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Meet Jane Paddler: Kim Nalepinski from the US Virgin Islands

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WHERE WERE YOU WERE BORN AND WHERE YOU LIVE NOW?

I was born in Queens, NY, grew up on the East End of Long Island and now live on St. John  in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?

I’m the store manager at the island’s Veterinarian Clinic. We also work closely with our island’s animal rescue, Animal Care Center of St. John.

WHERE DO YOU SUP THE MOST?

The bays of Hurricane Hole, on my side of the island, Coral Bay.

USVI

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCAL PADDLE SHOP?

We don’t have any in the Virgin Islands but back on Long Island I have two. One Love Beach in Greenport is owned by my dear friend of 30 years, Chris Dowling. I got to be part of team One Love Beach at the Great Peconic Race this past September. We represented for 100/100 as well. So fun! Secondly, South Shore Paddleboards. I got to meet Karen Vacccaro Marvin at the Great Peconic Race as well. She is welcoming and generous and I can’t wait to visit her shop someday soon!

WHAT PADDLEBOARD, SURFSKI OR OC DO YOU RIDE MOST?

I have BOGA Tsunami Race 12’6 Team board.

DO YOU OWN ANY OTHER PADDLEBOARDS, SURFSKIS OR OCS AND WHAT KIND?

I have a Starboard Astro 12’6 inflatable. I’d love a non-inflatable Starboard. I found out I’m a little too rough for inflatables! 🙂

WHAT PADDLE DO YOU USE?

I have an awesome Werner Grand Prix small fit paddle. My hands get less fatigued with the smaller handle and shaft.

HAVE YOU CHANGED BOARDS/PADDLES SINCE YOU STARTED? IF SO, WHY?

My first board was a Michael Dolsey E-Z Wider. I called her Big Blue. She was so wide I couldnt get my arm around to carry her. I wish I still had her for friends to ride. My first paddle was a Kialoa. Never found out the style name, but it’s a great paddle. If they had come out with a small fit first, I would’ve snatched one up!

WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SUP?

Maybe I should say Fiji, Hawaii, or Australia.  Really I would love to spend a few months back home on Long Island discovering all the places I missed out on growning up without SUP.

BEST PIECE OF SUP ADVICE YOU’VE GOTTEN?

From my dear friend Evelyn O’Doherty who put me on her board at Ditch Plains 5 1/2 years ago, “The best surfer out there is the one having the most fun.” Recently, Suzie Cooney gave me some advice and encouragement online about distance training. The SUP community is so inclusive and generous with their time and words!

WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR THIS YEAR?

So this year I placed 2nd in my division at our St. John race, Paddle the Park. I was proud to beat my time from last year by 30 minutes! In this year’s Painkiller Cup in the BVI I’d like to beat my time by last year as well. I really want to do Chattajack in October. I have foot and hip mobility issues that I need to work on and strengthen to be able to even stand for that length of time and no one to coach me in person, but if it’s meant to be, the teachers will come! I got my first 100/100 challege and sticker (woo hoo) under my belt this past November and now participating in the 2016 challenge. Julia Nicholls I want that badass sticker! Another huge goal for 2016 is to create a SUP event out in Coral Bay on St. John to benefit the Animal Care Center. My Banksy pup is a rescue and she loves to paddle with me! I wanna give back to the community I love.

WEIRDEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE SUPPING?

Johnny Depp’s boat was cruising next to me while I was doing the Painkiller Cup in the BVI’s last January. He was knocking me off my board with his wake!

FAVORITE SUP NUTRITION?

Water! I’m just starting to do more distance and have been researching hydration and fuel. I’m ordering some Tailwind Endurance Fuel and PocketFuel Nut Butter blends. I have a sensitive system, so no fake ingredients for me!

FAVORITE POST-PADDLE NOSH (SNACK/BEER/RECOVERY DRINK)

TACOS!!! Coffee. Water. I’m always thirsty.

YOUR FAVORITE NON-PADDLE THING TO DO?

Sail or snuggle with my pup and my guy.

WHAT PIECE OF SUP GEAR DO YOU WISH SOMEONE WOULD INVENT?

I just got a Speedcoach so I’m loving that. I also got a Vest Pac hydration vest. I wish Vest Pac would make a huge pack with a long hose so I could rest the pack on my board and drink water all day.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH SUP?

Knowing my board is faster than me and that I need to grow into it’s power. Getting back on the board after falling off in a race. Keeping “Beginner Mind” in play as I learn and grow as a paddler and as a woman. I’m not a pro, I don’t have lots of time under my belt. What I do have is STOKE! And courage to do things I’m afraid of.

WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN A SUP RACE OR EVENT?

Doing the Painkiller Cup last year with my boss and friends cheering me on from their chase boat was amazing! They bought me a virgin Painkiller drink afterwards on Jost Van Dyke and Samata Magazine took a picture of all the women racers and published it a few months later. (I’m one of those “Women Who Race!”) The other moment was getting 2nd place in Paddle the Park. I got to stand next to my friend and SUP heroine Jude Woodcock and received a plaque with a hand blown glass sea turtle. So cool.

Painkiller Cup

TELL US ABOUT THE BEST FRIEND(S) YOU MADE THROUGH SUP.

Some I already had like Chris Dowling, Evelyn O’Doherty, Thais Taylor, Jude Woodock and Jeff Miller, Jorge and Monika. People I’ve met at races or online are too many to mention. But a few: Julia Nichols, Alison Follenious, Karen V. Marvin, Roxane Robinson, Alexa Suess, even John Beausang! Everyone in 100/100 group and SUP Hampton. When you comment on a picture, or on a tough day on the sea it warms my heart and makes me feel “a part of.” Mostly when I’m out there alone on the water, I get to make best friends with myself.

kim5

WHAT’S YOUR BEST SUP TRAVEL TIP?

Bring mustard packs, haha! Find out in advance what gear is available where you’re going. Be prepared to use a jenky adjustable paddle or a board that’s big and clunky. Bring things that can fit in a suitcase and make you more comfortable. Favorite hat, hydration pack that doesn’t chafe, GPS, app or Speedcoach, Clif protein bars, instant coffee.

Kim Nalepinski

 

 

 

Lisa
Lisa is managing editor of PaddleMonster.com and is an avid paddler of all the things - including sup, SurfSki, outrigger canoe and prone, though she especially enjoys paddle surfing and downwinding. She is a former journalist with more than 30 years experience in print and broadcast journalism and in government communications. She is a six-time Chattajack finisher, racing both sup and OC2. When not paddling, she is an outdoor instructor.

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