OGDEN -- By the time local businessman Steve McBride had longboarded from North Ogden to Riverdale, he had one thought: "There has to be a better way to propel yourself on a board."
McBride had found himself stranded a few years ago, with his car in a Riverdale shop, when it occurred to him to just make the trip by longboard. McBride is the owner of Ogden-based Kahuna Creations, a longboard, surfboard and snowboard shop.
But by the end of his 10-mile trip to Riverdale, McBride said his back was killing him from the jarring up and down of longboarding by foot.
He began thinking of a way that would still be fun but wouldn't create so much stress on the body. Taking inspiration from the developing sport of stand-up paddling, where a rider stands on a surfboard and paddles through the water, McBride kept the concept and transferred it to land, creating what he calls land paddling.
Using a long stick with a carbon rubber tip, the rider pushes himself forward while keeping both feet on the board.
"I just thought it was a fun thing to do, but it turns out it's one of the best core workouts," he said.
As word began to get around about Kahuna's Big Stick, McBride started getting requests from professional athletes and sports teams who wanted to do land paddling as part of their training.
Now the Big Stick is outselling the company's other products, McBride said, though he declined to release sales numbers. He believes Kahuna is the only company making land paddle sticks.
The sport has made its way into several schools and is growing in popularity.
Orion Junior High physical education teacher Merrill Harris said both he and his students love land paddling.
Harris said he found out about the invention from McBride's wife at a dance meet their daughters were competing in, and decided he'd like to try it out in his classroom this year.
Part of the appeal is just how easy it is to get started, Harris said. Even students who call themselves uncoordinated are riding around in minutes and land paddling has been their favorite activity of the semester.
"The skateboarding kids want to get on it right away," he said. "The kids that were more hesitant all come back saying, 'I want to do that more.' "
He even uses getting to ride as a reward for those students who finish running a mile the fastest.
Harris said he started land paddling and now goes every night.
"It's kind of addictive," he said.
McBride certainly hopes so.
"I don't think it's going to be a fad," he said. "It's a lifetime activity you can do."
He and his family risked everything when he quit his corporate job and began making boards in his garage five years ago, so to see the hard working beginning to pay off is very satisfying, McBride said.
"There are so many people out there that don't think they can ride a board. With the land paddle, they can and they'll be surprised how fun it is," he said.
Right now, he doesn't have any plans to develop new product lines, instead focusing on what they already offer.