Stand up guy expands Souris paddle board business
The first time Matthew Doiron stepped on a stand-up paddle board he said he knew it was going to change his life.
“I had goosebumps; it was a Eureka moment,” the 35-year-old owner of East Coast Paddle Adventures said. “That day, I thought ‘I’m going to share this with as many people as I can.”
Doiron, a Culinary Institute of Canada graduate who has spent two decades working in kitchens, says it was time for a change. He has an intense love of nature and being outdoors, especially in Eastern PEI.
In 2016, shortly after his first stand-up paddleboard experience, Matthew invested in some boards and started his own outdoor sporting equipment rental business at Basin Head Provincial Park in Souris, PEI.
“The first season it was just me and a dozen boards in a pickup truck,” he said with a laugh. “The second season the town of Souris approached me and I got my own paddle shack on Souris Beach at Gateway Park.
"It was a home base and it was awesome. My business doubled in its second season.”
The growth led to Doiron hiring a couple of summer students. Last year, through support from the province’s Small Business Investment Grant, he was able to expand his fleet of boards and purchase six kayaks as well.
Matthew estimates he’s served more than 2000 customers since he started his business. He rents boards for $20 per hour and includes a life jacket and a quick lesson to get folks started.
“I haven’t had a customer yet who hasn’t enjoyed themselves. From age four to 74, as long as you’re willing to have fun and not afraid to get wet, you can do it.”
Doiron’s goal is to keep growing his business and buy a home in Eastern PEI.
“I just want to be home. I love PEI.”