For Jenn, standup paddling and surfing are a lifestyle. Her love of the ocean, water, surfing, standup and family are deeply ingrained in her being and sharing this love is her passion. Jenn is one of the fortunate ones who lives on Oahu in Hawaii. Her days are packed with all that she loves; work, training and family. The year 2015 marked a year of great accomplishments for Jenn. She ended the season with a very big win at the Hawaii Paddleboard Championships. In the offseason, she won the Na Wahine Ikaika in 1 hour 29 min for a personal best racecourse time and also won the Haukai Makai Fundraiser Race.
I learned a really big lesson last year paddling in Oregon with Uncle Gerry Lopez, that fun is far more important than any prize. That “I just want to go again” type of stoke was incredibly contagious and has really inspired me in this offseason. From my days as a Dressage rider and ski racer I have always equated hard work as a vehicle to having the most fun, i.e. the harder you work the better you get, the more fun you have. But I have found recently that at this level in ocean sports sometimes discipline interferes with that fun and stoke, and certainly going up against the best in the world has its own level of seriousness that needs to be countered with a lack of seriousness. So this winter I decided to make training FUN! I have been doing a ton of short boarding, teaching, and cross training. It has been a blast! I’ve gotten to teach more advanced lessons in bigger surf and learned how to tow two students simultaneously on my 5’8 shortboard from Threes all while joking that I should pay them for helping me train. I’ve really used my work time to train so that I have more time for family and recovery as well which has been amazing! Instead of work in the water taking away from SUP training, it has given me a vehicle to get better and correct muscle imbalances and have different training opportunities. I used previous years in other sports as an athlete as inspiration for cross-training and really gave myself an active and fun off-season. So far it has been so good to really be in the water and connect with it in a different way. For me paddling and surfing aren’t really separate. In my mind they feel like one in the same. One of my favorite former pro surfers that I used to teach with back when I started teaching, Joey Carrol always used to tell me, that “it has actually little to do with skill and everything to do with my relationship with the water.” I think taking that to heart will be a game changer.”
With racing this year, for Jenn the grass roots type races that have both age group and elite divisions have become really special. The paddling community on Oahu has become such a “wonderful family of all levels and abilities” that she wants to spread that love and stoke everywhere she goes.
Jenn is also putting an emphasis on experiences she wants to have and events that she really enjoys. She has done M2O 5 years in a row solo, and absolutely loves M2O. The history, that time of year in the channel, the body of water and the huge celebration of paddling that it really is has made it really special for her. She hasn’t done a real channel crossing type relay since Catalina in 2011, so this year she is really excited to go in a competitive 2 person team with Blue Planet (Jenn’s board sponsor) teammate and up and coming elite, Tyler Jaggers. The division is no less competitive but offers a different kind of challenge, one that lends itself more to her physical strengths and adds the element of teamwork, which is really exciting for her! She says it is a whole new puzzle to enjoy working on and will enjoy having brief moments on the boat to relax the mind and take in the stunning beauty of the Kaiwi Channel. It will allow her race schedule to be a little busier (less required post M2O recovery time) so she will be able to do Maui 2 Molokai also as a team with Tyler as well as M4M and the Na Pali Paddleboard Race. She really enjoys the M2M and M4M weekend and has wanted to paddle around the north end of Kauai since she was a young teen, so it is looking to be a very special year for her.