From left to right: Kim Bollenbach, Paula Cerda, Karl Mittelstadt, Lindsey Catherine Cortese, Kelly Williams, Sami Glascott, and Lisa Keller.

From left to right: Kim Bollenbach, Paula Cerda, Karl Mittelstadt, Lindsey Catherine Cortese, Kelly Williams, Sami Glascott, and Lisa Keller.

Five New Alaska-based Standup Paddleboard Instructors Certified




Presenting Alaska's first Paddle Into Fitness SUP Teachers, June 2017, Anchorage, Alaska.  Certified by PIF Master Trainers and Ambassadors Sami Glascott, Anchorage, Alaska and Kim Bollenbach, Stillwater, Minnesota.

In recognition that Standup Paddleboarding or SUP, one of the fastest growing water sports worldwide, is now taking off in Alaska, Unravel, LLC, an Anchorage-based SUP, yoga, and travel company hosted Alaska’s first Paddle Into Fitness Standup Paddleboard Teacher Training in Anchorage June 1-3, 2017.  Using the California-based Paddle Into Fitness and World Paddle Association curriculum, Sami Glascott, Owner and Lead Instructor of Unravel, LLC of Anchorage, and Kim Bollenbach, Brown Dog Paddle Co. of Stillwater, Minnesota, both Paddle Into Fitness Master Trainers and Ambassadors, led the training. 

Students came from Homer, Kenai, Girdwood, and Anchorage and brought with them experience in SUPing in Alaska, outdoor fitness, and small business.  Students learned how to teach beginning to intermediate SUP students, honed their own skills, practiced teaching methods and rescue skills. 

Emphasis was placed on safety (prevention and rescue), ensuring strong paddling skill development for Alaska’s conditions, and teaching thorough beginner level classes. According to Karl Mittelstadt, Alaska Paddleboard Guru, LLC, “I can’t stress enough the importance of starting your paddleboard experience with correct form and body mechanics.  I don't care who you choose to teach you, but start off right by taking a class with one of these six Alaskan certified instructors.  It will save you weeks, if not seasons, of unlearning bad paddling habits.” 

Building SUP into a successful business model was also discussed in the course.  While some students were just beginning to explore SUP as a business, others already had well-established businesses and clientele.  Lisa Keller, Multisport Training of Alaska plans to compliment her triathlon training business with SUP.  She said, “As a triathlon coach, SUP provides a great opportunity for me to provide water safety while swim training and racing.  I am also excited to introduce a fantastic cross-training opportunity to triathletes.  I look forward to introducing my clients to this fast growing sport!”

While standup paddleboarding looks as easy as standing on your own two feet, there are some key lessons to be learned to keep SUPers safe especially in Alaska’s waters.  Unravel’s goal is to promote beginning SUP lessons to the general public and to ensure that more SUP teachers are properly certified.  With certification, teachers have the knowledge and skills to ensure that students have the right gear and awareness for the conditions, teach skills that will allow students to paddle safely and strongly, and are able to respond to emergency situations.  In addition to certification, all SUP instructors should have current First Aid, CPR, and AED training, appropriate permits, water sport insurance, and waivers for you to sign prior to any class.

Certified instructors include: Karl Mittelstadt, Alaska Paddleboard Guru, LLC of Girdwood; Lisa Keller, Multisport Training of Alaska of Anchorage; Kelly Williams of Kenai, and Lindsey Catherine Cortese of Homer.

Paula Cerda, Assistant Director of Recreation Programs, Alaska Pacific University of Anchorage also received additional training and continuing education credits as a Paddle Into Fitness SUP Yoga Instructor.  Students earned both Paddle Into Fitness certificates and World Paddle Association Level 1 certificates. 

Anyone interested in taking a SUP class is encouraged to reach out to these students or to contact Unravel, LLC at  Unravel will offer more SUP Teacher Trainings late this summer and again early next summer.

June 16, 2017