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Tower Paddle Boards Preview

Tower Paddle Boards on Shark TankTower Paddle Boards founder Stephan Aarstol may already be swimming with sharks as he paddles around on one of his paddle boards near his retail shop in San Diego, but not the kind of sharks that are in the Shark Tank.  Stephan Aarstol opened Tower Paddle Boards in 2010 due to his keen observation that “Paddle boards” and related key words were getting a lot of search engine traffic. The growing phenomena hadn’t made a big splash in San Diego yet, so Stephan Aarstol sensed a good opportunity to open an online business.

Earlier this century, Stephan Aarstol capitalized on the Poker fad by starting Sidepot Gaming Company. He formed the business because he wanted to sell high end poker chips for home use to folks who were searching for them in droves online. In the best year, he sold over half a million poker chips online and he claims Sidepot controls between 25 and 30 percent of the worldwide market in high-end poker chips. That’s some pretty good online marketing credentials.

Tower Paddle Boards Gets a Start

Tower Paddle Boards got started to bring quality paddle boards and accessories to consumers direct, which saves distribution costs for the supplier and cold hard cash for folks who want to buy.  While initially the company only distributed products made by other manufacturers, they have begun designing and selling their own brand of gear as well. Based on Stephen Aarstol’s background and on the success of this business, I don’t see why he needs the Sharks at all.

Then I dug a little deeper. In the press release for this weeks’ show, it states he’s looking to fund “his unique sales distribution method for his stand-up paddle board company,” not the company itself. This should make for some interesting discussion. Will it be a licensing deal a la TEC? If it is, we could see a rehash of the whole patenting/licensing discussion along with the “why can’t we buy into the real business”-type exchanges.

Given that Robert Herjavec, Kevin O’Leary and Mark Cuban all have pretty solid tech backgrounds and Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran have well built out networks themselves, I can’t see the Sharks buying into a “unique method.” Not to disparage Stephan Aarstol’s accomplishments or talents, but there really is nothing unique about capitalizing on highly searched terms- heck we do it right here on The Shark Tank Blog!

While I certainly am impressed with Stephan Aarstol’s accomplishments and his business success, I don’t think the Sharks will bite unless they get a chunk of the retail business.

About Rob Merlino

Entrepreneur, auteur, raconteur. Rob Merlino is a blogger and writer who enjoys the Shark Tank TV show and Hot Dogs. A father of five who freelances in a variety of publications, Rob has a stable of websites including Shark Tank Blog, Hot Dog Stories, Rob and more.


  1. Jodi Caplan says

    “Stephan Aarstol opened Tower Paddle Boards in 2010 due to his keen observation that “Paddle boards” and related key words were getting a lot of search engine traffic.”

    Ughhhhh….. Really? I never would’ve guessed… Based on the gross marketing strategy he chose, I would’ve assumed he is a surfer/SUPer ocean lover who KNOWS that women spend as much time and money on SUPs as men…. duh.
    Whoever does the marketing for Tower should be thrown in the chum bucket on whatever stupid show they got themselves on.
    They just turned the clock (and potential sales) back on themselves. They should realize that women who do this sport do it because they are strong and adventurous. Not a bunch of bimbos hanging out on yachts, waiting for sugar daddy to get home.
    Women buy boards for themselves. They aren’t going to buy a board because it’s advertised by a bunch of girls sitting on a beach in stupid outfits doing nothing that requires strength or brain power.
    They are going to buy boards because they see strong, beautiful, hard working women like Candice Appleby, Suzie Cooney and Nikki Gregg riding boards like Naish that promote women in the sport.
    Never buying Tower. Never recommending Tower. Hope the sharks enjoy the party.

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