WHERE WERE YOU WERE BORN AND WHERE Do YOU LIVE NOW?
Milwaukee, WI and I now reside in Louisville, Kentucky
WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?
I am a freelance outdoor adventure journalist/photojournalist, and I am the Director of PR/Communications for River City Paddlesports & Riverthon, as well as The Explore Kentucky Initiative, a nonprofit organization that evolved from a social media movement I started my senior year of college to inspire people to engage in an active lifestyle fueled by adventure in Kentucky’s great outdoors.
WHERE DO YOU SUP THE MOST?
I train on the Ohio River mostly. But I also frequently paddle on the Kentucky River, Red River, Green River, and Kentucky’s Floyds Fork.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCAL PADDLE SHOP?
As SUP is a fringe sport in Kentucky at current, we do not have dedicated paddleboard shops yet. However we have several local outdoor gear retailers/ guide services that carry boards; JH Lanmark, Canoe Kentucky, Kentucky Dam Marina and Quest Outdoors.
WHAT PADDLEBOARD, SURFSKI OR OC DO YOU RIDE MOST?
Bote Board Realtree HD Edition
DO YOU OWN ANY OTHER PADDLEBOARDS, SURFSKIS OR OCS AND WHAT KIND?
I just have one board but I have access to several other via my friends. My plans are to add a Bote Darkrooom race board and Hobie or Uli inflatable for whitewater to my quiver.
WHAT PADDLE DO YOU USE?
Bote Axe carbon fiber paddle
HAVE YOU CHANGED BOARDS/PADDLES SINCE YOU STARTED? IF SO, WHY?
I started messing around with just a basic surfboard and a canoe paddle as a youth. Then I got a Liquid Shredder, sold it, and now I am rocking a with a Bote HD.
I changed boards because of the constant evolution of SUP which provides for better equipment.
WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SUP?
Someday I would love to be the first SUP over Kentucky’s Cumberland Falls aka the Niagara of the South, and stick my landing!
BEST PIECE OF SUP ADVICE YOU’VE GOTTEN?
This is a shameless plug, but I must say the best advice I have received is from taking an American Canoe Association SUP course. In December 2015, I took a SUP Instructor Certification course that was put on by Bishop Boards and I learned so much. The things that benefited me the most were going over teaching theory, how to make more efficient strokes, how to be more agile on my board, and rescue techniques. I think because SUP is such an individualistic sport, we often take for granted our technique as we train and its important to get with others to be evaluated and gain knowledge. Also it is important to learn how to translate our knowledge as paddlers into a teachable format so we can past down the stoke to future generations.
WHAT ARE YOUR PADDLE GOALS FOR THIS YEAR?
My biggest goal for 2016 is to get people from across a diverse (race, socioeconomic status, etc) spectrum of society involved with paddlesports through offering free – low cost SUP program through The Explore Kentucky Initiative. I feel it is important that our community becomes more inclusive. I also want to break more into whitewater SUP scene and shoot some films about the fringe sport in Kentucky. I plan to paddle the entire length of the Kentucky River and paddle from Cincinnati to Louisville. I also want to help get as many people as possible to come to race in Louisville Riverthon’s paddesports race event in September on the Ohio River.
WEIRDEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE SUPPING?
Last winter I went paddling on the Ohio River when it froze over. I kid you not, within 10 minutes of starting my trip, I had news choppers flying over me, the police, and fire department swarming me as they thought I was in distress, and stuck in the ice!
FAVORITE SUP NUTRITION?
Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
FAVORITE POST-PADDLE NOSH (SNACK/BEER/RECOVERY DRINK)
Ale 8 One, the most wonderful drink known to man.
YOUR FAVORITE NON-PADDLE THING TO DO?
Gosh so many things I love to do. I love rock climbing, downhill longboarding, soccer, but the activity that I really love to do the most is outdoor adventure photojournalism. I love capturing the visual tempo of people interacting with our Earth’s beautiful natural areas; whether it be rock climbing, mountain biking, doing conservation work, hiking, etc
WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH SUP?
I think being a minority could be a challenge at times. Non-paddlers and sometimes even paddlers that see me out running rivers always make comments that range from derogatory to somewhat supportive; from ” Don’t drown, you know you can’t swim ” to ” Glad to see people like yourself out here. ” It affects my psyche as I just want to get outside and paddle in peace.
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST MOMENT IN A SUP RACE OR EVENT?
I won Thir Place in Louisville Riverthon’s inaugural SUP 7 race event
TELL US ABOUT THE BEST FRIEND(S) YOU MADE THROUGH SUP.
Can I give a shout-out to my mentors? Chuck Hardin of Whitecap SUP is an amazing guy. He really helped me hone my skills, loaned me equipment for free, and I was just a stranger that reached out about training for some long thru paddle trips. Bob Diehl of Louisville, Kentucky. Locally we call him the SUP Master and he is truly is. He is a talented artisan, has tremendous patience, and though he is in his 60s, he is a super strong paddler , and can out paddle most of us younguns haha. Bob is always down to paddle and he introduced a ton of people to the sport. Dr. David Wicks of Louisville, Kentucky. David is a conservationist, outdoor educator, and a very talented paddler.
WHAT’S YOUR BET SUP TRAVEL TIP?
Look for the adventures in your backyard, state parks, waterways within 2 -4 hours of your home, etc. My other tip is to save money and car camp!
WHAT PIECE OF SUP GEAR DO YOU WISH SOMEONE WOULD INVENT?
An ice-breaking attachment for the bow of a board, how rad would that be?