Retailer Spotlight: Aquabatics Calgary
At the foot of Western Canada’s majestic Rocky Mountains in Calgary, Alberta is kayaking specialty shop, Aquabatics Calgary…
Aquabatics, like many paddlesports retailers, began as a small home business. Susan Azofeifa, of Smithers, British Columbia, started the business in 1996. She opened the Calgary store in 1999.
Simon Coward entered the scene in 2004 and started the Aquabatics’ Kayak School in 2005. He and his wife, Nikki, bought the Calgary store from Susan in 2009, while she continues to own and operate the Smithers location.
Aquabatics carries kayaks, SUP boards and rafts for the paddling enthusiast—from beginner to expert. They also offer all the accessories and apparel needed to get you out on the water.
But they’re not just a premier paddle shop—they’re a premier paddle resource. Their YouTube Channel and Kayak School are major components of their business, too. They produce dozens of training videos (such as the one below) and offer experiential training through their school.
Aquabatics’ Kayak School
The Kayak School started with 350 “client days” in their first year, teaching whitewater kayaking. In 2017 they recorded 6,000 client days in multiple paddling courses including: whitewater, recreational and touring, youth and teens, SUP boarding and Instructor Training.
They have many students who start as beginners or intermediates, and continue on until they’re confident, proficient paddlers. They’ve built a great community around their courses in their local area. Many of their students go on to sign up for Aquabatics’ kayaking tours to such exotic overseas locations as Kenya, Costa Rica, New Zealand and Australia.
Community and Non-Profit Involvement
The folks at Aquabatics are very involved in their local community and paddling scene, too. They offer support to Legacy Place Society—an organization that works with First Responders with PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
Dedication to Paddling Community Development
A project Simon’s very excited about is a new website and app that he envisions as a crowd-sourced paddlesports guide. He and his team plan to launch it in Canada first, and hope to eventually attract users and contributors in the paddling community worldwide.
We’ll stay-tuned for that (and probably blog about it when it goes live)!
Aquabatics and Aqua-Bound
Aquabatics’ relationship with Aqua-Bound goes back to the beginning. They’ve always had a great relationship with our staff at our Wisconsin headquarters, whether marketing, sales or customer service.
Simon said Aqua-Bound offers “a great product that fits our customer base. They’re super high-quality paddles. In fact, I can’t imagine our business without Aqua-Bound.”
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