Joe Paddler John Chiu
Where you were born and where you live now?
Born in New York City, NY. I currently live in London, U.K.
What is your occupation?
Where do you SUP the most?
The Historic River Thames in London, England.
Do you have a favorite local paddleboard shop?
Active 360, a SUP school and shop based in London.
What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?
It’s a mix between a Starboard Astro Racer or Naish One.
Do you own any other paddleboards, surfskis or OCs and what kind?
Yes, back in the States, I have two babies: a Yoloboards – 12’6″ Blue Dart Race, and a Deep Blue inflatable.
What paddle do you use?
Kialoa Insanity Carbon
Have you changed boards/paddles/equipment since you started? If so, why?
Yes I have. Pure addiction, and desire to challenge myself/ compete. Plus, was always told that your 1st and inevitable 2nd boards will vary a lot – with the 2nd one, the training wheels came off!
If you could travel to anywhere in the world to paddle, where would you go?
I’ve been to so many places, but the SUP Bucket List continues to grow! Next adventure, my wife, dog, and I will be paddling the Pontcysyllte aqueduct in Llangollen, Wales. All on one board – makes for a more interesting story.
Best piece of SUP advice you’ve ever received?
“Another day thinking about buying a paddleboard is another day not paddleboarding” – Q. Wilson, from Stand On Liquid.
Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while paddling?
Paddling aimlessly (but safely) across three US States, without realizing it. The trek back wasn’t as easy 🙂
Favorite SUP nutrition? (During races/ during a long haul)
So many bananas. And so many peanut butter Cliff Bars.
Goals for this year?
Two primary ones: 1) Continue to develop SUP in London with the good guys at Active 360. We are keen on using it to make a positive impact on the environment as well. We are doing amazing things this side of the pond, including another “Big Ben” race. It will feature some of Europe’s top SUP atheletes, and the race takes participants across some of London/ the world’s most amazing landmarks. And, 2) SUP the English Channel – from England to France. I don’t think it’s that crazy.
Favorite post-paddle nosh (snack/beer/recovery drink)
An iced cold beer from (insert local juridiction here, depending on where I may be in the world).
Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.
Making closed jar terrariums, which are mini ecosystems in a bottle, that are self-sustaining with it’s own water cycle. With some daily sunlight, these bespoke creations can literally be eternal.
What piece of SUP gear do you wish someone would invent?
A couple: 1) paddles that have a “pick” on one end, so that we can always pick up plastic/ rubbish whilst on the water; and 2) WiFi “on-board”/ navigation screen built in the board. For the true explorer.
What’s your biggest challenge with SUP?
Sunlight. Though night paddling is just as amazing, especially in London with its 30+ bridges, some of which are brightly lit up.
What is your proudest moment in a SUP race or event?
When I decided to take the ACA SUP Levels 1+2 Instructor Certification course. It was an awesome few days with some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met. There is something about the paddle community that just makes it so easy to connect with others within in.
Tell us about the best friend(s) you made through paddling.
I moved to London from the States for my day job, and leading up to the move all I could think about was how and where I could still SUP… and whether I’d be able to continue doing it at the level I was doing it. Unexpectedly, this hobby received a huge boost living overseas – today I am paddling much more, coaching, competing, connecting with enthusiasts and professionals worldwide, exploring life with it, etc. In every sense of the word, I am helping develop SUP. This selfie, which was taken before a 26-mile SUP marathon, is an example of friend-making via SUP.
What was your best SUP travel trip?
My wife and I like paddleboarding into places that only crafts like paddleboards can take us. So, we decided to go to Algarve in Portugal one weekend, to visit its world-famous Benagil sea caves. Our good friends from SUP Albufeira took great care of us!
What makes a good Joe or Jane Paddler? Someone who’s just an everyday, stoked up, fun, enthusiastic paddler, hopefully with a good story or two to tell…not looking for pros, even though we love them too, nope, just your typical paddler next door. Is that you? Want to be featured as a Joe or Jane Paddler or know someone who’d make a good one? Fill out the questionnaire!