Get fit this spring with paddleboarding

Folsom Lake Entertainer
By: Laura Newell, Of the Telegraph
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What: Mello Marine
Where: 11355 Folsom Blvd., Rancho Cordova
Hours of operation: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., 7 days a week,
available anytime by appointment
Phone: (916) 635-2628


Stand-up paddleboards can provide fun and exercise to water sport enthusiasts of all ages.

This unique water sport uses a board with a foam core and a fiberglass shell, similar to an extra long surfboard. Stand-up paddleboard paddlers stand up on their board and are propelled across the top of the water by the use of a long single-bladed paddle.

“What’s neat about paddling is its like walking or running, anyone can get on a board and paddle,” said Sally Mello, paddleboarder and co-owner of Mello Marine in Rancho Cordova. “There are levels for everyone from slow to fast.”

Mello, who owns Mello Marine with her husband Mike, said the activity will work the paddler’s core while also working other hidden muscles.

Paddlers are consistently working to stabilize themselves on the board while gliding across the water.

“You don’t know the full workout you’re getting because you’re continuously working to stabilize yourself while standing on the unstable surface,” Mello said. “It doesn’t matter your skill level or whether you’re racing across the river or taking your time to enjoy the scenery, you are always working those muscles.”

She suggested Lake Natoma as a good paddling area. Lake Natoma is an intermediate lake along the American River located between Folsom Dam and Nimbus Dam.

“This is such a great activity for a day out on the water,” Mello said. “You can pack a lunch, paddle around and enjoy the sun.”

Paddling can also be an activity for the entire family if properly planned. One board is measured by the weight on it. So if you want to have a child or dog riding on the board while another person paddles, it’s important to have the board measured for the correct weight amount used, Mello said.

“What’s neat about our store (Mello Marine) is we have experienced educated people here who can help you to buy the best board for your needs,” Mello said. “I want to make sure that when you buy your board, you buy the right board for you.”

Mello said the popularity of paddleboarding has grown through the past few years.

“Two years ago we sold five boards and last year we sold 80,” Mello said. “This year we estimate selling 120-150 boards, so the stand-up paddleboarding sport is definitely growing in popularity.”

Mello said it’s important to remember a few things before grabbing a paddle.

“It is a foam board and can be damaged in the sun,” she said. “So keep your board in protective bags. You also don’t want to drop your board and damage the foam.”

Another key item to remember before jumping on your board is to have a life vest on board at all times.

“It’s also important to remember about water temperatures,” Mello said. “While it’s nice and sunny outside, the water can still keep very cold temperatures. Cold waters can be very extreme for your body. So always keep a life vest with you or a life leash that is connected to your board.”

Mello said board pricing starts at $880, but ranges in size and style. Board options include the surfboard style for paddling leisurely and race style boards for faster movement on the water.

Originally, Mello Marine started as Mello’s Ski Shop in San Pablo in 1969. The Mello family, avid tournament water skiers, saw a need for a professional level ski shop and started the business on family property.

As the store and the industry changed, wakeboarding became a focal point of the industry and Mello’s ski shop as well.

Mike, the oldest son, was a national champion water skier and competitor. While coaching the team in the early 90’s Mike met his wife to be, Sally while she was competing collegiately at an all- star level.

In 1994, Mike stretched his resume credits by performing as a stunt man on the Universal Studios production of Waterworld.

Continuing to work in the industry after moving to the Sacramento region in the 1990s, Mike and Sally opened Mello Marine in Rancho Cordova in December 2009.

Mello said their initial location was small and has since doubled, adding pro shop equipment and stand-up paddleboards.

Mello remains an avid stand-up paddleboarder, going out on Folsom waters daily with family members, friends, her dog or whoever’s interested.

For more information on paddleboarding and Mello Marine, call (916) 635-2628 or visit