagine it was possible to access certified instructors from anywhere in the world. But today, the ubiquitous mobile device and the XOTV.me platform allow viewers worldwide to access adventure sports content from anywhere.
“As a former Information Technology Chief Executive Officer and software designer, I understood the power of digitizing repeatable tasks like onboarding and packaging them for delivery online through computers and mobile devices. I thought, why not use existing technology to deliver exceptional adventure sports and conservation training, and create an inclusive and supportive global community?” — Antoinette Lee Toscano
First, Reta Boychuk and the CANRVRSUP instructors have created the ‘What SUP?’ stand up paddleboard series for WhitewaterTV. ‘What SUP‘ is an ongoing series of thirty to sixty-minute instructional videos. A new video is published monthly. When the weather prevents viewers from training on the water, there are training techniques meant for at-home use.
Next, a viewer can watch the low-cost ($19.99 per month or $3.95 per episode) subscription-based series from any device with a web browser and an Internet connection. Or on some Smart TVs. Then take what they learned out to the water for practice. And they can sign-up for virtual coaching with Reta Boychuk.
The video series takes the new or experienced paddler through choosing gear and apparel. It covers the various styles of stand up paddle and sit-down paddle options for people with differing abilities and anglers. The videos take viewers from thinking about SUP as a sport to excelling on flatwater and river running and river surfing. The series also prepares the viewer for competition.
Reta Boychuk Credit: Ashley Voykin
“I wanted to create ‘What SUP?’ because I think it’s an amazing way to create more accessibility to stand up paddling instruction and safety knowledge.” — Reta Boychuk
Until February 2022, lucky viewers can enter to win a stand up paddle package. Entry details are in each ‘What SUP?’ show description.
Reta Boychuk Credit: Ashley Voykin
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