This week we welcome Paul Garnier from Ottowa, Ontario, Canada as our Joe Paddler!
Do you want to be featured as a Distressed Mullet “Joe Paddler?” Click here to read about it and nab the questions.


1. Where do you SUP the most?

In Ottawa – Lac Deschenes, Rideau River, Rideau Canal.  In the Muskokas – Sparrow Lake.  On vacation in Hawaii – Ala Moana and Waikiki.

2012 Waikiki Paddle Festival – Duke Kahanamoku Beach


2. What board do you ride?

14’ Surftech Laird Bark Tuflite.


3. What paddle do you use?

Ke Nalu Elite Molokai & Maliko with an extended ergo T handle.


4. Have you changed boards/paddles since you started? If so, why?

My first board was a Surftech Bark Expedition.  When I took it to the 2012 Eastern Canada SUP Championship, I noticed that most of the racers had displacement hull boards.  The Expedition was a great board, but as I quickly found out that day, not for flatwater racing.  As for the paddle, I switched to the Ke Nalu as they are lightweight, have minimal flutter, and the use of hot glue makes for easy adjustability.


5. Where would you most like to SUP?

The Hawaii Kai Run would be on top of the list.


6. Best piece of SUP advice you’ve gotten?

The only way to get good in rough conditions is to paddle in rough conditions.  Which should also be followed with – know your limits.


7. Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while SUPping?

On vacation in 2011, I tried my luck at stand up surfing at Waikiki.  The conditions were pretty messy for most of the week.  Between stalling, pearling, getting tossed off the board and trying to paddle through the white water, I spent more time in the water than on the board.  On the day I was leaving, I rented a board for one last try.  I had some success, but the waves were not that big.  And then it happened, I finally caught a wave and was going with some speed. As the wave started to die a bit, I saw this large circular object cross my path, under my board.  My fin hit what I assume was a sea turtle and I was airborne.  Somehow I landed on my board, adjusted my feet, took a couple of quick strokes and continued on with the wave.  Since I knew I couldn’t top that, I returned the board.  Shortly after, a Japanese couple who witnessed this asked me where I learned to stand up paddle.  To them, in their words, “I make it look easy”.

8. Favorite SUP nutrition? (During races/ during a long haul)

Coconut water.

9: Goals for 2014

To try whitewater SUP racing at the upcoming Ultimate Stand Up Paddle Challenge, to make it to more races than last year – including at least one from the Quebec Race Series, and to get a picture of my 75 year old father on a wave on a SUP in Hawaii.

10. Favorite post-paddle nosh (snack/beer/recovery drink)

Recovery drink: a chocolate milk, chocolate protein powder, banana, veggie green, hemp seed oil smoothie.

After a very long paddle/training session:  a Halifax donair.


11. Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.

In summer – golf.  In winter – skating the 15 km on the canal that I normally paddle on in the summer.   Outside of the SUP race season – foster my love/hate relationship with home renovations.

12. Where you were born and where you live now?

Born on Cape Breton Island in Sydney, Nova Scotia.  Currently living in Ottawa, Ontario.


13. What is your occupation?

I wear many hats.  The one that says programmer is the one I wear most often.

14. Who do you SUP with most often?

When she is not teaching or instructing classes, Harmony from Urban Ocean.  At various SUP socials… Tara, Louise, Kaylah & Renaud.  At Tuesday night races at the Rideau Canoe Club… Brent, Lee, Laura, Alisa, Dusan & Tonya.  At their cottage on Sparrow Lake… John & Cynthia.


15. What piece of SUP gear do you wish someone would invent?

An inexpensive SUPerg for the winter.  Something like the SkiErg with an adjustable height pulley system.

16. What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?


There’s a few:  As a flatwater paddler – ocean waves/swells.  Being 6’ 2” – headwinds.  Living in a northern climate – the winter layoff and extending my season in hypothermic water.  But the biggest challenge of them all… finding that perfect board.

Cold water SUP – 7mil boots, 5mil gloves, dry suit, a few thermal layers and a toque to enforce the Canadian stereotype.


17. What is your proudest moment in a SUP race or event?

With the help of my teammates Del, Jared and Scott, finishing in first place in the team relay race of the inaugural Canada Cup Sup Race in 2012 – beating out Larry Cain’s team and Danny Ching’s team.  I was given the lead for the third lap and handed the lead over to our anchor for the win.  This was only time I ever led the pack in any race, and probably the last time that I ever will.  I should have retired from racing then.


Leading the pack in the team relay of the 2012 Canada Cup Sup Race. Photo credit to Northern SUP – Barrie.

18. Tell us about the best friend(s) you made through SUP.

My best SUP friend is my first SUP friend, the person I paddle with most often: Harmony Dawn.  It’s interesting watching her grow her SUP business, Urban Ocean, in a region where the SUP uptake has been slow and where the canoe and kayak is still king – but she and a few others are determined to change that.  As I am getting older, and she is getting faster, I’m not looking forward to the day she beats me in a race.  I’ll probably have to take one her SUP yoga classes as punishment if she does.

Also in racing, there’s a camaraderie that exists between those you race against often and finish within a few board lengths of you – the difference in who beats whom depends on who has “it” for the day.  Lee and Laura… looking forward the upcoming race season to see who has “it” on Tuesday nights or on the Ontario Race Series circuit.

19. What’s your best SUP travel tip?

Having experienced a catastrophic failure of my roof rack with my SUP on top – if you plan on driving a significant distance on the highway with your SUP, consider putting a strap over it and through the car or use front and back tie downs.

20. Ask a question that you want SUP Community (world wide) to answer  

Most people enjoy the stoke they get from SUP.  But as one tries to increase his or her skill, it usually involves taking a few steps backwards in order to move forward.  For me, one of my most humbling SUP experiences was my only attempt at the Hawaii Kai Run.  That morning, the winds were howling – perfect for the Pros but not for the first time Joes.  The first mile out, I was blown off and knocked off my board numerous times.  I knew I was reaching the point of no return and told the trailing members of the group who were waiting for me that the conditions were beyond my skill level.  At that point, I had to eat a big slice of humble pie as I knee-paddled into the wind, back to Hawaii Kai.

So my question to the SUP community is… What’s your most humbling SUP experience

From the Cold North!