PADL catches growth wave, dominating Florida’s paddleboard market with plans for expansion
Is there any better antidote to a day spent toiling in an ice-cold building or holed up in your home office than a calm ride on a paddleboard? Many of paddleboard rental startup PADL’s 10,000+ riders must think so.
The Miami-based startup reports year-over-year revenue growth of 300%. They expect to grow a further 1,000% this year.
Last year, their riders spent a cumulative 5,500 hours on the water using PADL’s service across 4,600 individual rides. These users paddled over 4,500 miles – the distance between Miami and West Africa.
“In the next four months alone, we’re opening another 30 locations,” PADL’s CEO Andres Avello told Refresh Miami. That will increase the startup’s footprint by two and a half times. This plan comes on the heels of PADL’s rapid expansion in 2021: 22 new locations in 17 cities in Florida.
Through PADL’s app, users can rent paddle boards within a matter of minutes. PADL charges riders an average of $19 per hour for a one-time ride.
They also offer monthly and seasonal (six month) memberships at $24.99 and $99.99, respectively. The memberships get riders two hours on the open waters for free, and a reduced rate of $10 per hour after that. A new feature is that members can also rent a second, third, and fourth board at the station, billed at the discounted rate.
“Right now, we’re just laser focused on Florida,” said Avello, who co-founded the company alongside partners Felipe Jauregui and Khalil Khouri. “The key to our expansion is not opening just one location alone in one city but creating a dense population of stations.” He explained that the ability for riders to choose new locations to explore in their area is a major value add.
While around two thirds of users are repeat customers, PADL also gets a fair amount of one-time customers. PADL’s stations that are located in or near hospitality hot-spots like hotels and marinas attract a fair amount of tourists. “In terms of our customers, it’s really just anyone wanting to enjoy the outdoors,” explained Avello.
PADL is working to create a community around their service. Recently, PADL launched a monthly competition where riders compete for the most miles paddled each month. Additionally, the PADL team is launching demo days, which are events held at stations where one of their guides provides tours. PADL plans to work with local businesses to co-sponsor demo days by bringing local food and beverage options.
There is also a citizen science component to PADL’s mission. They are in the process of deploying sensors both on the boards and at the stations themselves. “We’ll be able to create an entire data profile around each location on climate and current conditions,” said Avello. The PADL team is currently in talks with various municipalities and other groups that are interested in this data.
But for now, Avello has his sights set on creating more stations. He acknowledged that the increased demand for boards has put a strain on service – particularly on days when the water is crisp and calm. “On those days, we’ve found that Key Biscayne had a three-hour waitlist just to get a board,” Avello said. “There was a constant turnaround, and it was unbelievable.”
“It’s a good problem to have,” underscored Avello, noting that they are working on adding more stations at their most popular locations.
PADL, which currently has five full-time employees and another five contractors and part-time employees, has expressed interest in expanding beyond paddle boards in the future. Avello signaled that they will be adding kayaks this year, as well as exploring different avenues for recreational bikes and scooters.
He also told Refresh Miami that the company will be launching an NFT that will be integrated into the app and unlock access to a lifetime membership – but further details are still under wraps.
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