Editor’s Note: Seacoast Paddleboard Club’s Paddler Profile Series highlights the different personalities that make our paddling community so great! If you would like to be featured, please complete this profile.
Where Are You From (Hometown)?
How long have you been paddling? How did you get started?
I came to Stand-Up from surfing. I worked part-time in the paddlesports dept. at Kittery Trading Post and bought a shipping-damaged Surftech Laird 10’6” surf shape. After repairing the dings, I made my first paddle out of wood and hit the little sliders at Long Sands Beach in York. I was all in from that moment on. I can’t recall how I first came to Seacoast Paddleboard Club five years ago, but I did and it has supercharged my SUP experience. I’d probably heard about Chris paddling to the Isles of Shoals and wanted in on that. And that lead to my first displacement board, a Focus `12’6” x 27.5”. Now I have six boards, including those first two. I love ‘em.
Where is Your Favorite Place to Paddle and Why?
We are blessed here in the Southern Maine and New Hampshire Seacoast region with 1500 square miles of beautiful and uncrowded estuarine environment. This includes the variety and challenges of bold ocean coastal shoreline and seven tidal rivers. This is my favorite place to paddle. But, I’ll happily paddle anywhere. Anywhere, on anything.
Do you have a favorite board? What is it and why do you love it?
Don’t get me started. But, okay. Of my six current SUPs, my favorite all-round board is an NSP Carolina 14’ x 24.25”. I race on it in all conditions and it catches waves and bumps well. It arrived at a shop with a hole from a forklift tine clean through it – another shipping damaged board. Jonathon Bischoff at at Vermont Ski and Sport – a great paddleboard shop – helped me out with it because I can fix anything on these boards.
My clear favorite board for surfing is an early 10’ Pearson Arrow “Laird” model. It is hand-shaped and glassed by Bob Pearson (Santa Cruz,Ca). While the Surftech Tuff-Lite model I own (my first board) is based on this one, interestingly, the hand-shaped version is an order of magnitude more sensitive and joyful to ride. It has no deck-pad; gotta wax it. I wonder if that in itself contributes to the excellent feel. I’d been searching nation-wide for one for years. This one showed up in Rhode Island on Craigslist (a contributing source of my board -acquiring financial ruin). I drove and bought it the next morning. I never need another wave board.
Do you have a favorite paddle board event? What is it and why is it your favorite? (i.e. Blackburn Challenge, Chattajack, IOS Invitational)
My favorite event would have to be the Isles of Shoals Invitational. It is that event that started it all for a bunch of us – the challenge of ocean paddling and distance. Paddlers of varying abilities trained for months for the 14-mile round trip out to a clutch of rocky islands 7 miles out to sea. It was a fund-raiser and different every year – calm, rough, clear, dense fog, thunderstorms. Leave before dawn. Meet the escort boats a mile out as the sun peeked over the eastern horizon – or not. Cook out afterwards. It was a ton of work and worry for Chris putting it together, even with some help, but it was always a great event. Everyone involved should be proud of their contribution and participation.
If you could take a paddling trip anywhere in the world where would you go and why?
Hawaii, because it’s Hawaii. I’m totally going, too. Summer ‘21 or ”22.
Have you changed boards/paddles/equipment since you started? If so, why?
Began racing and the quiver grew as I became comfortable on narrower and narrower boards. first displacement was 27.5” wide. Now I’m paddling a 23” wide NSP Puma most of the time. This occurred gradually and included nearly every width in between. Fun!
Do you have any advice to new paddlers?
Join uson Tuesday nights when the Community paddle returns. Best way to meet other friendly paddlers of all stripes. Stand-up, prone, inflatable, race board, touring / expedition/fishing – come one; come all!
How long have you been a Seacoast Paddleboard Club Member? How did you first hear about SPC? Why did you join?
I covered that above. But I’ll re-iterate that my active involvement – rather than just my on-paper membership – has taken me places I never expected when I first showed up at Pierce Island on a Tuesday night five years ago. Paddling provides me with benefits extending to all corners of my life, and that is both directly and indirectly a result of my SPC friendships and experiences.