Tell Your Tale with Ryan Bonhag

Here at NIXY we love seeing our amazing customers enjoying their inflatable paddle boards cruising through the lakes, rivers, and oceans of the world. "Tell your Tale" is where we share their amazing stories with you, hoping to inspire and learn from these amazing adventurers. Our new "Tale" features Ryan Bonhag and his fantastic paddling adventures with his NIXY Newport iSUP. We hope you enjoy what he has to say as much as we did!

NIXY: When did you start Paddle boarding? What motivated you to get involved with this sport?

Ryan: I started paddle boarding nearly 6 years ago when I first moved to Florida Keys. A friend of mine introduced me and I instantly fell in love. I have always enjoyed kayaking but quickly came to realize how much more one can see from the standing position a paddle board offers. My passion really grew when I got my first NIXY iSUP while living in St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands. The ability to explore places I was never able to reach before all while having fun and staying healthy was what truly motivated me. Now, I paddle as much as I can because the motivation has been instilled in me.

NIXY: Why did you choose a NIXY inflatable SUP? What do you like most about your board?

Ryan: I bought my NIXY iSUP after testing one and experiencing how incredible they were. This board inflates very easily and is convenient. I had a small car so strapping a regular board on my roof was not ideal which is part of the reason I chose this board. The convenience of this paddle board allowed me to take it almost anywhere I wanted. I was impressed with how sturdy and well made they were. I used to think that inflatable paddle boards had inner tubes and floats away so I could not quite figure out how it was possible to stand on one. This board proved otherwise because it keeps me well balanced and stays strong throughout my ride. I love the fact that I can deflate my board, take it across the island to the beach, pump it up and begin paddling again in less than 15 minutes.

NIXY: What activities do you enjoy with your board?

Ryan: I mainly use my paddle board to explore. I love to use the bungee system to place my mask and fins so that I can paddle until I find a place I want to jump into and explore. Another favorite of mine is sitting still watching the sunset as the waves move through. There is a perfect spot right out of my canal to drift around while the sun sets that is beautiful. More recently, I have been doing a lot of fishing off my board. I place a few small attachments on the front of my board to hold my rod, pliers, and a few other necessary items to go fishing. I love being able to go out to catch some fresh dinner from my iSUP.

NIXY: What are your thoughts of paddle boarding being used as a Social Distancing tool?

Ryan: I think paddle boarding is a great social distancing tool and a tool I have been taking advantage of! They may be able to shut everything else down, but they cannot shut down the ocean. My friends and I have been paddling together often during this time and it is awesome. We are still being safe and distancing ourselves during this activity but do not feel so lonely in doing so. A lot of people out of work this time may succumb to sitting around on the couch all day but I urge everyone to get outside, enjoy nature, and keep paddling!

NIXY: What do you like the most about paddle boarding? Do you have a paddling community where you live?

Ryan: I like that paddle boardng gives one a perspective of standing on water. As a dive instructor for the last 6 years, I have spent most of my time underwater. I now love being able to view the ocean and wildlife underwater from a bird’s eye view. It gives me the opportunity to see things I was never able to from kayaking or snorkeling. I also love where my paddle board has taken me. I have explored places inaccessible by boat or other means of transportation due to narrow passageways or shallow water. Most of my friends here in the Keys are still avid kayakers but I am doing my best to get them to convert! One of my friend live streams the sunset every night while we are out on the water and it is amazing. You can watch them with us by following Southernmost Sunset on Facebook.

NIXY: What piece of advice would you give to someone who is starting out on paddle boarding? Any tips? What factors should they consider when selecting a board?

Ryan: One piece of advice I would like to offer to those beginning their journey is to not be afraid of falling off your paddle board. Get comfortable with your board, figure out where you want to stand on the board and start off nice and easy. Push the limits. Fall a lot. It makes the adventure that much more fun! I also encourage people to start on their knees then ease into standing once you have gained the stability and confidence. The biggest help for newcomers will be a sturdy board, so I would suggest the NIXY Venice. It is a long and wide board which will give you the stability to easily learn how to maneuver. I also believe the fins play a big part in stability and recommend a board with 3 fins.


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