Adlai approached Aquabatics a few years back, and since then Kootenay Paddle boards have been a staple in our SUP inventory. Not only is he a manufacturer, he is also a die-hard paddler himself. Adlai and Kootenay PDL have been involved in many facets of the SUP world. One being his integral role in getting the SUP category added to the annual Toby Creek Race. We ask Tom, a long time staffer at AQOutdoors, to describe Aldlai in three words. The first words out of his mouth were, “inviting, rhythm and stoked.” Without further ado, we present 20 questions with Adlai Majer.
Adlai all paddles and smiles! Photo credit to Tammy Majer
- Who the heck are yeah?
Adlai Majer, Owner Kootenay Paddleboards
- Where yeah from?
Calgary Alberta (but also spend a lot of time in Fernie BC, our second home)
- When did you start paddling?
About 10 years ago in Penticton BC. My kids were really young and I was getting tired of hanging out on the beach building sand castles. I rented a board and had a awesome time paddling around with my kids on the front.
- Why SUP when there’s so many other ways to get on the water?
I love all the different ways to enjoy SUP: flat water, surfing, downwinding, and white water. Especially the challenge of white water. I love to be part of the small group of pioneers progressing whitewater paddling to new levels in Alberta and BC.
Surfs S'UP- Photo Credit to Bob Lamond
- Do you remember what your SUP was? colour?
It was a typical all round hard board. A 12’6” generic surf shape. Very fun. Very stable. But very heavy, big, and slow. A great starter board. Both the sport and board design have some a long way since then.
- If you could build the perfect SUP what would it look like?
Great question to ask someone with a SUP brand:) With the Kootenay PDL Sustain board design I really wanted to build the perfect all-round SUP. It’s an inflatable that does everything well. It has a relatively narrow, fast shape, but with a bit more width in the tail it also has surprising stability. It’s fast enough for the lake and even some flat water racing, but also stable enough for class I or II rivers - the perfect board for the section of the Bow River running through Calgary or the Elk in Fernie (where I’ve logged a lot of miles refining the design of this board). Kootenay PDL makes only inflatables. Using high quality materials and construction, our inflatable SUPs rival the stiffness of hard boards, are much more durable and are extremely easy to store and travel with. My goal is to make boards for flat water racing, all round use, whitewater, and for river surfing that excel in the disciplines they are designed for. In a sense, each of the boards I design is my dream board for it’s intended use.
- Where’s your favorite place to paddle, well one your comfortable sharing with the world anyway?
I love paddling the new Harvie Passage whitewater park in Calgary. It is the perfect place for all paddlers to progress their whitewater skills. Perfect for beginners, but also a great place to work on advanced skills like river SUP surfing and running slalom gates in class II whitewater. I love introducing other paddlers to Harvie Passage and watching them progress.
- What's the longest commute you’ve made for a weekend of paddling?
The drive out to Vernon for the Kalamalka Classic. This is a great race put on by Kalavida Surf Shop. The 10 mile crossing is challenging and incredibly scenic.
- Do you enjoy paddling competitions? Why?
I love competition. It gives me motivation to get out on the water and improve my skills and fitness, and races are a great place to get out and meet others in the paddling community. My favourite race last year was the Toby Creek whitewater race. 2019 was the first time SUP was included and it was a huge success.
Aldai given'r around a bouy - Photo Credit to Ken Anderson
- How are you pushing yourself on the water?
Last year I pushed myself to improve my downwinding, surfing, and whitewater skills, and in 2020 I’d like to explore the other end of the spectrum and enter some long distance races. I’ve set my sights on the 3 day 125km Revelstoke Paddlesport Challenge. Good motivation to get out on the water early in the spring and log some miles. Though I have to admit, whitewater paddling is still my favourite discipline, I love the adrenaline rush and the balance and technical skill it requires.
- Any tricks or runs your currently trying to dial in?
My major goal over the last couple years is to do class III water with style and finesse. It takes a long time to dial in whitewater skills on a SUP and takes even longer to make it look smooth and effortless. Anyone wanting to learn whitewater SUP has to be comfortable looking a tad bit dorky in the beginning. The first few times out it’s a lot more Fall Down Paddle Swimming than Stand Up Paddle Boarding.
- What would you say your worst wipe out was?
My worst wipe out was while SUP surfing in Nicaragua. There were huge winds and the swell was pretty big. I fell down trying to catch a wave and got tossed around a bit, then as I surfaced the howling wind tore my board off of the surface of the water and it flew straight at me, the rail smashing into my forehead and almost knocking me out.
- Do you do any type of winter training?
In the winter I do a lot of indoor rowing, some running, swimming and skate skiing. I also love to get out backcountry skiing whenever I can. And for working on balance I absolutely love my Indo Board.
- What’s your dream run or trip?
My dream is to do the Maui to Molokai downwind SUP race. It’s downwind race where you surf open ocean swells with the wind at your back for 27 miles between two Hawaiian Islands. I love the challenge of downwinding which takes physical fitness but also requires the ability to read the ocean and catch and surf huge swells on a skinny 14’ race board. It’s one of the most challenging SUP disciplines
- What’s the coolest thing you’ve seen while paddling?
I love the ability to see down through the water when standing on a paddle board. Although I’ve seen them many times I never get tired of watching sea turtles swimming next to me when paddling in Maui.
- What’s the best advice you would give to someone brand new to SUP?
My advice is to come out to a few events or some of the weekly paddle meet ups in your area to meet others involved in the sport - it’s such a fun community (Kootenay PDL has a weekly meet up in Calgary). And if you want a window into just how far the sport has progressed, watch The SUP Movie (sure to motivate you to get on the water).
- If you could go paddling with anyone in the world past or present who would it be?
I’d go paddling with Kai Lenny. He’s a waterman who excels at every discipline of the sport.
No words needed, Beauty pic ! - photo credits to "a random German tourist"
- Is there anything you would change about sport?
I love where the sport has been going over the last few years with more people coming out to races and a huge increase in the popularity of river SUP. I have only one complaint: As a goofy foot paddler, I’d like to see more right hand turns in flat water races....like Zoolander, I have issues turning left.
- What’s your favorite dinosaur?
Clint Eastwood. That guy’s still got it!
- Is there anything I missed you wanted to add?
I’d love to have anyone get in contact with me at email@example.com if they have have any questions about gear, races, local meet ups, etc.
Big thanks to Adlai for rounding up some pics and answering some questions for us. You can find Kootnay SUPs on our website here
If your interested in answering twenty questions for us please shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org