Natalie Pehowich said paddle boarding provides ultimate freedom.
“You can go wherever you want. You don’t have to follow a trail or be pushed by the river,” she said.
Compared to hiking, there’s no fear of animals. There’s few bugs, lots of sunshine and a summer breeze.
“But no cougars,” she said.
Pehowich is the owner of Fine Line SUP, a paddle board sales, rentals and tours company.
Several years ago, Pehowich was diagnosed with Celiac disease, which is a serious autoimmune disease where the ingestion of gluten leads to damage in the small intestine. Even one wheat crumb can cause harm.
|Natalie Pehowich was also the coach for the Grade 8 girls basketball team last year. (Submitted)|
“I was in rough shape,” she said.
Pehowich was overwhelmed with exhaustion and felt she barely had enough energy to get through the day.
The disease also impacted her vision and caused headaches, which made it difficult talking to people.
“It really impacted my social life,” she said.
After her diagnosis, life got much better. That’s also when she discovered paddle boarding.
“It feeds my soul. It can be mellow but still provides lots of exercises,” she said.
Pehowich is one of the organizers of the Revelstoke Paddlesport Challenge, a three-day, 125-kilometre journey that follows in the wake of explorer David Thompson on the Columbia River now known as Lake Revelstoke.
No matter if there’s sunshine, rain or a typhoon, Pehowich does the race each year by paddle board.
Sports are a key part of Pehowich’s identity. “It’s who I am.”
|Each year, Natalie Pehowich helps organize and competes in the Revelstoke Padddlesport Challenge. (Submitted)|
Last year, Pehowich decided to coach the Grade 8 girls’ basketball team. She had never coached before but found the job rewarding, especially as the kids improved both physically and emotionally.
She said Grade 8 is a turning point and sports are important for developing a person as a whole.
“When I was that age, basketball kept me going to school.”
Sometimes it’s challenging balancing married life, parenting two kids, driving those kids to hockey practice and games across B.C., owning a business, coaching and going to drop-in woman’s basketball.
“She’s a super mom being able to pull it all off,” said her husband Dave.
“She’s the one that keeps our family together.”
This article was part of our women of inspiration series featuring inspiring women in Revelstoke for International Women’s Day on Mar. 6