I have news. But first, some quick background…
For the past 12 years, I have been publishing posts about paddling on the Distressed Mullet. In that time, we’ve produced over 13,000 posts celebrating paddling, the people who paddle, the places they go and the gear they use. It’s truly one of the greatest joys of my life. What began as just a place to post what little information we could find on paddling evolved into creating events like the Carolina Cup, fostering events like the Cape to Cape and the 24.
It took me around the country and introduced me to thousands of paddlers, friends, and people whom I now consider part of my family. And while the Mullet occasionally brought a follower looking for hair tips or a gill netter looking for business, it mostly connected us to paddling and each other. Somehow, it worked and after a number of SUP Blogs of the Year Awards, I’d even say it worked well. There have been so many people who have contributing, but most importantly Lisa Schell has been guiding our content into entirely new levels.
The Distressed Mullet provides its 1000+ unique daily visitors with everything from SUP and paddle craft classifieds to an event calendar, gear reviews, safety information and paddler profiles. Over the years, many of you have “made the Mullet” and I’m proud that we’ve been there to put you on the front page.
Paddle Monster: Training Works
In 2016, Larry Cain and I launched Paddle Monster, a subscription-based paddle training platform to provide top level coaching to everyone. We had so many people who wanted to make paddling their new “running,” to actually train for regional, national and international events but who needed more. Paddlers are so spread out. There are a few areas with high populations, but most are in isolated pockets—small, close-knit tribes—who don’t have access to the big events or the experts from whom they can learn so much. In the past four years we’ve published hundreds of videos, posts, and training plans. From technique videos to teach you how to paddle straight and how to draft, to mobility and sports nutrition to strength, we’ve cranked them out to the delight of our members. We brought in Olympic Paddle Strength Coach Chris Chapman, Multiple Molokai SUP and OC World Champion, Travis Grant, 2019 Sprint, Distance and Overall World Champion, Seychelle Webster and Sports Nutrition and Human Performance Expert, Victoria Burgess, Ph.D. These coaches and their experience have made Paddle Monster into the training platform so many of you have turned to to help you reach your goals.
For me, the best part of Paddle Monster was highlighted this past week in Spring Training camp in Fort Pierce Florida. We had 20 paddlers from around the country, at different experience and fitness levels. I watched our coaches meet each paddler wherever they were at on their paddling journey and help them. No judgements. No favorites. It didn’t matter what they needed to learn, our coaches were there to encourage and instruct. All paddlers were welcome. And in the end, watching a few of those honey badgers charge in and out of some friendly surf with ear-to-ear grins and high-fives, I knew this was where I wanted to be. Whether it’s writing about it, facilitating it, or paddling out there with them, this IS my happy place. I met people who I’ll be friends with for years to come. Only adding my daughter Stella on her board next to me could have made the week better. We’re working on that.
An answer to my call for help
A little over a year, I put out a call for help on the Mullet and received a ton of responses. One such response was from Tim Myers. Tim came onto Distressed Mullet with a background in tech. His first question was, “What problem are we solving?” lol. Yes. That deep, metaphorical question. At first, I was focused only on how much time it took, how difficult certain tasks were, how expensive it was to maintain in addition to Paddle Monster. Again, “What problem are we solving?” We boiled it down to, “How can we build and celebrate paddling in a sustainable, enjoyable way?”
We spent 2019 bringing new content, gear, and education to the community with a focus on advancing the sport and giving you all the tools possible to make you a better, safer, and happier paddler. We shared stories of heartbreak, stoke, and laughter and as a community, dare we say, we grew stronger. Tim took over tech and worked with me on strategy. We rebuilt the store, the classifieds, the EVERYTHING and created a platform that worked. It could take advertising, facilitate conversations and the sale of classifieds. It lowered the amount of phishing and hackers. It’s been an absolute joy working with Tim and the site is humming. At some point we realized that everything we’d done for Distressed Mullet needed to be done for Paddle Monster. That’s ok. Tim told me. Think of this as proof of concept, as a way to test things, fine tune things. Then, let’s bring them together.
Paddle Monster and Distressed Mullet are Merging!
Yes, you heard it right. We’ve taken the free content, classifieds, and great deals of The Mullet and combined it with the coaching, education and training aspects of Paddle Monster. The new combined entity is utilizing the brand and name Paddle Monster and “The Mullet” and all Mullet branding will fade into the sunset except for the editorial series that I will continue to write.
I suppose I should be sad, but I’m actually not. I’m too grateful to be sad. I’m too excited because everything that the Mullet did for 12 years, it will continue to do as Paddle Monster. The combined approach of the New Paddle Monster will bring you all that you’re used to at the old site with the ability to receive coaching and instruction if that’s where your paddling takes you. It makes both the Mullet and Paddle Monster bigger and better than they were separately.
The New Paddle Monster will offer everything you loved on the Mullet and more:
- Free Content and Articles “Stories” – All free access content from The Mullet including paddler profiles, race listings, classifieds, Marketplace deals, and Stories
- Local and regional race coverage and support: The more people who come into the sport, the better. We want to celebrate them.
- Free educational materials from Paddle Monster Coaches that focuses on improving skills and advancing in the sport, no matter your personal goals
- Race forums to help facilitate scheduling conflicts
- Articles, reviews and content from Lisa Schell
Paddle Monster will continue providing the same coaching and planning that has helped so many of you achieve your race goals
Much of the coaching content, which helps you understand the basics and what our programs offer, will be shared and discussed as free content as before. When you sign up for Coaching, you’ll have access to our world-class coaches, content, and training just as you did before, but now in an even more in-depth and hands-on way! The Paddle Monster Coaching Approach is easy to understand and has a place for everyone. We will be offering:
- Endurance Training – Programs for building paddle endurance for 6+ mile races including large, regional gatherings
- Strength Training – Programs for building sport-specific paddle strength
- Race Strategy – Content geared around how to prepare for, execute, and reflect on race experiences
- Technique Training – Skills training including traditional skills programs that cover all major components of the stroke as well as race starts, buoy turns, etc.
- Sports Nutrition and Performance – Race fuel from day-to-day and race-specific planning to developing healthy lifestyle habits
- Body Mechanics – A New Program, to be launched in the future, that is a training program that focuses on body mechanics that are required to be a great paddler. From flexibility to rotation to range of motion. The body mechanics program guides you to body capabilities that are key to paddling success.
- Local Paddle Coaching Certifications – Coming soon, Paddle Monster will offer certifications for local coaches. Certified by a program developed and implemented by Larry Cain, local coaches will be available as an extension of our global team to help you achieve your paddling goals.
- Global expansion. Coaching that has been traditionally focused in North America and Australia, will shortly expand into the United Kingdom, the European Union and beyond.
- And last but not least, Paddle Monster locations: Paddle hubs to which we can drive paddlers, near and far, to train, interact and grow thriving training communities
Growing the Sport
When we looked at the sport we realized that we needed to broaden our approach. In fact, we turned our traditional view of paddling on its head. Instead of just catering to the small group of people who race, we realized that we needed to expand. In the words of Doug Vjotko from the Midwest Paddle League, “No one climbs on a board and just paddles Chattajack.” He’s right. Although I know there have been a few outliers, most people go through a long journey before they ever step onto a race course, much less a marathon-length endurance challenge. Here is our philosophy:
The new Paddle Monster welcomes everyone. We’ll meet paddlers wherever they are and help them into our sport, into our community. It doesn’t matter if they are on a 10’ planing hull or a 21’ OC-1, paddling for fun or for the win. They are all welcome. And if at some point in that journey they come to a place where they want to train, Paddle Monster Coaching will be there to help.
I appreciate all of your support over the years and invite you to continue to support this new Paddle Monster—This wonderful new paddling home in which we will reside and all will be welcome.