Trey Rouss describes himself as being "pretty miserable" when he first moved to Lansing from Arizona 14 years ago.
"I missed the mountains and the ocean," says Rouss. "But once I discovered the Great Lakes, rivers and inland lakes and how water works here, I embraced it."
Rouss took to the water as an avid kayaker and became an immediate ambassador for paddle sports. Today, he's making a splash as Lansing's newest purveyor of paddle sports gear and instruction as the owner of the Power of Water Kayak store.
Rouss opened in early spring, and invited the public to fours days of paddle sports activities and demonstrations during a grand opening from April 24 to 27. His goal, he says, is broader than simply equipping people with gear and accessories; it's to equip people with the knowledge and skills they need to enjoy being on the water.
"We're focused on outreach and getting as many people as we can out on the water," says Rouss. "We want people in Lansing to see what the Grand River has to offer and to take an interest in exploring it more."
Located in a repurposed strip mall at 420 E. Saginaw, the Power of Water has access to Lansing's riverfront right out the backdoor. Rouss and his three staff decked-out the 1,300-square foot space with reclaimed barn wood for an earthy look that complements displays of nearly 20 stand-up paddle boards, 40 kayaks and gear.
Working with his director of programming Scott Fairty, Rouss offers classes for all ages and skill levels, including kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, advanced whitewater and river self-rescue.
"Our classes are focused, experiential and fun," says Rouss. "There's not a lot of talking and lectures. It's very on the water learning."
Rouss and his five to 10 instructors are certified through the American Canoe Association or the British Canoe Union. Courses run from May through October, with dry land or pool instruction offered during the off-season.
"The Grand River is an amazing resource going right through the middle of our town," says Rouss. "Our goal is to share our passion, to show people how to play on the water, and hope that will inspire people to protect it."
Source: Trey Rouss, Owner, Power of Water Kayak Store
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor