Photo: Jed Conklin

Photo: Jed Conklin

SUP Instructors Near You

From flatwater socialites to downwind warriors, SUP instructors are key to learning how to standup paddle. In honor of our upcoming Beginner's Guide, hitting newsstands March 28, here's a look at some of standup paddling's top instructors in your region.

The SUP Scenester: Kym Murdoch

Kym Murdoch needed a vacation. It was 2009 and she'd run heavy equipment on road crews 14 hours a day, seven days a week for 12 years. So she went to Maui and rented a paddleboard.

Her future changed the first half hour on the water.

"I looked out at all these paddleboarders in great shape, and I thought, 'Oh my gosh, that's it—it's going to hit,'" says the 38-year-old.

She returned home to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho (aka "Lake City") and promptly gave her two weeks.

"I spent my life savings and bought myself a job," she laughs. "This shop just happened to become vacant a couple days later, so I scooped it up."

Three months later she opened Coeur d'Alene Paddleboard Company. The rest is history—a growing history.

Murdoch spent the past few years entrenching herself and her shop in the community. And that meant paddling. A lot. Seven days a week, two hours a day—and she brings that stoke to work. She offers a membership deal that allows paddlers to pay a five-dollar fee for their SUP gear and guiding for an outing on the area's beautiful waterways. Today, they have over 60 members.

"We paddle in packs of 20 usually," she says. "We do everything on our boards: we take our dogs out; we do a Polar Paddle during the annual Polar Bear Plunge, where we dress up all funky and then take our stuff off into swimsuits and dive in; we do moonlight paddles; I do full yoga on the boards; and we just have so much fun that people don't hesitate to join us."

She has a dedicated following about town. Mary Demming, 54, is one of the converted.

"(Murdoch) attracts good, positive people and brings people into the sport and they get excited about it," Demming says. "She's very open to teaching. She'll help you with any specific thing you need or let you do your own specific thing."

Demming estimates that she has gone out with Murdoch and her paddling posse somewhere in the realm of 70 times in the last year.

Besides constantly paddling, Murdoch also volunteers 25 boards to triathlons and endurance races on the lakes in the area, including the Ironman.

"There are 3,000 swimmers in it, and after the first race, I had so much positive feedback after plucking exhausted, hypothermic racers out left and right—the water's 56 degrees then—when the kayaks weren't even seeing them," she says.

With the community support, abundance of water and ascendant SUP culture, Coeur d'Alene Paddleboard Company continues to thrive. —Dave Shively

Other Options Nearby:
Kayak Coeur d'Alene
Strongwater Paddle Sports (Missoula)
Zoo Town Surfers (Missoula)

This article originally ran in our 2013 Beginner’s Guide. Look for more profiles in our upcoming Beginner's Guide on newsstands, March 28.

For more information:, (208)292.4166
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