Entrepreneur Profile: Brandon Frey and Palli Paddle Boards Powell River

Summer seems to have finally come to the upper Sunshine Coast, and for Brandon Frey, June was the perfect time to launch his new business, Palli Paddle Boards Powell River.

“I got into stand-up paddle boarding a few years ago, and just fell in love with the sport,” said Frey. “It’s very accessible; you can be ten years old or ninety years old, and as long as you have the balance for it, you can hop on a board and go. It allows you to explore and see things from a different perspective, being on the water, and it’s also a way to spend time with family and friends that is COVID-friendly, since you’re at least ten feet from each other when you’re on the boards.”

ep-palli-2


Frey is a part-time paramedic based in Powell River. Originally from Ontario, he moved to BC in 2014 to attend school. “My first trip to BC was in 2008 to visit friends in Prince George, and I drove out here with my dog,” he said. “It was my first taste of what BC has to offer. The only comparison in Ontario is the Muskokas, but all of BC is like the Muskokas. You can get on the water, go for a hike, or climb a mountain just about anytime anywhere in BC, and that was a huge draw for me. I like to spend my downtime outdoors, and doing that is so easy in BC.”

After graduating, Frey was stationed in Ucluelet before transferring to Powell River. “Like many people, I came to Powell River for a visit and just fell for the place,” he said. “The city has so much to offer in terms of outdoor experiences and adventures, and the people here are just wonderful.”


Frey came to entrepreneurship this year for a few reasons. “I was looking for something to do in my downtime, certainly, but I also really just wanted to share my love of the outdoors,” he said. “For me, it was a mix of ‘how do I spend more time outside,’ and ‘how do I help other people spend more time outside’ that led me to becoming the first franchise owner/operator of Palli Paddle Boards.”

Palli Paddle Boards is a board manufacturer and rental company in Victoria. Rentals are done online through their website, www.pallipaddle.com. “We’re basically the Uber of paddle boards,” said Frey. “You pick your time, duration, and location (we drop off at Willingdon Beach, Mowat Bay, Second Beach, Haslam Lake, Myrtle Rocks, Brew Bay, Palm Beach, Lois Lake, and Duck Lake right now), and when you get there, we’ll have all your gear ready for your adventure. Each rental includes the board, paddle, PFD, and leash, as well as a drybag and a waterproof phone case.”

ep-palli-4


Frey is also a certified paddle board instructor. “I am able to provide lessons and mini-tours in addition to the paddle board rental,” he said. “I will teach you how to properly paddle and stand up on the board, and then the next time you book with us, you can just head out and do your tour.”

Because Palli Paddle Boards is also a manufacturer, Frey can help people buy their own gear if they fall in love with the sport. “The great thing about a board rental service is that it removes a lot of barriers for people who just want to try it out,” he said. “You don’t need to borrow a paddle board from a friend or buy one and find storage for all your gear, and you don’t need to load boards on your car and prepare everything, because we do that for you. You show up, your boards are there, you go on your adventure, and when you come back, you don’t have to worry about a thing. And if you do love the sport, you can buy the same type of board you rented.”

ep-palli-5


While the tourist market is important for Frey’s business, he believes the residents of Powell River will be a big part of his success. “I think lots of people have been stuck inside for the last 18 months or so, and this is an easy and inexpensive way to get out and access all the beautiful things in our own backyard, or experience some familiar places like Willingdon Beach but from a very different perspective. It’s a way to destress, kind of like forest bathing but on the water, and it’s also a way to reconnect with neighbours and friends. I really think Powell River will embrace this style of outdoor adventure.”

To learn more about Palli Paddle Boards Powell River, visit their website at www.pallipaddle.com (choose Powell River as your location in the top menu), or email Frey at brandon@pallipaddle.com. You can also follow his adventures on Instagram at instagram.com/pallipaddlepowellriver.