When I think of Lake Michigan and Chicago, Kirsten is one the short list. Kirsten has a passion for paddling, for training and competing. She’s a Paddle Monster and a trainer. Thanks for showing up every day and putting in the paddling. You inspire us.
OneSUP Edge 2.0 14‘x22“, Blackfish Race Paddle and Ocean Rodeo Soul Drysuit (this is important to mention as a cold weather paddler.
Favorite place to paddle:
Sweet Home Chicago! I really enjoy our lakefront and living in a big city while still being able to enjoy the outdoors.
What is your favorite event and why?
While I have really enjoyed bigger races like PPG and The Carolina Cup, the Midwest Racing scene is still near and dear to my heart. OABI Detroit is the highlight each year. It is well organized and draws in a large number of paddlers.
I also enjoyed attending the first annual Great Lakes Surf Festival in Muskegon, MI this year. They had a lot going on including the option to camp right there at the beach. The downwind race was challenging and something I will definitely come back for.
And of course I have to mention “Lagoonapalooza“, the race we organize here in Chicago at Lincoln Park Boat Club. It is always a great opportunity to get new paddlers into racing since we have ideal conditions on our lagoon.
What is your favorite paddling moment and why?
I have to pick just one?! Paddling in December in Iceland with Arctic Surfers was very special.
Still, if I have to pick one it would be being out on Lake Michigan for a sunrise paddle surrounded by my crew.
Do you have a bucket list event?
I would definitely like to do a race in Europe. The Mercedes Benz SUP World Cup in Scharbeutz, Germany is near where I grew up, so that is on the list some day.
The Columbia Gorge Paddle Challenge also looks amazing.
What are you grateful for?
My paddle community! I have never experienced more camaraderie and support in any other sport. Also my health and strength. I am 41 and have never felt stronger than I do now. And I am grateful for the opportunity to share my passion for movement, especially on the water, with others, through my work as a SUP Coach and Personal Trainer.
Advice or tips for paddlers?
Just get out there! If you are just starting out, all you have to do is overcome that initial fear and once you do, a new world will open up to you.
If you are looking to get better at racing, be consistent with your training and never stop learning. Take clinics, read the mullet, check out Paddle Monster, there is a lot of information out there and people are always willing to help.
Do you have a favorite charity?
Lincoln Park Boat Club. We are a non-profit aiming to make water sports accessible to individuals of all physical and financial abilities.
Next time you are in Chicago, contact me! I will make sure to take you out on an unforgettable skyline paddle adventure.