Barrie paddleboard business expanding to ‘awesome’ Innisfil location

Brent Ackland is bringing his paddleboard business to the friendly waters of Innisfil.

After four years of renting boards and giving lessons at Barrie’s Centennial Beach, Ackland is teaming up with the Town of Innisfil to expand Northern Stand Up Paddle at the Mapleview Drive beach on Lake Simcoe this month.

The location, just south of Friday Harbour, is perfect for paddleboarders, Ackland said.

“It’s an awesome spot,” Ackland said. “The water isn’t deep there and it’s sheltered from the wind and bigger waves.”

It’s also much quieter than the Centennial Beach location, which is near a popular floating water park.

Ackland said he took on the Mapleview location when he won a call for business proposals from the Town of Innisfil, which is looking to increase its waterfront activities.

The town has set up a temporary parking system for non-residents who want to rent and take lessons at Northern Stand Up Paddle. Ackland simply gives customers a parking pass when they come to paddleboard.

It’s a soft launch for this season and limited rentals will be available for most programs with a full fleet coming, available in the 2019 season.

Paddleboarding is becoming more popular; just ask any boater or beachgoer these days.

Ackland is a full-time fitness coach who uses the PaddleFit coaching and training system, which helps clients reach their fitness goals by using a paddleboard.

“Anybody can do it,” Ackland said. “We’ve even had someone on a wheelchair up on a board.”

Paddleboarding lessons are also a great way to socialize with others who are excited about the activity, Ackland said.

Ackland created Northern Stand Up Paddle in 2011.  In 2013 he partnered with PaddleFit as their Canadian affiliate.  The company offers retail sales, Jimmy Lewis Boards and Infinity SUP, lessons, and rentals for recreation paddling. 

The lessons include introduction to paddleboarding, Progressive Technique Training (SUP Club), kids standup paddling as well as community-building social paddles.

“With the potential to have standup paddling in the Olympics in the near future, offering progressive lessons is a must,” Ackland said.

When it comes to purchasing a paddleboard, there’s a wide variety. And what you buy depends on how serious you want to get about boarding.

Prices for Jimmy Lewis Boards run from about $800 to about $4,500.

“The difference is in the glide,” Ackland said. “You can go just as far with one stroke on a more expensive board as you can with four strokes on a less costly board.”

Buying a board from a retailer who is on the beach like Ackland means you can actually test different boards on the water before your purchase.

“You can’t do that from a store. Here you can actually find the board that suits you by trying it out.”

The hot weather early this summer has brought out more paddleboarders than ever and business has been booming at the Barrie location.

For more information, contact Ackland at or