Maria Schultz

KIALOA 'Elele in Fredericksburg, VA

Ambassador: Maria Schultz

How did you come to know of KIALOA and how did you team up – what was the evolution of this relationship?

I’ve been a fan of Kialoa for many years. It was their tagline that drew me in – together on the water. Those words have always struck a chord in my heart. Being on the water with my dogs is such a special activity for us. I’ve always believed that paddling with dogs represents life pared down to two essentials – water, the source of all life, and companionship. We simply cannot live without either. It’s been my mission for last five years to spread this word and inspire more people to get out with their dogs. So when other companies I work with kept telling me I needed to connect with Kialoa, I knew it would be a good fit!

 What does being a steward of the KIALOA brand mean to you?

I only work with brands I love, believe in, and have similar core values with. This makes my job of upholding their standards easy. Excellence, teamwork, and stewardship, are all values I try to incorporate into my clinics, my books, and with the relationships I forge within the paddling community.

 Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m an outdoor enthusiast, ACA-certified stand up paddleboard instructor, photographer, and dog trainer, but that’s just by night. By day I’m an art director. Originally from Buffalo, New York, I’m now based in central Virginia, where I live with my husband and two Australian shepherds, Riley and Kona. The first day I ever got on a stand up paddleboard Rile­y was with me – we learned the sport together. Our first summer together on the water we attracted lots of attention and curiosity from people who wanted to learn to paddle with their own dogs. But with few resources available on training and guidance, I decided I could help people. I combined all my skills and passions to create How to SUP With Your PUP, A Guide to Stand Up Paddleboarding With Your Dog. I also teach SUP PUP clinics in Virginia, and other cities along the East Coast. When I’m not out paddling with my dogs, I also enjoy whitewater SUP, biking, hiking, climbing, skiing, and finding new ways to wear myself – and my dogs – out.

 2017 /2018 Events you participated/will participate in?

In 2018 I hope to participate in the Dominion RiverRock Outdoor Festival, Fredericksburg’s Rock the River event, and schedule a number of SUP PUP clinics on the East Coast.

What community events, charity participation or other organizations are you a part of?

ACA – American Canoe Association
IACP – International Association of Canine Professionals
Volunteer with United Way
Fredericksburg SPCA

What's are some of your favorite things to do?

I have too many hobbies and passions! Anything outside that involves dogs and the outdoors, is always at the top of my favorite list; but I also love, reading, taking and editing photos, and spending time with my family and friends.

What's your favorite food?

I’m a New York girl so I LOVE hot Buffalo wings and pizza.

Favorite place to visit?

Bar Harbor Maine! Acadia National Park never gets old and the town is super dog friendly plus it has amazing food. 

How did you get started in Paddle sports.

I was self-taught – I started paddleboarding in 2012 specifically because it was a sport I knew I could do with my dogs.

Proudest paddling moment?
Paddling with manatees with both my dogs on board. Riley and Kona were so well behaved and respectful of the gentle sea cows. Seeing them stay calm and cool while getting nose to nose with such large creatures was a major testament to their training and confidence.

Were did you grow up and what was it like?
I had a wonderful childhood growing up in Western New York; our family travelled so much and we saw so many places most kids don’t have the opportunity to see. The only thing I longed for was a dog. My mom had made it clear from the very beginning: Dogs deserve tons of attention. She said if I wanted a dog, I’d need to be completely committed to caring for one. It just wouldn’t be fair to leave a dog home alone while we travelled. My mom’s words made a huge impression on me, so when I was 27 and able to get my first dog, Riley, I worked him into every part of my life and leave him at home as little as possible.

Something you want out of life?

I want to be able to say I left this world better than I found it and that I did something to help people and dogs live happier healthier lives.

What are some qualities that you value in a person?

Loyalty, and straight-forwardness! Just like dogs ;)

What inspires you to do ‘good’ in the world?

Every time I hear someone say, “I wish I could do that,” It makes me want to find a way to help.

Proudest accomplishment?

Writing 2 books, How to SUP With Your PUP, A Guide to Stand Up Paddleboarding With Your Dog, and Paddle Tails, Reflections of people and dogs Who Find Balance on the Water.

If you could re-experience one thing in your life, what would it be?

Riley’s puppy years! He was such a fun little fur ball and a blast to train.

What time of day do you like best and why?

I’m a total night owl; I accomplish so much more when the world is quiet.

If you were an animal, what would you be?

Most definitely a wolf!

Would you rather be able to fly or to breathe under water?

Breathe underwater! That would come in real handy as a paddler!

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