Danielle Holdsworth

It seems like every time we hit facebook, there’s Danielle clean and pressing something heavy or training on her Starboard. She consistently shows up and paddles, does her Paddle Monster workouts, hits the gym to compete in masters weightlifting. And usually it’s with a smile on her face. We were so excited that all her work paid off with a third place finish in the women’s 12’6″ division at Chattajack and inclusion on team Canada for the ISA Pan Am team. Danielle inspires us because she espouses #lovethejourney and enjoys paddling with her family as a way to connect, heal, and enjoy life. Thanks for paddling out, Danielle.

What are you paddling?

The majority of the time you can find me riding my Starboard Sprint. I LOVE how fast this board can rocket through flat water. However, if I’m lake or ocean racing, and its a little choppy, you will find me catching bumps on my Starboard Allstar.
Photo of your board, ski, OC, paddle

What other watercrafts do you paddle/enjoy?

  • SUP
  • Prone Paddleboard
  • Surfski

Where is your favorite place to paddle?

Anywhere I can find water!!! I live in a fairly landlocked city, and the closest water is Sharon Creek, a small lake about 1km long. It’s a great place to train flat water (and pivot turns…clearly), but I relish any chance I get to paddle in “bigger” water. From November to April, water becomes even more scarce with our Ontario winter, so I try to make the most of most of paddling in the spring, summer and fall, and of course any liquid water mother nature throws my way in the winter!!!

What is your favorite event and why?

One word…Chattajack. There is nothing like the adrenaline-filled feeling of finishing a 52km race through ever-changing torrential conditions. It is a race that feels so much bigger than any one individual athlete, and it a true test of both physical and mental strength (…or insanity). The stoke and Ohana at this event is unreal! I’m 2 Chattajack’s in, and plan on tackling 3 more to earn my 5-year belt. I finished my first 2 Chattajack‘s on SUP, but I think it would be sweet to finish each of my next 3 on a different craft. #Chattagoals

Danielle Holdsworth

What is your favorite paddling moment and why?

In 2017, I had the opportunity to represent Canada at the ISA World Championships in Denmark. While the entire experience was out of this world, a couple of memories really stand out. Being the “sand bearer” and participating in the sand ceremony during the opening ceremonies was pretty spectacular, as was lining up with the worlds best in front of the Opera House in the heart of Copenhagen. A total “breathe it all in” kind of moment! This was definitely an experience I will never forget!!!

Danielle Holdsworth

Do you have a bucket list event?

Can I choose them all??? I would love to accomplish more crazy distance events like the Yukon River Quest and the 11 city SUP tour!!! I would also love to race PPG and downwind through the Gorge one of these years!

What are you grateful for?

While I am undoubtedly grateful for my health and my family, I am also grateful for the opportunities SUP has provided for myself and my loved ones. I have watched my mom go through treatment for breast cancer over the past 2 years, and SUP has been instrumental in her recovery. Taking her for paddles has kept spirit positive, her body active, and has been amazing functional post-operative therapy. Moreover, SUP has been a wonderful outlet for my 9 year old son. He is on the autism spectrum, and being out on the water gives him such a sense of joy and freedom! To be able to provide these experiences for my family has been incredibly rewarding!

Tips for paddlers:

No matter what level you paddle at, no matter what kind of craft… SMILE, breathe, and love every second out on the water!!!

Favorite charity:

National Service Dogs – Autism Program

End Notes:

A GIANT thank you to all the people who help me do all the crazy things I love to do!!! Thank you Kayak Sport Canada for getting me started, and Starboard SUP and Glen Buchanan for believing I can accomplish great things!!! Thank you Paddle Monster for giving me the tools to do just that! And of course, thank you to my family for not rolling their eyes at me too much every time I say I’m going out to train 🙂

Photos courtesy of Warren Won.