Two entrepreneurs are using skateboards and sticks to promote fun workouts and their new longboard business.
| 2:30 p.m. November 21, 2016
West Orange Times & Observer
You usually can spot people roller skating, biking or jogging down the West Orange Trail along Plant Street, but land paddling is a less-common activity — and a slightly peculiar one if you’ve never seen it before.
Land paddling, the activity of longboarding with a long stick used to push off the ground, is undoubtedly different, but that’s what Mark Houghton and Adam Rubman love about it.
Houghton and Rubman are the two friends behind the uptick of the new sport in Winter Garden. The two lifelong entrepreneurs from Ocoee and Clermont opened their third business six months ago with Orlando Longboards LLC. They chose Winter Garden as their spot to host land-paddling group sessions as a way to market both their new business and personal brand: Flippin Board Co.
“When you just go out and skateboard, you’re just skateboarding,” Rubman said, explaining what makes land paddling unique. “You’re doing tricks or you’re riding up on things. You don’t necessarily feel any accomplishment, unless you’re a professional trying to learn more tricks. With this, it’s made for any age. Young and old (people) who are just wanting to get out there and meet people and just stay fit by just doing something different.”
Their personal product line, Flippin Board Co., features longboards, adjustable paddle sticks and clothing products of their own creation designed by local Winter Garden artist Gillian Hatcher. The longboards with Hatcher’s designs launched in mid-November on their website alongside 10 different skateboard brands. They currently do not have a storefront, but they hope to get a brick-and-mortar store in Winter Garden soon.
Until then, they rely mostly on social media, group land-paddling sessions on the West Orange Trail and word of mouth to increase their visibility — a tactic that has served them well so far. They recently caught the interest of a 55-year-old man who joins their sessions all the time, using the stick to help him balance. They’ve also received a message from a British couple interested in flying down to land paddle with them.
“It used to be just him and (me),” Houghton said. “And then our friends saw it and wanted to do it, and now there’s like 20 of us, and we just go here and there.”
The two friends enjoy the social aspect of land paddling the most, as the activity can be done in a group as a workout and turns longboarding into “fun fitness,” rather than just as a method of transportation.