Where you were born and where you live now?
Wilmington, Delaware, but became a water person in South Jersey starting in Sweetwater then Avalon. Now I live in Indian Rocks Beach, FL.
What is your occupation?
Third Grade Teacher at Shore Acres Elementary School
Where do you paddle the most?
I’m not a SUPper. But I do dabble in Prone and paddle at OC6 practice with Kai Aniani in Clearwater, FL. I’d like to think I’m somewhat ok at Surf Ski and that is my craft of choice! I most often ski in the Gulf of Mexico but occasionally get a chance to get in flatwater training/conditioning in the intracoastal waterways behind IRB.
Do you have a favorite local paddle shop?
No. With surfskis there are few places to buy direct with the exception of Bill Jackson’s locally. Bruce Gipson at Venture Sports is my go to “dealer” for Fenn surfskis for now and for prones/sups, the best paddleboard shop locally is Suncoast Surf Shop in Treasure Island!
What paddleboard, surfski or OC do you ride most?
Do you own any other paddleboards, surfskis or OCs and what kind?
Stellar Surfski (Lisa’s), Two prone boards (Commander Light and 12′ Elite Stock), and at present a kid’s SUP board (obviously not rideable!)
What paddle do you use?
Most often I use a fixed Epic Carbon Wing Paddle that I bought three years ago. From time to time I use my Jantex Gamma two piece paddle. I also own a Kialoa OC paddle.
Have you changed boards/paddles/equipment since you started? If so, why?
YES! My first ski was a super tippy spec ski bought from a Navy Seal who never could “stabilize” it. I should have taken the initial “hint.”After owning that for a few years, I had an Epic V8 Performance addition that was a demo boat direct from EPIC. That was a great boat! After the Sharkbite race two years ago, I bought my current boat, the Swordfish, from fellow paddler, friend, and legend Andy Gerber and have been paddling and loving it ever since! They say stability before ability in surf ski and I am a strong believer in making steady progression. I am currently crafting my ability onto less stable boats including K1s and hope to have an elite ski in the next year or two.
If you could travel to anywhere in the world to paddle, where would you go?
Although the Gorge and Molokai are at the top of my list, I would have to say Mauritius, an island off the coast of Madagascar tops the list. They have a surfski race there every year called the Mauritius Ocean Classic…everything from the pristine water, friendly competition, and great downwinds consistently sounds amazing!
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Well, the one that I use especially when instructing “newbies” to the sport, “When in Doubt, Legs Out!” Helps with stabilizing the ski first then actually getting into forward momentum. It’s also very valuable when going through head high, breaker shore break and the leg leash is not yet attached! The other piece of advice that has proven invaluable on ski is when you “huli” or flip your ski in downwind conditions, it’s easiest to remount when the craft is pointed into the upwind or direction of the waves!
Weirdest thing that’s happened to you while paddling?
Weirdest thing that ever happened while paddling would have to be having a dolphin swim right under my hull with curiosity! Always special sharing the water with natural inhabitants and marine life!
Favorite nutrition? (During races/ during a long haul)
Favorite nutrition would have to be Carbopro or just plain water. I also like to take a gel and tape a few to the ski within easy reach or inside my PFD.
Goals for this year?
Hmmm, the best goal would be to not flip out of my ski with less than 50 yards to go at the Florida Cup! Aside from that, I have a goal to continue to get better in the ski, possibly buy an elite 16’9″ wide ski, and to hopefully compete in the DE to NJ Cape to Cape Swim when we are up north for the summer. I attempted to swim the route in 2011 as a tribute to 9/11 but was forced to retire after 14 hours in the water and getting pushed south of Ocean City, MD. Additionally, I would like to get back to race directing and host my first event. Stay tuned but hopefully Tocobaga Draft will be the first event on April 1st here in IRB, FL before SharkBite.
Favorite post-paddle nosh (snack/beer/recovery drink)
Favorite post nosh snack would have to be bbq wings or pizza! A good porter beer also is a great recovery drink!
Your favorite non-paddle thing to do.
My favorite non-paddle thing to do is to be with my Mermaid Wife Lisa and our new puppy Huli!
What piece of gear do you wish someone would invent?
I hope to see a foil incorporated on a ski at some point! Foil K1s and Kiteboards are awesome!
What’s your biggest challenge with paddling?
I would think the biggest challenge is overcoming challenging ocean conditions and knowing that the worst thing that could happen is being tossed off your craft (well aside from losing your paddle and your leg leash detaching and being separated from your boat)! Half the battle with getting out in “gnarly” conditions is having the confidence of knowing you can do it (at least I hope this will help when I attempt Molokai one day with waves taller than a 5 story building!)
What is your proudest moment in a race or event?
My proudest moment in a surfski race was coming in 1st overall at the Flying Fish Paddlesport Spring Race last year and beating a faster ski paddler because of course navigation and strategy.
Tell us about the best friend(s) you made through paddling.
The best friends I have made through paddling are my ohana locally and through the 100/100 paddle challenge! Lisa and I have been fortunate to connect with like minded paddlers through social media and that we run into at events. My closest friends are team members of Kai Aniani Outrigger Canoe Club and the North Florida Watermen.
What was your best paddle travel trip?
The best surfski travel trip was Paddle for a Cause in Atlantic City last year. 1000+ miles each direction all to paddle 22.5 miles around a casino mecca! Great event, great cause, and amazing paddling friends/family!