New Wave

To enjoy the lake, one usually has to cram into a kayak or purchase a boat, which tends to cram everyone’s already tight budget. Paddle boards allow the freedom to stand or sit while enjoying the lake — without costing you an arm and a leg. These surfboards on steroids allow for an interesting sport to take foot right along the river.

“By the first stroke, I was hooked,” says Bill Cochrane, the owner of the Nalu Stand-Up-and-Paddle (SUP) and Surf Shop that is located at 429 Riverdale Drive in Rocky River. By taking a right at the first fork in the road when driving down the CYC hill, anyone can come see this cool paddle board shop that is right along the river.

“I knew the boom was going to happen,” Cochrane says in describing the paddle board explosion that has occurred in Rocky River over the last few years.

“The midwest can sometimes be behind the times of what is happening in California or Florida, but paddle boarding has picked up here as much as anywhere, alaong with Michigan and Wisconsin,” Cochrane says.

Paddle boarding is the sport of standing on a thicker surfboard with a long paddle. “It [paddle boarding] gives the opportunity of enjoying the lake or the river without the expense of a boat or the expense of a jet ski. It’s a great fitness tool or just a fun thing to do. If you’ve had a bad day at work or something, you can just paddle it away,” Cochrane says.

COCHRANE OPENED the store in August of 2011. Summering SUP fun has been bounding about Rocky River ever since. With five different brands for sale, all of which offer three types of boards ranging from all around durable to surf paddle board to race board, the Nalu store has the depth to satisfy all the thrill seeking needs of an expert paddler while welcoming a beginner into a cool, fast growing sport.

In addition to selling boards, Cochrane also offers clothing from high-end lines such as Helly Hanson and Body Glove. From spray tops to jackets to wet suits, the Nalu store offers all the equipment needed to enjoy the water.

On top of selling great boards and all the beach bum necessities, Cochrane also puts together group paddle sessions. A cool group of people paddling together, and all are welcome. All you have to do is stop down at the shop or like their Facebook page to join the fun. Also, check out their website:


The price of boards range from $500 to $1,500,  the main difference in price being the material of choice.

All boards are made with a soft core, but the type of board differs after that. One is referred to as a “soft top”, a board that coats the soft core with a foam material much like with boogie boards. These soft tops work as an all around board that is very durable to rocks and other impacts a paddler may experience.

Another type is known as a fiber glass epoxy board. The more expensive of the two types of boards, this is faster and more buoyant but is also more prone to cracking on impact. The more experienced paddler will enjoy these boards and Cochrane says these are also very durable and any small cracking resulting from hitting a rock is easily fixed with epoxy. Other considerations:

1.The size of the paddler. It isn’t a problem for a smaller person to use a bigger board, though when a large person uses a board that doesn’t fit the needed buoyancy, problems with paddling will occur.

2. Figure out how you wish to use the board. All companies offer different types of boards such as an all-around board that can be used as a general ride. Most soft top boards are in the general use category. Then there is a smaller form of board that is mainly used for paddle surfing. The last type of board, which is usually larger, is known as a race board.

3. Choose a paddle. There are two different types of paddles: adjustable and non-adjustable. The adjustable paddle is the heavier of the two, but is good for families seeing as it suffices the lengths of multiple users. Non- adjustable paddles are cut and epoxied to fit a single rider’s length. Without the necessary accessories for the paddle to be adjustable, this paddle is lighter and easier to use, but lacks the ability to serve multiple paddlers. Paddles are made of either aluminum, fiberglass or carbon fiber. Aluminum is the least expensive and the most heavy while carbon fiber is the most expensive and the lightest.

4. Finally, have a PFD [personal floating device] and boater’s whistle on board and follow the paddle board rules!

Andrew Goecke

Andrew Goecke is a graduate of Rocky River High School and who is currently enrolled in the Journalism and Pre-Law programs at Loyola University in Chicago.


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Volume 1, Issue 1, Posted 4:57 PM, 07.09.2013