The Paddle Polo Story
Excerpt from Idea Mensch article
Steve Gurney has quite a few ideas, His first big idea came to him in 1989, when he founded Guide to Retirement Living SourceBook after witnessing the challenges his family faced in providing elder care to his grandfather. He sold the business to a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Washington Post where continues to serve as publisher.
Paddle Polo is an idea that seems to have passed the test as a commercial product, as well as combining Steve’s passion for Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) and outdoor sports. Steve hopes that his new product, which combines Lacrosse with paddle sports helps provide even more enjoyment and skill building to the rapidly growing pastime of Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP).
Steve was introduced to Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) in 2012 by a fellow snowboard instructor Chris Higgins, at Liberty Mountain Resort where Steve volunteers as an AASI Certified Adaptive Snow Board Instructor with Blue Ridge Adaptive Snow Sports. Chris founded a Stand Up Paddle Boarding (SUP) instruction school, Surf Reston and turned the operations over to Steve when he needed to relocate to Colorado. While working as a ACA Level 2 Certified SUP Instructor, Steve came up with the idea for Paddle Polo.
Where did the idea for Paddle Polo come from?
The part-time stand-up paddle board school I run supports an annual lake swim in our community every year by providing stand up paddle boards for the lifeguards. In 2012, I overheard a couple of the lifeguards talking about lacrosse, and I got the idea to strap a lacrosse stick to my paddle. I was blown away at how fun it was to throw around a tennis ball, but I couldn’t grip the paddle correctly with my rudimentary attachment. My dad, Jack Gurney is a retired engineer who came up with a brilliant design that enabled me to easily attach a stick and hold the paddle correctly. We prototyped the design for about a year using the 3D printer at the middle school where my dad volunteers and progressed to Nova Labs a local non-profit in our community where my brother, Wes Gurney is a member. After dozens of modifications, we applied for a patent and sold our first units in April 2015 at Carolina Cup, one of the nation’s largest Stand Up Paddle Board races in Wrightsville Beach, NC. Since then sales have been doing very well through a growing network of youth camps, stand up paddle board rental and retailers, and connections with lacrosse teams and tournaments.
Read the full Idea Mensch Interview
Read Modern Reston Article
Read RestonNow Article
Read Patch Article