Nick Hermosilla, owner of West Virginia Stand Up Paddle Boarding, navigates a local river. / Photo courtesy of Nick Hermosilla

BUCKHANNON – This summer’s been a scorcher so far. With temperatures reaching in the high 90s as of late, folks are looking for ways to stay cool and still enjoy the sunshine.

Why not get out on the water and try paddle boarding?

But first things first: What exactly is paddle boarding?

Well, it might be described as stand-up surfing and canoeing all in one.

And with the new business, West Virginia Stand Up Paddle Boarding, now established in the area, Upshur County residents and tourists can learn all they need to know about the low impact head-to-toe workout.

With multiple locations throughout the state, WVSUP offers tours, lessons and acts as a resource for gear questions and purchases or helping clients who already have their gear find nice areas to paddle. Both experienced paddle boarders and newcomers to the sport can navigate the Buckhannon River, Middle Fork River, Monongahela River, Tygart Valley River and West Fork River.

Having bought his first paddle board back in 2009, Nick Hermosilla, owner of WVSUP, said the decision to offer the services in Upshur County was an easy one after spending time at Camp Morningwood on Yokum Road. Originally of Fairmont, Hermosilla said Upshur County’s location and growth was also a factor.

“The location being still close to family and centrally positioned in West Virginia, (and) that gives us access to day trip pretty much anywhere in our entire state,” he said. “The growth surrounding Buckhannon is awesome to see. It seems this area has a solid group of people that are working to further enhance the community. That’s exciting.”

West Virginia Stand Up Paddle Boarding owner, Nick Hermosilla / Photo courtesy of Nick Hermosilla

Hermosilla also thanked two Upshur County natives, Rob Barbor and Barrett Johnson, for teaching him how to navigate the challenging runs in the area.

“They really opened my eyes to the beauty this area has to offer,” he said.

After completing an American Canoe Association instructor course a few years ago, Hermosilla has taken on the task of guiding locals and out-of-towners throughout the curves and bends of West Virginia’s waters.

“It’s an amazing feeling to stand on water. People are surprised that it’s much easier than what they had put in their heads initially,” he said. “Once you are able to center yourself and relax your balance into those larger muscles it’s all about enjoying the view.”

And yes, the WVSUP teams works with all levels of paddle boarders.

“There are so many different water venues surrounding us that you can enjoy calm flat water or get as wild and wonderful as you want,” he said.

For more information on WVSUP, visit www.wvsup.com.