Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?
My name is Lori Erwin. I’ve owned Paddle On of Williamsburg for 5 seasons. I grew up in Ocean City,
New Jersey right near the beach, so I have always been a water-person.
I’ve been in Williamsburg for 17 years and have two sons aged 20 and 23 years old. So, starting the
business about 5 years ago was the perfect time to do it.
Tell us a little more about your experience with paddle boarding:
I started paddling about 7 years ago. A friend introduced me to it when I tried one of their boards for the
afternoon and I was instantly hooked. Once, I got on it, I fell in love with it.
When I returned home to Williamsburg, I started looking for places to rent boards to continue paddling.
I found one place that was renting in the nearby marina. But the catch was, they only allowed you to
paddle in the marina. They didn’t allow me to take a board anywhere.
So I begged and pleaded for them to allow me to do so. And they eventually relented. I got to take it
over to the nearby river.
But it was on that day I came up with the idea of starting a mobile SUP outfitter. That’s what we focus
on- our mobility.
I started renting boards, then eventually came paddle yoga. But more so, people were looking for how
to paddle correctly and with the proper stroke. Because of that, I started doing way more beginner
lessons and that’s when it really took off.
I started teaching the nuances- the correct way to launch, stand, turn, techniques and of course, safety.
Which is what ultimately makes me happy. I love padding on this knowledge to other people and making
sure they’re enjoying SUP in the proper way.
And eventually it grew even more from there- I started incorporating more classes, added paddlefit,
paddle yoga, full moon paddles with sound bathes on the water, paddle for pints where we paddle to a
local brewery and enjoy drinks in between paddling, and we even hold fundraisers. It’s really grown into
a much bigger company than I originally thought possible.
What are some of your favorite places to paddle?
Well I’ve only paddled in my hometown. But its been great here. Some of my favorite spots include
Gordon’s Creek off of the Chickahominy River. It’s super calm, there isn’t a ton of boat traffic and the
nature found there is amazing. You can easily spot blue herons, bald eagles, river otters, which are
basically muskrats, crabs, and turtles.
It’s just a peaceful place to paddle and a great place to enjoy a sunset. Or even a sunset yoga session
during the summer.
Location Overview- tell us about your water environment
I do most of my lessons on Gordon’s Creek for the reasons I just said. It’s just a great, calm place to
experience SUP in a peaceful environment surrounded by nature.
Do you have any signature services or paddle activities?
I would say out full moon paddle with a sound bathe is our most unique and popular offering. It’s a
sunset paddle yoga session surrounded by tall grasses, a broken down bird-hunting blind, where we take
our big 4-man SUP out and attach additional paddleboards to it and have a sound bathe with singing
bowls playing while the class floats on the water. It’s incredibly peaceful.
We also do eco-history tours where we discuss the John Smith Water Trail and other historical
landmarks in the area.
What is your season?
Our season lasts from May 1 st through the last day of September.
Are there any local attractions paddlers may also be interested in?
Oh my gosh yes. Williamsburg is full of all types of historical attractions. There is of course Colonial
Williamsburg, Jamestown Island, Jamestown settlement, the John Smith Water Trail, Yorktown
Battlefield is also close.
Are there any other cool or interesting activities in the area?
Outside of historical landmarks there is Busch Gardens which is a popular spot in the area.
Do you have any recommendations for local food and drinks?
There are a ton of local breweries- Ale Works Brewing Company, The Virginia Beer Company, Precarious
Beer Hall, Amber Ox Public House and many more!
Some of my favorite local restaurants are The Fat Canary, The Cheese Shop, Giuseppe’s for Italian food.
Local places to stay?
There are couple of great places. Williamsburg Winery is a bed and breakfast worth checking out and
Serendipity Inn is a bit off the beaten path but it’s also a great bed and breakfast.
10% off paddle classes
- I am a 55 year old mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, mentor, paddleboarder, yogi and entrepreneur. Seven years ago I decided to leave my job and spend time with my boys in their last years of high school and within that time I decided that I wanted something different for myself and that I did not want to give my time working for anyone else that was not worthy of my time.I discovered paddleboarding about 8 years ago and instantly fell in love with the sport. I grew up around the beach and loving being outside near water so this did not surprise me that I would love it so much. I started looking for places to rent in my community and found that there was only 1 place but they did not offer any options to take the paddleboard to another location, and they were not certified or knowledgeable to give lessons or information on paddleboarding. I started researching paddleboarding and found that it was a growing sport and with the many beautiful waterways in our area that this would be a great business to get started.I decided on becoming a mobile company instead of having a brick and mortar because this way I could take the boards to many different launch sites. In one year I became certified as a Paddle Yoga Instructor, Level 1 Paddleboard Instructor and a 200 hour yoga instructor at the same time as I was setting up this new venture - it was alot in one year but so worth it!!! I started my business with just me offering Intro to SUP Lessons, paddle yoga, rentals and supin sister paddles and then in the off season I went indoors and offered indoor paddle yoga at the local YMCA.Five years later I have 4 instructors and I offer Intro to SUP Lessons,Paddle Yoga, Paddle Fit, Social SUPS, Full Moon Paddle & Sound Bath, Special Paddle Events, Corporate Events, Private Paddle Parties, Retreats and so much more!!!!! I still offer indoor paddle fitness in my off season as well. This has been such an incredible journey for me so far and I am looking forward to seeing where my business can grow in the coming years. I am really enjoying spreading the love of paddleboarding in a safe and fun environment and the joy on the faces of my clients makes my heart happy 🙂
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