Cindy Scherrer along with her spouse, Steve, has started a new chapter in her 30+ years of paddling. The first 10 years were spent primarily chasing whitewater, kayaking the abundant rivers in OR & WA. Decades 2 & 3 expanded to sea kayak touring, outrigger racing and teaching at venues all across the continent. They owned and operated a specialty paddlesports store in Portland for nearly 20 years. Now she’s literally gotten off her bum to pursue traveling and teaching SUP. Gliding across water while enjoying better views, has proven to be quite addictive for her. She is an ACA certified L2 SUP Instructor Trainer and a Coastal Kayak Instructor. She and Steve will be traveling and teaching SUP through their new company Shellback Paddle Experience.
When and where did you start SUP?
Funny story… I was in Hawaii with some friends and we decided to rent & share a few boards. One person in the group had experience, the rest of us were newbies. I’ve always been a water baby and had been kayaking for a long time so I thought SUPing would come pretty naturally to me. It was windy and the water was very choppy. I proceeded to fall off of the board - a lot. It was exhausting but seeing turtles, fish and all of the sea life below me was awesome! I was a little discouraged by my lack of talent and in the following years I only got on boards a couple of times to see if I liked it better. Nope, the SUP bug had not yet bitten.
For my partner though it was a whole different story. He loved it immediately and proceeded to get certified to teach. I committed to becoming his student so he could practice. We purchased a super friendly board for me that I gained confidence on. One morning we were driving home after a great session and I said to him “you know what, I LOVE SUP”. He still laughs about that.
Which sports did you practice before? And now?
I grew up skiing alpine in CO and then learned telemark when I moved to OR. We lived close to Mt Hood so skiing was very accessible as was whitewater kayaking. We called snow future whitewater. In the Pacific Northwest many rivers run best during the winter because of the rain. We used to plan trips to the coast to kayak the coastal range rivers but always opted to go kayak surfing instead.
I raced outrigger canoes for 12 yrs with 2 different clubs in Portland. The training and racing I did have been incredibly valuable for SUP. It’s all about stroke mechanics combined with body awareness and the input it gives to the board.
Sea kayaking has taken me on many incredible journeys. I love the varied conditions that you can experience. Whether it’s flat and glassy or blowing like stink with huge waves, a sea kayak is a pretty sea worthy vessel.
Practicing yoga over the years has been so beneficial. It enhances flexibility, balances muscles that are out of balance, increases range and builds awareness throughout mind and body. I haven’t done much sup yoga yet but am excited to do more.
How have the sports you did before helped with SUP?
They are all the sum of many parts contributing to the beautiful simplicity and essence that is standing on a board, using a paddle to glide on water.
What attracts you to SUP?
The simplicity and the challenge of being on the water whether it’s flat or surfing downwind, is so rewarding. I love the mobility that standing on a board allows and the fact that you can stand, sit, kneel or even lie down – you don’t have to land to take a break!
SUP race, SUP surf or something else?
I would like to learn to surf at some point.
My experience with touring will give me the opportunity to share and teach SUP tripping. I am looking forward to doing more extended trips.
SUP is booming, do you think this is a fad or a change in attitudes over the long term?
I believe it has surprised a lot of people. People get SUP. They see a board and a paddle and think “I can do that”. Add kids and the dog and bonus. I think the access it gives people for an hour, a day or a week is powerful.
Do you participate in competitions?
Ran out of money for racing during the outrigger days ☺
ACA L2 SUP Instructor Trainer
ACA L4 Coastal Kayak Instructor
For more information about Cindy visit: