Darren and Tori have a passion for being fit and having fun. Whether taking on the mental and physical challenges of college football or walking 40 miles in 2 days to raise awareness for breast cancer, we’ve learned that we can do anything we set our minds to.
After 12 years of living in Chicago and spending summers at their cottage in Sister Lakes, it became clear that weekends on the lake weren’t quite enough for them. They moved to Grand Haven, MI and embraced year-round beach living. Within days of moving, they quickly found their way to the local Wet Mitten Surf Shop and started acquiring their “quiver,” a collection of surf boards and Stand Up Paddleboards – anything that got them and their kids out on the water!
Knee Deep Living was born out of our passion for fun, physical fitness and being on the water. We’re stoked to share our knowledge of Stand Up Paddleboarding and the Knee Deep lifestyle of working hard so that you can play hard. We are excited to share our passion, which doesn’t end when we come in off the water. We firmly believe that no matter the situation, you can always maintain the attitude of being Knee Deep in the water. Knee Deep Living…It’s a Lifestyle.
A lifelong sports junkie, competing in everything from little league baseball to bashing gates on the slopes for the high school ski team, Darren has always held a special place in his heart for athletics. It is his outlook from the sports world that supports the “work hard, play hard” mentality. This mostly stems from Darren walking on to the University of Michigan Football team, earning a scholarship, and then going on to help lead the team to the 1997 National Championship as a Senior.
After a career ending back injury that derailed his Arena Football plans during his 5th year playing, Darren has been on a never ending quest for finding the perfect outlet for his athletic endeavors. While attempting everything from the Navy Seal Fitness Challenge to racing up 94 flights of stairs for Hustle Up The Hancock, nothing has quite stoked his fire as much as Stand Up Paddleboarding.
While he makes constant flamboyant and failed attempts at surfing in Lake Michigan, his true love is being on the paddleboard. This love has inspired him to travel to various races and fueled his journey to North Carolina. This is where he was personally taught by PaddleFit Founder and Michigan Native, Brody Welte, as well as SUP Pioneer and legendary big wave surfer, John Denney. From this weeklong journey, Darren became a WPA Certified SUP Instructor and the only PaddleFit Level 3 Certified Coach in Michigan. He is stoked to bring his experiences and knowledge to everyone in West Michigan!
Jill Of All Trades
Tori has had a lifelong love of being in and on any type of water – from childhood summers in the family pool to boating and swimming with her kids on Sister Lakes to beach vacations snorkeling and sailing in the ocean. These experiences inspired Tori to lead her family’s search for the perfect home to the beautiful lakeshore of Grand Haven, Michigan. Within weeks of moving and acquiring a stand up paddleboard, it quickly became a favorite hobby – combining all of her passions: family time, working out, and being on the water.
In 2012, Tori ventured into some local SUP race events and also dared to bring her love of beach yoga out onto the board with her. Her quest for deeper knowledge led her to an ACE certified Paddle Yoga certification through Lazy Dog, a Level 1 YogaFit certification, and Level 2 PaddleFit Coach certification. When she’s not on out on the water, she can often be found doing some sort of craft project, hiking and biking along the Lakeshore with her kids, cooking up healthy food and blogging about it, and attending classes at the local yoga studio.
Mr Fix It
If you want to know how your board is constructed, how to build a tiki hut or even how your car’s carburetor runs…Wayner is your man. As a lifelong hands on guy, Wayner has fixed everything from war vehicles in Vietnam to helping build out the Knee Deep store. While a relative newcomer to the stand up paddleboard world, he brings a unique stoke and extensive set of knowledge of life to the table. Be sure to stop in and shoot the breeze with Wayner-we promise it’ll be worth it!
Eluding Sister Lakes residents since the historic 1964 manhunt, we’re proud to announce that the infamous Sasquatch has joined the Knee Deep team! Stop into the shop for a quick photo or wave hi as he passes by in the Fourth of July Parade! Who knows…maybe you’ll see him paddling on your lake this summer! Check out Big Foot’s history in the area: