Editor’s Note: This article was published in the “Biz Matters” section of publications printed by Simply Clear Marketing & Media in 2018. If you haven’t met Sandi Twist, you’ll enjoy her philosophy to teach anyone their style of paddle boarding on Morro Bay In Central California. Sandi is also Vice-President of the Board of the Morro Bay Chamber of Commerce and Ken Twist is on the board of the Morro Bay Maritime Museum.
Oliver Wendell Holmes said, “Men do not quit playing because they grow old; they grow old because they quit playing.” Living on the Central Coast offers abundant opportunities to live playfully – and even work playfully. Case in point: Cheryl Bariel never intended to inspire her SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) friends, but she did, including her instructor, Sandi Twist, co-owner with husband Ken of The Paddleboard Company of Morro Bay.
In 2017 Cheryl Bariel relocated from Santa Rosa. She already practiced a disciplined routine to maintain a healthier lifestyle after successfully battling uterine cancer in 2014. Morro Bay offered her many scenic areas for daily walking, but she wanted more. “I’m 72 years old and have learned my limits, but overcoming cancer gave me confidence to believe I could try anything,” she said.
Fellow paddler Bert Tibbitts said, “I met Cheryl when we were both taking “SUP Works,” an introductory paddleboarding class conducted by The Paddleboard Co. in conjunction with Fitness Works of Morro Bay. After we had taken only a few sessions, Cheryl and I were talking about a paddleboard race planned in Morro Bay and she said, ‘I am going to do that.’ I said ‘Whaaat…the race is several miles long and only a few weeks off.’ She entered the race and completed the course. And now, once again she displays her amazing attitude when she took on another challenge paddling every day for 31 days.”
“I wanted more lessons. I like figuring things out – how to overcome obstacles,” Bariel said. “There was so much to remember. I was determined to become self-sufficient at it.” She decided to commit to seven days to “get my system down.” When she finished seven she added another seven, then fourteen consecutive days. She’d still be racking up the days beyond the 31 if her doctor hadn’t advised she stay out of the water after an unrelated hand injury. “It Is best to take a lesson – at least Sandi’s (Twist) Quick Tips to learn about the tides, the wind, how to load and unload the board.”
Twist added, “It’s a process…and often a show-stopper for some thinking it is too much work, too hard to handle. There are few health or physical excuses that can’t be modified by one of our company’s certified trainers and yet I always hear I’m too old, not healthy enough, bad knees, hips — THERE IS NO AGE LIMIT. Cheryl is such an example at 72.” One qualifier she says, “For safety reasons, you must be under 280lbs.”
“It’s best to go out with a buddy,” advised Bariel. “When I’d been paddling about three months — eight days into my personal challenge, a friend couldn’t make it, so I decided to test it out by myself. My confidence was high. I thought — I’m prepared. I’ve learned what to do to be comfortable with what I know and what’s around me…I just need to do it.
“I was out by Bayside (Restaurant) when the fog rolled in. I couldn’t see Morro Rock then I couldn’t see the Embarcadero. I got nervous when I couldn’t see the boats around me. The tides changed and luckily took me near Tidelands Park. I was able to find a place to get out and walked the board back to the Embarcadero until the fog lifted then I got back in and finished my paddle.” She noted it was her wake-up call to “learn your escape routes and always carry a phone.”
About Day 14 she met another challenge — loading her equipment by herself after a paddle. Once she mastered the tricky maneuver of loading and unloading, she now enjoys helping others.
Bariel, Twist and Tibbetts are regular members of the Tribe, a SUP social group that paddles Thursday mornings from the dock behind The Paddleboard Company. Several paddlers meet up on the bay from various launch points. Twist said, “It started slowly last winter. Many had learned to paddle then purchased boards over the winter. Anyone can come. They don’t have to be in a class or have taken a class from our company. The only criteria is that they must already know how to paddle.”
What’s the next challenge for Bariel? She announced to an amazed Twist she planned to enter the Rock to Pier Paddle. Twist explained, “We paddle along-side the runners who run the beach route. You must be an experienced paddler since we go outside the bay.” She said the paddlers usually get to Cayucos for all the festivities about the time as the runners. For more information and to register at www.leaguelineup.com.
The Paddleboard Company owners, Ken and Sandi Twist met at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. She had visited Morro Bay while attending Cal Poly Pomona studying engineering. Visiting her sister university by the bay, she had to wonder why she was in Pomona. “Once I transferred and met my husband it was all history. We have a passion for the sport and we personally love doing it. Paddling Morro Bay is always fun, always challenging, always a new experience — a mystery with constant change — a puzzle to manage. The Paddleboard Company is our way of sharing it.”
The Paddle Board Company is located at 575 Embarcadero in Morro Bay and offers a variety of private or group lessons by certified trainers; scheduled water activities, including fitness programs and Paddleboard Yoga, plus high quality paddleboards for sale, rent or even loan to test out during sessions. www.thepaddleboardcompany.com.
Maybe a New Year’s Resolution? If you live on the Central Coast, why not try paddle boarding with Sandi Twist? Or if you are visiting, make it a must-do on your list while in Morro Bay. Time or age is not an issue!!