Estelle

WHERE WERE YOU WERE BORN AND WHERE YOU LIVE NOW?

Born in Langley, BC ,Canada, now I live in Vancouver, BC,Canada

WHAT IS YOUR OCCUPATION?

I’m a pastry chef, although I hung up the apron on the full time gig and just teach pastry and baking classes occasionally on the side. My full time gig now is as a sales rep for Chefs Warehouse, a specialty food distributor. I work mostly with chocolate!

WHERE DO YOU SUP THE MOST?

I paddle outrigger more than SUP! But paddle both mostly in Vancouver’s English Bay, part of the Salish Sea, and right in the heart of paradise.

DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE LOCAL PADDLE SHOP?

Open Ocean Outrigger & SUP takes good care of me!

WHAT PADDLEBOARD, SURFSKI OR OC DO YOU RIDE MOST?

Hurricane OC1

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

Amundson TRX 14′ x 28

Estelle

WHAT PADDLE DO YOU USE?

For OC1 or V1 I use the Kialoa Nehu double bend, in the OC6 I use a Kialoa Axel II, and for SUP I just got a new Kialoa Hulu adjustable with a high-vis shaft.

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

I recently switched from a single bend to double bend paddle for use in the small craft OC1 or V1, I get a cleaner entry and a slightly longer reach with it, sitting so close to the water on the OC1 the extra 5 degrees of bend keeps my wrist in a better position while reaching up front for a solid plant at the front of my stroke.

WHERE WOULD YOU MOST LIKE TO SUP?

Gosh how do I pick just one!! Tahiti is top of the list for OC, would love to SUP the Mekong in Cambodia, kayak in Antarctica!

BEST PIECE OF SUP ADVICE YOU’VE GOTTEN? 

Try lots of boards before you buy, find the one that you’re most comfortable on.

WHAT ARE YOUR PADDLE GOALS FOR THIS YEAR?

Va’a World Sprint Championships in Australia, May 2016! I’m competing with Team Canada in several categories, and the goal is to podium with my OC6 Open crew. Personal development goal is to become a better SUP paddler, my strength is definitely in OC and SUP is new to me as of last season. I have a lot to learn!

WEIRDEST THING THAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU WHILE SUPPING?

During a 100km OC6 relay race in a borrowed canoe, the cap flew off the ama, leaving a 4″ opening that allowed the ama to quickly fill with water. We were in 25 knot winds, about 5km from shore in the middle of a huge lake, the ama was completely submerged adding several hundred pounds of weight resistance and the risk of a reverse huli. All six of us paddled on the right, leaning far out over the gunwales and managed to limp the canoe to a secluded beach, where we had to figure out how to get the water out of the ama, and patch the hole, we managed to get about half the water out, patched it up in a way that would have made McGuyver proud, and finished the race in last place, just a few minutes ahead of the official cutoff time. That finish felt like a bigger accomplishment than any win I’ve had!

FAVORITE SUP NUTRITION?

On a long race (20+ km) I’ll take GU gels as they’re easy to consume on the go, although I don’t like gels! I’ll put diluted Gatorade in my hydration pack. On a shorter distance I skip all of that and just take water.

Before any race I’ll always have a banana and maybe an energy bar, and on long hauls or relays where I can get nutrition during breaks, I always go with home made energy bars made with chocolate and peanut butter, and steamed baby potatoes with salt and oilive oil, that is the best quick energy for me!

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

I am all about the burger and beer, or greasy eggs and bacon, depending on the time of day! There’s a place near the beach here in Vancouver called the Sunset Grill where my friends and I end up at least two or three times a week after a paddle – they know us simply as “the paddlers” and treat us very well. They bring me a dark Scottish ale with the menu, they don’t even need to ask. I’d like to say I go for a kale salad and a smoothie, but it would be a lie!

YOUR FAVORITE NON-PADDLE THING TO DO?

Hike, snow shoe. I’m lucky to live in the South Coast of British Columbia, where I’m surrounded by mountains and ocean, all in my backyard. It’s not uncommon to go for a hike or snow shoe in the morning, then paddle in the ocean that afternoon.

WHAT’S YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE WITH SUP?

Getting over the fear of falling in, and just trusting that I’ll stay on top. It’s a head game, I know it doesn’t matter if I fall in, but the focus sometimes is so much on “don’t fall in” that I lose focus on everything else. The challenge is to find the same confidence I have in my OC and bring it to SUP.

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

My proudest moment would be from the Kauai World Challenge, May 2015. It’s a 54km relay done in four legs with two partners. My first time in Hawaii, first experience with really big water. The trade winds were blowing at 30 knots with gusts of 45 knots, all coming at me sideways. 10 foot swell, with 8-10 foot wind waves. There were moments where I was in a trough between waves that looked to be the size of apartment buildings. Just as I was coming into the bay to finish the second leg of the race, a wave bigger than anything I’d ever been on picked me up and tossed me and the canoe into the breaking wave. It was an epic crash, rolling under the waves, not knowing which way was up and hoping my leash would not break, when I finally came up for air I had been pushed near a cliff, I was on a reef in chest deep water, and another huge wave was about to break over me and send me for a second spin. Somehow I stayed calm and managed to take control of my situation, and eventually got back on the canoe and brought it to the beach, where my race partner, the race director and dozens of pie-eyed beach-goers ran to see if I was ok. I broke my GPS when it smashed on the reef, broke the GoPro somewhere in the tumble, but somehow I was unhurt and so was the canoe, my partner was able to paddle out for his next leg of the race. When the race director found out I was Canadian, and that it was my first time in big waves, he was shocked and kept telling the story all day.. “this girl, she’s from CANADA! Did you SEE what she did out there??! She was amazing!” It wasn’t until it was over that I really realized how dangerous the situation was, in the moment all I was thinking was “don’t break the canoe!”.

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

There’s so many! Where would I start? There’s my friend Rob, who invited me out for my first paddle in an OC6, just five years ago. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was a life changing moment for me, and I don’t make that statement lightly. Shannon, always so positive and humble and encouraging. Marcia, Harry, Janet, all deserve a mention but are just a few of so many. Living so close to the border means I race almost as much in Washington as I do in BC, so my paddling community extends south of the border too, with so many amazing friends in there in the PNW. Dean, Brian, Troy, Minnie, and way too many more to list. But if I had to single out one person it would be my dear friend Doug.

EstelleHe’s always up for a paddle on any day, took me under his wing when I was just learning; coached and mentored me, not in any official way as my coach, just from one friend who wanted to help another. He has hauled my canoe to races all over BC and Washington, back when I had a Smart Car and couldn’t haul my own! I’ve lost track of how many weekend road trips we’ve done for races, and he was there on my first paddling trip to Hawaii. It was Doug who got me out on a SUP for the first time, and encouraged me to keep going. Off the water he’s just a genuinely rad human, always there to help, always up for a night at the pub for burgers and beer, and just an all around nice guy. And a special mention for his lovely wife Shona, also a great friend, always there for those road trips, the best down wind driver you could ask for, and kept us fed every day in Hawaii, with a hot meal ready for us when we’d come in from a long day of paddling! These people are my tribe, I love them to bits.

Estelle Estelle

What piece of paddle gear do you wish someone would invent?

Probably a hydration system with a pfd all-in-one.

 WHAT’S YOUR BEST SUP TRAVEL TRIP?

I haven’t had any SUP travel trips yet, but the best outrigger travel trip would have to be New York in 2013. It was my first time in NYC, and my first international race with teams from all over the world. Paddling around lower Manhattan, on the Hudson River, the East River, and across NY Harbour was pretty amazing, seeing the Statue of Liberty for the first time while in the canoe during the race! And off the water, I scratched a lot off the bucket list that week!

Estelle