Industry News: SUP Takes Center Stage on ABC’s Shark Tank

(San Diego, Calif.) – Beach-dwelling standup paddleboard entrepreneur, Stephan Aarstol, will be featured pitching his San Diego-based start-up Tower Paddle Boards on ABC’s entrepreneur reality show Shark Tank (Fridays, 8/7c). Over 24,000 entrepreneurs applied to compete on the third season of the show, currently rated among the top shows in America on Friday nights. The episode will air on ABC at 8/7c on March 16, 2012.

Aarstol founded the SUP brand less than a year prior to being selected by the “Shark Tank” producers. The producers selected Tower largely because of the surging popularity of standup paddle boards, but also in part for Tower’s unique web-marketing based, direct-to-consumer eCommerce business model that brought visibility and market share to Tower among close to a hundred better-known and traditionally more established SUP brands. Aarstol’s approach is a little different than your typical SUP brand. By design, it’s a manufacturer direct SUP company. They don’t have any retail resellers, nor distributors, nor sales reps. You can only buy direct from their San Diego headquarters or thru their website and have it shipped nationwide.

“Our getting selected to be on Shark Tank is a great honor and opportunity for our business, but it is also a huge plug for the entire SUP industry,” said Aarstol. “This sport is still relatively unknown in many parts of the country, so it’s likely that this one 15-minute primetime segment could introduce several million new people to the great sport of standup paddling.”

Aarstol will present his company to a panel of investors, which includes billionaire Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA champion Dallas Mavericks; Daymond John, founder of urban clothing brand FUBU; Kevin O’Leary, an entrepreneur who sold his educational software company to Mattel for $3.7 billion; Barbara Corcoran, real estate investor who built $5 billion real estate empire; and Robert Herjavec, a prominent technology entrepreneur who sold his first technology company for over $100 million.

Prior to starting Tower Paddle Boards, Aarstol – an online marketing veteran whose focus during his graduate business studies at the University of San Diego was entrepreneurship and new ventures – turned a $10,000 credit card advance into $2.5 million in revenues in its first five years in a similarly conceived high-end poker chip company. That company’s products have been featured on Spike TV.

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  • Jon Kinley

    wow amazing-does he do it fo the $ or fo love!?

  • side effects of yasmin

    Merely a smiling visitor here to share the love (:, btw outstanding pattern. “Competition is a painful thing, but it produces great results.” by Jerry Flint.

  • leader

    Hey learned something newjust now now I’m fulfilled for this week. Best Wishes!

  • Stephan Aarstol

    Thanks for the article SUP the Magazine!

    To update readers, on Shark Tank 3/16/2012, after forgetting my pitch and stumbling a bit, I made a come back with a strong showing in the Q&A (much of which was technical and got edited out of what aired), and I got offered deals from both Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban. I ended up taking a deal from Cuban for $150,000 for a 30% stake in Tower Paddle Boards, plus (and this was a Shark Tank 1st) Cuban negotiated for 1st right of refusal on investing in any business I do in the future that I need to raise money for. The deal closed last November, and Mark Cuban is on board and jazzed to be in the SUP industry. He’s stoked and we’re both excited to help introduce as many people as possible to the great sport of stand up paddle boarding AND add what we can to the evolution of the equipment in the sport.

    Stephan Aarstol
    Founder & CEO
    Tower Paddle Boards

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