Don’t really see my myself as Joe Paddler, but more as The Water Boy. Been enjoying aquatic board sports for over 40 years.
Where do you get most of your water time ?
Beautiful downtown Carolina Beach, N.C., USA. I was very lucky and grew up on Harbor Island in Wrightsville Beach.I’ve been in the waters of New Hanover county all my life. A decade of ocean rescue as well as sailing, fishing, diving and my center of my lifestyle surfing.
What SUP boards have you been riding lately?
What Prone Boards have you been riding lately?
Bark 16′ 6″ unlimited, Hobie 9′ 8″ Retro Classic, Firewire 8′ Timbertek, Zog 6′ Shortbus Superstar Mini Simmons shaped by yours truly.
What paddle do you use?
Carpal Judo Chopper mostly, and a QB Kahana 90.
Have you changed boards / paddles since you started? If so why?
More than I care to talk about. Jason Colclough and his buy or die sales tactics can be brutal. He punched me in the stomach, put me in a headlock and said “your going to buy a new board whether I liked it or not”. That old guy with the dead possum living on his face grabbed my wallet, and when I woke on the north end I had a different board : ) Getting new equipment is part of the evolution of the sport, the improvement in your abilities, and the development of your personal opinions and preferences. Riding new equipment keeps it fresh and challenging.
Where would you most like to paddle?
Sunset Beach, North Shore Oahu, Hawaii. Perfect west bowl at 6 to 8 feet. I’ve surfed it, and really think it would be a blast to paddle surf. It’s such a big playing field with some much power, a SUP would be perfect to chase peaks around and connect to sections. Really want to surf the reef at the north end of Playa Carmen, Costa Rica to.
Best piece of paddling advice you’ve received?
I quoted him recently him recently, as I have raced a lot in 2015 and this one always sticks in my head. Larry Cain said ” remember if you’re hurting, they’re hurting”. I thought this was an incredibly profound statement, as so much of racing is mental and Larry is as tough as they come.
Weirdest thing that ever happened to you while paddling?
Met Dwight Fisher
Have you ever been injured and what was that like ? How long did it take you to recover and how how you feel now?
Well that’s a good question, where do I start. I have a lot of injuries from mdle beery aquatic endeavors, but an accident in 2014 has really changed my paddling since. I was involved in an ambulance mishap in July of 2014, which landed several days in the hospital and a few hours under the knife.The injuries to my back, leg, and hip dictated that I change things up for awhile. I was unable to bend, twist, or really tolerate the force that pulling on a paddle places on the body. So that lead me to a prone paddle board. With a ton of support from Jason Colclough at Carolina Paddleboard Company, and Joe Bark I landed on Joe’s board from the previous Carolina Cup and the rehab began.I was released to get back in the water a couple weeks before this years Carolina Cup and have been loving it ever since. I have been surfing for over 40 years, so prone was as natural as walking and really enjoyable. I have been slowly getting back on a stand up, and just in time for the lower water temps.
I have definitely wrestled with SUP in the surf, and when you add in a paddle it can equal pain. Last good tustle I had with a board I was surfing dredging Sun Skipper and I got rolled with the board and had the fin break off on my hip. Hurt so dang bad I yelled underwater and came up seeing stars and tears a flowing. Here’s a few shots of the aftermath.
Favorite race / long haul nutrition?
Hammer Nutrition HEED, Race Caps and Gels.I have learned a lot with Hammer’s nutritional strategy, and its really helped my training and recovery.
Goals for 2016?
OH NO YOU DIDN’ T! My goal for 2016 is to beat John Beausang!!! Then I’m going to wait for him at the finish line and hit him with a Bobby Bushay tackle for heckling and shaming me on the race course, only to watch me try to paddle faster and blow up ! Cause Mama said ” it’s not nice to tease a slower paddler “. : ) Hopefully with a little luck prone race the Graveyard, Cape to Cape Crossing, and Chattajack . Surf my ass off and travel. Maybe even train a little with the Mullet himself. : ) (That’s funny Andy! Keep training! And I never heckled you, that was encouragement misconstrued as heckling. I don’t heckle. —JB)
Favorite post paddle beer and food?
Oh that’s easy, Cold ‘n Free Beer and a Pacifica wrap from Epic Food Co.!!!!
Your favorite non paddle thing to do?
Spend time and travel with my girls. My beautiful wife Melissa, and our dog child Sophie.
Where were you born and where do you live now?
Wilmington, Carolina Beach
What is your occupation?
E.M.T., Extreme Meat Trucker. They let me drive the ambulance for hair on fire emergencies. I love it, Hollering encouragement to the patients, “no John don’t go into the light”, I’m pretty sure the bleeding and seizures mean your still alive”, “don’t be a quitter we’ve been doing CPR on ya for an hour, and missed lunch”..I’m a Field Operations Paramedic for New Hanover Regional Emergency Medical Services in Wilmington, N.C.
Who do you paddle with most often?
What piece of paddle gear do you wish someone would invent?
Aerosol Spray – Crowd Be Gone & Kook Killer
Whats your biggest challenge with paddling?
Injuries for sure. I’m in a ton of pain as I’m writing this. Seeing a neurologist on Monday to address severe nerve damage, pain and neuropathy in my left lower leg. We’ll keep on trying and training,as it surely won’t keep me out of the water !
What is your proudest moment in a race or event?
Taking 3rd. place in the prone division of the 2015 Carolina Cup Money Island race. I had only been released for a few weeks from recovering from the accident in July. I was so excited just to participate.The start line with that many people was chaotic and electric, and the race was awesome. I know those waters well, after a crappy start I settled in and really enjoyed the energy of the competition.
Tell us about the best friends you’ve made through paddling?
There are to many to list but here are a few I love to get on the water with, Jason Colclough, Ann Lyons, Trey Womble, Chandler Bold, Erik Bigby, Bailey Webb, Melissa Herzog, Jeremy Whitted, John Beausang, Barry Anna & Jenn Blackburn (we dry land train and skate together), Haywood Newkirk, Heather Frogge, Mark Wiseman, Katie Elzer-Peters, William Pope, Chris Hill and Joe Bark.
What’s your best travel tip?
The Old 6 P’s, Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance
Ask a question you want the Mullet Nation to answer.
I really like the columns on the mullet lately about recognizing all divisions at races. So how could we better do this ? Less divisions, different type of awards instead of trophies, higher entry fee’s , do away with food and concentrate on awards? There is a lot of directions this could go, as people train hard and want to get recognized even if there are 2 or 3 people in their class. How can we do this better and preserve our sport?