Beginning this Spring, new boats will be paddling down the West Fork River. Stand Up Paddleboarding (SUP) is gaining popularity, and the fad is moving to Shinnston. Paddleboarding is a little different from kayaking or canoeing. Users stand or sit on a wide surfboard-shaped board and paddle with a single bent oar. Nick Hermosilla, of WV SUP, is a certified paddleboard instructor and will be offering tours in the West Fork River.
Originally from Fairmont, Hermosilla has worked with MCPARC on several introductory events throughout Marion County. As interest grew, WV SUP has expanded and offers tours on the Monongahela River, the Middle Fork River and now the West Fork River. Currently offering day trips and lessons, the outfitter will be expanding to overnighters and partnering with WV Yoga Girl to hold Stand Up Paddle Board Yoga classes.
Some assume many rivers are “too dirty” to swim in or have fun on. They see trash near shore or water that isn’t clear and assume it’s unsafe. As a result, many perfectly safe waters go underutilized by locals and tourists. However, groups like Guardians of the West Fork have been working tirelessly to clean up the rivers and have been successful on the mission. Feasibility reports show that the West Fork River is healthy and safe to be occupied.
Organizations around the state are looking to create and promote opportunities to connect people to the local waterways. Events focused on the river help increase physical activity and can help boost businesses centered around this water-friendly lifestyle. Not only will this benefit health, but will drive economic development as well.
The City of Shinnston is looking at possible improvements to river access points, which will help connect the community to the local waterways.
For more information regarding paddleboarding or to book a tour, visit www.wvsup.com and contact Nick Hermosilla at firstname.lastname@example.org.