STORY DREW DODSON | PHOTOS KIMBERLEE MILLER
Meet Dennis Terenzio, or as many people know him, “The Paddle Board Guy.” Born and raised in greater Seattle, Dennis has spent most of his life on the water. Now he seeks to make a splash in the booming paddle boarding industry.
It all started with Terenzios’ profound love for sailing, bred from spending nearly two decades nestled up against the Puget Sound. His degree in industrial design from Western Washington University pried him away from the gentle serenity of Puget Sound for the hustle and bustle of New York City, where he spent two years before settling down in land-locked Idaho.
The absence of spending time on the water left a void that he struggled to fill for many years; that is, until he discovered the world of paddle boarding. “I love water because it’s such a core element,” explained Terenzio. “It represents immense beauty, power, calm and life. I know we can’t live without it, but I never would want to live without it, anyway.”
Terenzio’s industrial design background led the newfound paddle board aficionado to transform his hobby into a family business, teaming up with Latitude Sports.
“My 11-year-old twin boys and even our retriever totally love it and couldn’t be happier,” he declared, adding, “It’s an entire family business that we can all join in on.”
Terenzio’s business is revolutionizing the standup paddle board (SUP) industry through “premium products that are ultra-light.” This, he explained, is achieved through constructing SUP’s with materials like carbon fiber and thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). In addition, Terenzio’s SUP kits also include an industry-first lightweight carbon fiber paddle and 12-volt cigarette lighter plug-in pump to eliminate the nuisance of hand-pumping for 10-plus minutes in scorching summer heat.
The end result? A paddle board that’s about 46 percent (12 lbs.) lighter than the SUP industry average of 25 pounds, and more accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. “We’ve been striving to get under 15 pounds for the past year,” beamed Terenzio, adding, “We weren’t sure this was achievable, but we just recently hit the sub-14 range.”
Terenzio estimates that roughly 80 percent of those who currently paddle board are only paddling in places they can easily access via a car or rental shop. The arrival of ultra-light SUP’s to the market would expand paddle boarding’s horizons to more remote destinations that require hiking in, such as high-mountain lakes. That, in a nutshell, is Dennis’ ultimate goal.
“We want to open up the world of paddle boarding with many more and completely new opportunities,” declared Dennis.
Latitude Sports is still testing prototypes but has launched its first board to the public and aims to have multiple SUP options on the market next spring. For now, Terenzio spends his time meticulously designing and testing new prototypes.
“I go out anywhere from four to five times a week,” Terenzio revealed. “I’ve covered close to 1,000 miles paddling across hundreds of hours on the water.”
But where? Where in Idaho could one man devote so many hours to paddle boarding the same waters? “It’s a secret,” Terenzio teased.
Like with most innovations, it took an engineer to revolutionize paddle boarding and make it “more accessible to everyone.”