Where you were born and where you live now?
I was born in Ocean City, MD and I live in Indian Rocks Beach, FL now.
What is your occupation?
I am a high school English teacher!
Where do you SUP the most?
I prone paddle most often in the Gulf of Mexico, Indian Rocks Beach. We have flat water training in the intracoastal as well, but I prefer that bumpy gulf. Our island is small so we are very fortunate to have two spots that are super easy to get to.
Do you have a favorite local paddleboard shop?
I am a team rider for Suncoast Surf Shop in Treasure Island (just south of our beach), so I suppose I am a bit partial. But I enjoy partnering with the shop because Joe, the owner, is a great guy that wants everyone happy and on the water. He is simply in the business of making people happy.
What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?
Surftech/Bark Commander Pro Elite Stock. It is so fun to surf and race.
Do you own any other paddleboards, surfskis or OCs and what kind?
When my husband, JC, and I first started paddling, I was actually racing surf ski. He had an Epic V8 and a Fenn Swordfish. I raced the Fenn a few times and it was okay, but the first time I jumped on a prone board I was in love. JC sold his Epic and put the part of the profits to my first board. Now that is love. We also both paddle OC6, but we don’t own those boats, but wouldn’t it be sweet if we could paddle OC2 together!
What paddle do you use?
My right and left hands work great. Currently the right paddle has a ding from hitting the bottle cage on a big wave and the left paddle has some surface scratches from a small spill in the shore break, but they still work just fine. I also use a Kialoa outrigger paddle for OC6 because my teammates wouldn’t let me use my favorite paddles to move the boat.
Have you changed boards/paddles/equipment since you started? If so, why?
I started on an “old-school” yellow Bark board that I named banana. She was affordable and the extra stability helped me to become more secure with knee paddling. I did well in a few local races on the old Bark, but needed something faster to really be competitive so Suncoast stepped in and helped me out with Snoopy the Commander. Eventually, I’d like the Commander Lite. I really like paddling stock because I think it matches my swim stroke well and it is fun to surf the boards.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world to paddle, where would you go?
Molokai. I dream of that race every day that I am training in the gulf.
Best piece of SUP advice you’ve ever received?
When JC convinced me to try prone paddling, thinking that I might like it better than surf ski because of my swimming and surf paddle. You never know what you can do if you don’t try!
Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while paddling?
One day I was paddling very far out and saw some fins stick out of the water. I realized they were dolphins and relaxed. Then the dolphins turned around and rode the same wave in with me. That was pretty weird, but also super cool.
Favorite SUP nutrition? (During races/ during a long haul)
Carbo Pro, flavored with a little bit of apple juice.
Goals for this year?
Favorite post-paddle nosh (snack/beer/recovery drink)
Vega Protein powders and Cliff Builder Bars have been working well. I have a harder time eating after long paddles compared to long swims, so I’ve been taking a lot of advice and adjusting over the last few months.
Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.
I’ve played flute since I was 10 and never completely stopped. I still swim and surf and like to read and write.
What piece of SUP gear do you wish someone would invent?
A very tiny pace clock, similar to what I used to use on the pool deck. I use a watch for timing intervals and checking my pulse. I just can’t break my swim habits!
What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?
Not getting lost in races, and being fully responsible for yourself. In marathon swimming, the swimmer follows the support kayaker. The kayaker is responsible for navigation, nutrition, pacing, and even motivation if you need it. I didn’t realize how much I was relying on my kayaker for long races and this has been a big, but very rewarding, adjustment. I can’t do much about my abysmal sense of direction, but I like the sense of empowerment for taking responsibility for everything.
What is your proudest moment in a SUP race or event?
Establishing the women’s prone record as the first woman to finish prone for the Dean Randazzo Paddle for a Cause. I love being part of the wave of more and more female prone paddlers.
Tell us about the best friend(s) you made through paddling.
I hardly know where to start! Heather Frogge was my best prone friend from the start. She answers every question possible and always encourages me to do the best I can. Local prone guys–Terry, Bubba, Karen, and more. All the cool people that I paddled with during our summer time up north that shared tips and experience: Tyler Hunter and Dave Allison (who helped ensure that I did NOT get lost on the Dean!). The Surfski Guys. I’ll just leave that at that. And of course the best surf ski guy, my husband. I am so lucky to be married to my best paddle friend.
What was your best SUP travel trip?
We spent a week paddling an average of three hours a day, every day, in New Jersey. All we did was paddle, eat, and sleep. It was pretty amazing.