Paddleboarding is therapeutic for one local group

Mary Ann Stisher teaching standup paddleboarding (Rebecca Lamb/WCIV)

By Sonya

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Stand up paddleboarding has become very popular here in the Lowcountry over the past couple of years. But for one group of young adults, it's a fairly new experience that teaches them more than paddleboarding.

"We are out here with Island Paddle Adventures to do standup paddleboarding with our individuals that we work with, young adults who have intellectual and developmental challenges," said Kimberly Wheat, educational consultant.

Kimberly Wheat and Katherine Good mentor these young adults and take them on various activities.

"Anything that is fun, can be a bonding experience that you would do with your peers between the age of 21 and 25, that's what our goal is," said Katherine Good, educational consultant.

And they added paddleboarding to their list of activities thanks to the help of Mary Ann Stisher, who owns Island Paddle Adventure.

"My brother has Aspergers and I decided, they have these community events, and I decided it would be the perfect opportunity for them because it works on balance and coordination, gets them on the water and it's something fun to do and it gives them self confidence," said Mary Ann Stisher, owner of Island Paddle Adventure.

And the guys definitely seemed to have a good time this afternoon.

"I thought it was pretty nice," said Donald Bailey, who was out on the water paddleboarding today. "I knew how to keep myself balanced while I was being on my knees and standing up."

"It's relaxing, when you go out you don't have to paddle, the wake can take you when it's windy day and if it is, you actually have to work for it, so it kind of works on both ends," said James Richardson, who has paddleboarded several times.

Stisher, who is James' sister, hopes that the program will continue to grow.

"I'm testing the waters, and I hope to do it with autistic children and they just made standup paddleboarding a sanctioned sport in the Special Olympics, so I want to volunteer my time working with those athletes as well," said Stisher.

For more information on Island Paddle Adventure, click here.

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