Quickblade Paddles owner Jim Terrell equips stand-up paddleboarders with the basics to navigate the serene waters of Newport Beach.
Section by Joe Carberry
Jim Terrell, the owner of Costa Mesa-based Quickblade Paddles, is an institution in the stand-up paddleboarding culture that dominates Newport’s waters. By the time he was in his mid-30s, Jim was already a four-time Olympian in flatwater canoe racing (similar to SUP). With firsthand experience of what it takes to excel on the water, Jim waded into the paddle-making business and, in 2003, he customized a shaft “as tall as a man” for Malibu waterman Drew Aiello. News of Jim’s inventive blades spread to other notable names in the industry, and business exploded. Today, his paddles help pave the way for the overflowing success of SUP in our community.
Newport Beach Magazine: So you’re originally from Ohio but didn’t move to the area until 1988. How did you first get into SUP and developing paddles?
Jim Terrell: It’s funny—my parents had a canoe rental business in Ohio, and on tours we’d always stand in the canoes to see how to get through the shallow areas and sandbars. Building outrigger, canoe and kayak paddles was sort of a hobby out of my garage. But stand-up came along, and I decided to really go for it with the Quickblade brand.
What has your experience been with Newport as a paddling town?
I love it here. … There are so many places to paddle, like the beach and the harbor, and you can paddle year-round.
SUP isn’t as easy as just jumping on a board and paddling. What are some of the best ways people can train for the sport?
I fabricated a flume so people can practice their stroke [at our headquarters]. I also use it for private instructional lessons. It’s paid for itself in marketing exposure because every time someone comes in for a lesson or workout, they take a picture and share it on social media. … There are also free weights and pull-up bars here, and we’ll set up workouts with our team paddlers.
Do you need to be in shape for SUP?
The beauty of stand-up is that it’s fun to do at any intensity. Walking down a sidewalk isn’t hard, but if you run fast for five minutes, then it’s hard. You can make SUP as challenging as you want. You can get out and chitchat with your friends or … take turns drafting and barely say 20 words.
What’s the SUP workout actually like, beyond working arm and back muscles?
It’s an all-body workout; all the little muscles are firing. In six months of paddling, I’ve seen people improve their fitness and look fit and strong. It can really change your life.
Learning to paddleboard is easy with the right equipment at your disposal.
At first glance it might appear as if stand-up paddleboarding requires no equipment besides a paddle and a board, but you can enhance the experience with products that increase both comfort and stability. Whether you’re a beach beginner or an aquatics aficionado, with the right gear you’ll be set to enjoy a day venturing out into the open ocean.