It’s a story everyone can relate to: attending school for years, paying thousands of dollars for a Bachelors Degree, then several thousand more for a Masters. Signing away all of your hopes and dreams to work for whichever nondescript corporation offers the highest paycheck. Of course it sounds glamorous at first; a contract with potential bonuses, savings plans, and benefits. It feels like all the hard work and money was worthwhile and everyone is so proud of your accomplishments.
Then reality sets in… Day after monotonous day in an office cubical you crunch numbers under fluorescent lighting and white walls as you sit next to Bob, or is it Rob? It doesn’t even matter; it’s not like a corporate office job allows for any freedom of expression. Is the pinnacle of life really be a 401k and dental insurance? It certainly wasn’t for Burton Swain.
Swain, a graduate of UNC Wilmington moved to Charleston, SC six years ago for a logistics job right out of school. After a few too many years being unhappily employed and left feeling unfulfilled from his work environment, he decided it was time for a change.
“I was working seven to seven, six days a week and I was completely miserable doing it. I kind of had this epiphany. I deiced to quit and spend a few months back packing around Europe rediscovering what was important to me.”
While traveling abroad, he started trying to identify what in life was most important to him and how to create a life with happiness as the center. Going to school in Wilmington, Burton was always drawn to the Charleston for it’s similar laid back feel and close proximity to the ocean.
An idea struck him in Interlaken, Switzerland during a day of whitewater rafting through the Alps. His favorite memories were always on the water, “whether it was wake boarding, surfing, kayaking, or skirfing. I spent most of my time with my friends outside on a boat.”
That was essentially how Swain’s idea for a mobile standup paddle board company, Chuck SUP, was born!
“My business partner and friend from college has a very similar company in Wilmington. His idea combined with my own passions inspired me to create a like minded business in Charleston.”
There are many SUP companies already in the area, but Burton’s offers a level of accommodation to tourists that has yet to be utilized. Instead of having the paddle board company be the destination, Chuck SUP brings the paddle boards to the customers. Travelers on vacation can call the company and have the boards delivered to their house, the ocean, or an area on the marshes they want to explore. Customers may keep the boards for a few hours or for the entire week if they are vacationing for an extended period of time. Burton offers lessons to those who are new to the SUP game as well as guided tours.
The company is driven by Burton, seven paddle boards, and a dream with ambitions to grow and thrive further in this community. Swain with his calm, cool, laid back, persona makes him the ideal paddle-boarding guide. Whether you’re up for some exciting dolphin watching or just want to take in the calming sights around the ocean, Burton’s got you covered.
Swain says that he’s happier now that he’s working closer to nature and more often on the water doing what he is passionate about. “Although it’s a seasonal job, I think this is a step in the right direction for me.”
We live in a society of pressures to follow a fiscally stable path and often lose sight of our true passions. Burton Swain has taken a tremendous risk to pursue a level of happiness that carries on to his customers and into the Charleston community.