PADDLING THE WORLD WIDE WEB Q&A with Editor Brad Melekian

Why did you feel the need to create this website?

If you look at it there are a lot of interesting stories that aren’t getting told. Stories that don’t fit into anyone’s (surf magazines’) format. There are thousands of people out there, enthusiast paddlers that are asking for an outlet to tell there stories.

We use the term “paddleboard” broadly. We didn’t want to use the term “waterman” because we felt it has been sort of diluted of the years. But if you are in the water getting exercise you may find our site interesting.

What can a user of your website expect to find?

We are trying to do stories that are participant-based. Stories that inspire people to get out there. We want to keep our stories close to home to reflect what our readers are experiencing in the water.

So no fantasy based surf perfection?

Other people cover surfing pretty thoroughly, like your self for instance, and we are not getting involved in that game – but certainly surfers are paddlers. We want to feature stories and adventurers that you wouldn’t read about in a surf magazine.

What about events?

We will cover events. We will be the primary outlet for those events and we are in fact in the middle of the event season.

Do you have online competition? Is there another “waterman” website out there?

No, I think we’ve carved out a niche for ourselves.

In surfing there is a very clear divergent path between sport and lifestyle, is this the case with the paddling community?

The divergence of sport and lifestyle that is so evident in the surf world isn’t so in the paddle world. Because paddlers are a relatively small group, the events are recognized more as gatherings. And because the competitive side is objective and endurance based rather than a subjective judging that divergent element has nowhere to harbor. Everyone wants to see you finish the race; they are pulling for you. There is a sort of a group ethos.

Who falls under the broad category of paddler?

If you are doing “it” whatever your “it” is, in either new or old ways, you are a “paddler.” You don’t have to be a paddle boarder per se, you can be a free diver or stand up paddler or a kayaker, but the overriding concept is that you, as an individual, are heading out on the water to experience an adventure or get some exercise – and that is what is all about.

How does the staff at measure success?

If we can create a steady readership, that would be nice. If we can engage and be viewed as a credible source of information and entertainment for the community than we are successful.