Days after her mother succumbed to liver cancer 10 years ago, Juliet Urushima found something that immediately changed her life.
It was an advertisement to paddle board in Austin. She immediately knew she had to give it a try so she drove from her home in San Antonio.
“There was something about being on the water my first time standing on the board finding my balance, tears running down my face and realizing ‘It’s not going to be easy but I’m going to be OK,’” she recalls.
Nine months later, she entered and won her first competitive recreational race and traveled the U.S. for others. After moving to Highland Village in 2015 she decided to turn her passion into a teaching and rental business called Bluet SUP (Stand Up Paddle Boarding).
After one summer working out of her garage, the City of Highland Village approved her proposal to put a trailer at Pilot Knoll Park on Lake Lewisville. She later added another trailer and they are parked in the day use area where she believes she operates the only woman-owned paddle boarding business in the DFW area.
“When I first started I was happy if I got three customers in a day. I could make payroll,” she said. “Last year, we had 30-40 people paddle boarding. It was my dream come true because there was not a paddle boarding community here and now we have a community right here in Highland Village.”
She named it Bluet after the blue dragonflies that surrounded her in Austin.
“When you look up the meaning of dragonfly it means change, new beginnings, transformation, adaptability, living with no regrets,” she said. “I honestly feel it was a gift from my mom.”
Bluet SUP features rentals, individual lessons, small group classes, trips and special events. In addition to paddle boarding, it includes Sup Pilates/Yoga and, new this year, kayaking. Urushima partners with Chef Michael Scott from The Bartonville Store to pair lakeside cuisine for social and on-water gatherings.
Her primary season runs May through September with online reservations recommended, especially on weekends.
“I’m rewarded when I see my customers go out for the first time and enjoy the free feeling that paddle boarding can give you, just I like did 10 years ago,” Urushima said.
To learn more, visit her website at bluetsup.com.