Staff photo by Emmy Errante
Ian Balding prepares a prone paddleboard for glassing on Monday, Nov. 12.
As participants in the 2012 Surf to Sound challenge paddle their way against wind, chop and current in the waters surrounding Wrightsville Beach on Nov. 17, sponsors of the event will be showcasing their products at the Waterman’s Expo between noon and 6 p.m. at the Blockade Runner Beach Resort.
“We’ve invited vendors to set up 10-by-10 tents to showcase new items, or items they have present,” said Jason St. Clair, director of sales for the Blockade Runner Beach Resort. “Every major manufacturer will be represented. It should be good.”
One local businessman looking to showcase his product is Ian Balding, owner of Ian Balding Paddle Company. All of the boards Balding makes are constructed in the United States using EPS foam and epoxy, as well as carbon fiber and wood veneer. Wood veneer is furniture grade wood that not only improves the aesthetics of his boards but also adds structural integrity.
“It’s noteworthy that they’re made in the U.S.,” Balding said. “That’s not really par for the course these days with most manufacturers making these things overseas.”
Balding has made close to 100 paddleboards since he began shifting his focus from shaping surfboards to shaping paddleboards. His work can be found at Sweetwater Surf Shop or on his website, www.ianbalding.com.
“I began shaping about 17 years ago as an extension of my love of surfing,” Balding said. “I’ve been a surfer for almost 30 years. When I got into paddleboarding and saw the love for it, as well as the potential for the growth of the sport, I decided to start adding that to my repertoire.”
Another local business owner who will be setting up shop at the expo is Jarrod Covington, owner of Wrightsville SUP.
“We’ll have some boards and [will] be doing demos,” Covington said. “I will actually be racing in the race as well. I’ll be doing that most of the time.”
Wrightsville SUP offers standup paddleboarding lessons for all ages and skill levels covering all forms of paddleboarding, from surf lessons to flatwater to yoga classes.
“We’ll be letting people try out paddleboarding for the first time if they’d like to,” Covington said. “Mostly we’ll be participating in the festivities and having a good time.”
St. Clair said the expo still has vendors signing up. At press time the list of sponsors included Distressed Mullet, Bike Cycles, Carolina Paddle Board Company, Triangle Glides, Coastal Urge, Natty Greene’s, Wrightsville SUP, Ian Balding Custom SUP, Ford Design, Wrightsville Beach Paddle Company, Red Bull, First Citizens Bank and Wblivesurf.com.
Businesses interested in joining the expo should email St. Clair at firstname.lastname@example.org