How did you come to know of KIALOA and how did you team up – what was the evolution of this relationship?
My first paddleboard race on the Ottawa River was the Ultimate SUP Challenge. I won the whitewater event and was getting ready for the flatwater event. Someone handed me a race board and a Kialoa paddle and I fell in love! I reached out to Kialoa looking for support to get into competing and they shared their Aloha!
What does being a steward of the KIALOA brand mean to you?
I love getting new people on the water and introducing them to this sport. Being together on the water builds relationships and a deeper connection to the appreciation for water. I do everything I can to get as many people out paddling and having a good time as I can. It’s restorative.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I love doing every sport on the water. Surfing, whitewater, kitesurfing, down-winders. My husband Kevin and I started our paddle guide business on the shores of Lake Erie so we could share our passion with others and continue to do what we enjoy every day. I really enjoy running whitewater in our hometown on the SUP and instructing SUP Yoga. Sharing my passion with friends and strangers is the best. It makes me so happy to see others enjoying being out on the water as much as I do.
2017/2018 Events you participated/will participate in?
2017 I took a break from racing to grow our paddling business and to heal a shoulder injury. I raced hard in 2016 and my favorite events were Go Pro Mountain Games and Fibark in Colorado! I will definitely be going back to Colorado for those events in 2018! Also planned for this fall Kevin and I will be in Hawaii for three months pushing our SUP, surf and kiting skills to the next level and sharing our adventures in weekly videos and blog posts. Then in winter of 2018 we will be paddling around the Island of Barbuda which was completely devastated by Hurricane Irma to raise money and awareness for the rebuilding of Barbuda.
What community events, charity participation or other organizations are you a part of?
We work with the local boys and girls club and offer free paddling days every year. We are also the safety organizers for Carly’s Crossing, an event to help raise money for children with Cancer and offer free paddling for them as well. We donate to many local charities and fundraisers with free paddle board guided trips and lessons. We will be paddling around Barbuda to raise funds for their recovery.
What's are some of your favorite things to do?
Expedition Paddling, whitewater SUP, eating, surfing, kitesurfing, spending time with family, and traveling.
What's your favorite food? Mexican!
What is your favorite restaurant in Hawaii?
An amazing BBQ place called Iron Imu.
What music are you listening to these days? Always Reggae!
Favorite place to visit? Jamaica & Hawaii!
How did you get started in Paddle sports?
I saw a magazine article of someone doing whitewater sup and I had to try it! I emailed Jackson Kayak who made the Jackson SUPer Chargers and told them I’d love to introduce the sport to the area. They sent us two boards and we started running a local class III river. I fell in love so hard for this sport. 3 Months later Kevin and I were running BIG Whitewater like the Ottawa and the lower Gauley. We couldn’t get enough whitewater in. It literally changed our life. We were climbing a lot before getting into paddling. Now we just love being on the water so much we pretty much just deep water solo when we find a climb on the water.
What is your pre-race meal?
Banana, blueberries, strawberry, almond butter, spinach and protien protein powder smoothie and COFFEE!
What do you like to eat/drink after paddling?
Water, an emergen-c packet, and whatever’s being served.
Proudest paddling moment?
Winning the Ultimate SUP Challenge in Ottawa for the whitewater event and taking 2nd overall in the Flatwater/Whitewater combo. I was so nervous. It was my first race and there were so many pro paddlers and the white-water was HUGE!
What was your scariest paddling experience?
Running the Lower Gauley on my SUP but it was also one of the best days of my life.
Tell us a little about how you train for paddling races?
Just being on the water every day and having fun!
Where is your favorite place to paddle?
My home creek, Cattaraugus, with all of my whitewater friends, Jamaica is a close second!
Any paddlers you look up to? Spencer Lacy and Paul Clark.
Were did you grow up and what was it like?
Buffalo, NY – I remember people always saying there is nothing to do here. But Kevin and I have been exploring this places for years together and we have found, whitewater, ice-climbing, great mountain biking, lake surfing, rock climbing, great wind sports and so much more!
As a child did you have pets?
Max was our childhood dog. He was so great to have around. He recently passed at the age of 14 but his last summer with us he was a puppy again and enjoyed getting on the sup with me!
What are some of the crazy fads you and your friends went through?
What were some things that you and your friends did as kids?
We enjoyed climbing the trees in our backyard, exploring the woods and going to the beach.
What did you get in trouble for most when you were young?
Climbing the trees in the backyard my dad thought my neighbor and I were going to fall out and break our necks so he cut them down. We were devastated.
What did you do for fun as a child?
I enjoyed going to the Adirondacks with my family and cliff jumping at Tupper lake with my younger brother.
Something you want out of life?
To be present in each moment and share special moments with the ones I love.
What are some qualities that you value in a person?
Being kind, uplifting and helping others.
What inspires you to do ‘good’ in the world?
I see so many people struggling right now and I feel so fortunate to have my health and the people I love supporting me. I want to be help support people any way I can whether it’s lending a hand to help rebuild a home, or teaching a kid how to SUP who may never have the opportunity to do so - anything to help put a smile on their face!
Starting a business with my husband and running the Lower Gauley together.
If you could re-experience one thing in your life, what would it be?
Our wedding day! It was so so so so special!
What is something your really proud of and why?
Our business SUP Erie Adventures. I feel like in any job I ever had I was given this role and that was my role. But as a business owner you can really go outside the box and create anything you want. I’ve had so much fun organizing events and paddle trips and creating our space. We have been able to help build this paddling culture here in WNY and it’s really special to see something that you help build.
What are some goals you’re still trying to accomplish?
I’d love to start an outdoor wilderness therapy program for at-risk youth or children struggling with anything and our veterans. I’ve been working on it for a while with Kev and I hope to implement the program next summer!
Who are your heroes?
My Dad and Kevin. My dad was always there for me as a child when I would get hurt or in trouble he was always there to lift me up. And Kevin always has my back now. I know if I get myself into trouble on the river he would do everything he could to help me and he has!
Tell us a little about how you train for paddling races?
If it’s whitewater season I hit the river hard every time the water is up. And I really just get on the water every day and stay out as long as I can.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Fun, Energetic, Loving.
What time of day do you like best and why?
If you were an animal, what would you be?
Turtle! They love the surf and so do I.
Would you rather be able to fly or to breathe under water?
That’s tough because I love kiteboarding so much and that’s like flying and it feels so good but I’m totally fascinated by the sea and all the life underwater.
Any nicknames you go by? C-Dawg!