Meet Jane Paddler: Lauren Rodriguez, Shawnee, Kansas

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Where you were born and where you live now?

I was born in Girard, KS. I now live in Shawnee, KS (suburb of Kansas City.)

What is your occupation?

Critical Care Nurse

Where do you SUP the most?

Shawnee Mission Lake, the Kaw and Missouri Rivers.

Do you have a favorite local paddleboard shop?

We don’t have any SUP shops here, but my favorite is West Coast Paddlesports in San Diego.

What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?

My 14′ Jimmy Lewis Stiletto.

Do you own any other paddleboards, surfskis or OCs and what kind?

I own the Jimmy Lewis Stiletto Air, Jimmy Lewis 10’s Air Maestro, and a 9’6″ Da’hia SUP surfer.

What paddle do you use?

The Werner Grand Prix 100.

Jane Paddler Lauren Rodriguez

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

When I moved to San Diego in 2012 I knew I wanted to SUP. Not knowing anything about the sport, I bought the Costco package: a SUPUSA board that came with a SUPAtx carbon paddle. After meeting the SUP Chicks, a whole new SUP world opened up to me! It took me a year to decide on a race board and finally chose the Jimmy Lewis 14′ Stiletto. I met Jimmy and talked him into customizing it for me. My Stiletto has been my baby ever since.

If you could travel to anywhere in the world to paddle, where would you go?

I really want to go to Costa Rica, where I can SUP surf all day. Lake Tahoe is also at the top of the list, I never made it there when I lived in CA.

Best piece of SUP advice you’ve ever received?

My friend, Jaecey, taught me how to downwind, believe it or not, I use that skill in Kansas all of the time.

Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while paddling?

I’ll change that to scariest. I was teaching a friend how to paddle in open water off of La Jolla Shores. It was whale watching season and we got about five miles west of shore. When we were on our way back and only two miles from shore, the Santa Ana winds started. It took us 2 ½ hours to paddle back. We were very close to having to be rescued.

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

Nuts, dried fruit and RevHoney.

Goals for this year?

Be the first woman to ever complete the MR340 on a SUP (a 340 mile paddling race across Missouri in 88 hours or less).

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

Any ice cold craft beer (Boulevard unfiltered wheat is my favorite.)

Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.

Spending time with my family (husband, two kids, three dogs and two cats), cycling, painting.

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

A 25+psi high speed electric compressor for my inflatables. They don’t go over 20psi.

What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?

Right now it’s introducing more people to SUP in the Midwest. It’s starting to catch on, but we have a very small group that has come together to try to get more individuals and families out on the water and connecting with nature.

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

Last August I was competing in the Firecracker Race in St. Louis. The weather turned bad, the water became choppy and we had to stop the race early. I placed 3rd overall (1st in the female division), passing the record holder for the MR340.

Jane Paddler Lauren Rodriguez

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

When I moved to San Diego, I didn’t know anyone. SUP connected me with some of the most amazing women & men I’ve ever known. They became my family. Three years later when I moved back to Kansas,I found a small group that did 5k paddling races every Wednesday night. More and more SUPers started showing up. We have formed a little group that continues to grow. They too, are amazing and a great group of individuals. One of the greatest things about any sport is it brings people together.

Jane Paddler Lauren Rodriguez

What was your best SUP travel trip?

The best trip for SUP that I have been on was going to Dana Point for Standup for the Cure. I stayed in a friend’s RV with several other women and we had a blast! I hope to travel a lot more with my inflatable SUPs back to San Diego.

Jane Paddler Lauren Rodriguez

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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