Tracy Cullinane trains and paddles out of Nantucket on her custom 14’X23″ Banh Pho Noodle board. The Mullet loves crispy noodles. Tracy has been part of the 110 Challenge and Paddle Monster. It seems like every day, she’s posting a Nike-poster worthy training photo. She’s stoked on paddling, training, racing and just keep showing up and throwing down. Tracy inspires us.
Where is your favorite place to paddle?
Since I live on an island 30 miles out to sea only accessible via boat or plane, I am limited in paddling to Nantucket harbor and a couple ponds (nice to have the option of tidal and non-tidal places to paddle). But, if I had to be limited, this is a great place to be! Beautiful paddling on Nantucket harbor — sometimes super windy, foggy, packed with boats… all depending on the season.
What is your favorite event and why?
I have only been paddling four years or so, and since I do live on an island and summer is my busiest season for work, my time is limited for racing. I only do 4-6 per year, and I aim for the longer ones. My favorite local race is the 19 mile Run of the Charles, which includes six portages, in late April. Non-local would be Chattajack, primarily for the vibe of the participants and volunteers. It is a paddlers race, for those who enjoy it the most, to their core. Also, I just did the SUP 11 City tour, my first international event, and it is like Chattajack on European steroids–super challenging (five day/220km) with an engaging group of participants from all over the globe, all ages, sizes, fitness levels.
What is your favorite paddling moment and why?
I have a tie, between winning the first race I ever did (five miles), and finishing the 220km/five day Sup 11 City Tour which I just did Sept 5-9. That was a pretty incredible feeling to cross the finish line on day five, an especially tough slog upwind for 17 miles (the last day is the “short” day!). A couple years ago I could not imagine doing this long race, and trying to figuring out how to train for it property (I have Paddle Monster for that training!) Now I am considering returning for this race in 2019. I talked to Patrick Broemmel (my other half and the maker of my custom boards) after Day 1 telling him how tough it was. He said I was a “good sufferer” and I will be fine the next four days ! ?!
Do you have a bucket list event?
Not really. I like the longer races. I’ve been looking at the Seventy48 race in WA, Crossing for a Cure in FL… but both are in the summer when my work is the busiest so I’ll have to wait and see if I can swing either one. I just like to paddle when I’m traveling, it’s a great way to meet people. Most recently I met Angie and Paul Jackson in Australia, and used their One boards for a couple paddles. Then I went to Florida for a few days and John Meskauskas of Flying Fish hooked me up with a board for a couple days. In May, I was in St. Louis and met up with Shane Perrin who lent me a board for a paddle. Likewise, if anyone wants to come to Nantucket — most recently Dr. Bob Arnot, a regular who keeps a board at my house, and then Erin Jones-Kundolf who I met at a race in DC in the Spring) –I welcome visitors and have a board set-up for you!
What are you grateful for?
I am grateful for being able to to paddle every day if I choose, by living close to the water. I grew up inland (St. Louis), and sure there are places to paddle, but nothing like the constantly changing water of a harbor or ocean. I am grateful for my health (which is not perfect), and strength, and that I’m strong and able to do physically challenging events. I am grateful for the loving relationships in my life, my parents, my four brothers. I am grateful to have the foresight to choose experiences and travel over things
Advice or tips for paddlers?
Just go out and do it, whenever you can and have fun. Try to not be too hard on yourself, or compare yourself to all the pro paddlers we like to watch in their exciting races. Your race, your experience, is just as important. Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself and sign up for a races that scares you!
You’ll have fun, meet new people. You can do way more than you think is possible, really.
Do you have a favorite charity?
Thank you for choosing me to be featured, it is an honor! Like I said, I just did 11 Cities, a 5 day/220km stage race in the Netherlands. There were only three of us paddlers from the U.S., aside from the two guys from Plastic Tides! We should have more (Paddle) Monsters there and I’m happy to talk to anyone who is thinking about it for next year, Sept 11-15, 2019. Thank you!