Nov 20, 2014

"Life is for Deep Kisses, Strange Adventures, Midnight Swims, and Rambling Conversations" ...

These past few weeks have been fun, interesting, difficult, passionate, lonely, and full of bliss...

I dream of the beaches, the races, the people of SUP.... I get perked up and fill with joy during my cool bike commutes through town, putting on my drysuit to go for a beautiful paddle, the fall leaves, the crisp dark night rides, and glorious moments with Andrew and my friends....

My days are filled with moments of thinking of this....

feeling this

and hoping that by staying true to myself it will all come together.... Lots of thinking of about "life" and "my purpose"....

I am stoked to announce that I got a sweet little contract with what seems to be a pretty rad school up high in the hilltops of West Vancouver.... I get to further explore the outdoors in the snow and share its amazingness with students and staff.. I could not have asked for a more perfect gig at this point in time... Thank you Collingwood School for giving me this opportunity, I look forward to my time with you!!!!!! Bring on the SNOW!

I also have been playing outside quite a bit with Andrew and friends... We have been night riding (I love night time adventures,.... something very magical about being out in the wild outdoors while most of the world is inside safe and sound)... and going on some pretty epic rides around the area... I have also had the time to let myself run free in the trails.. Trail running is just one of the best things around, just you and the environment trying to create something magical... After a minor break from paddling I have been able to get out a few times on my own but more excitingly I've paddled in some new areas with some pretty amazing folk.... Blessed...

Most importantly just keep finding your pure joys of life... its what keeps me going...

pre paddle fun photo by Heather Aquino

Live, Love, Laugh,...DREAM!


Nov 3, 2014

Riding the Wave....

1st annual tofino paddle surf SUP invitational
surfers pic:event

Last weekend I attended the 1st annual Tofino Paddle Surf SUP contest in the beautiful Tofino BC. Tofino is part of the temperate rainforest and is one of the wettest places in BC accumulating around 130inches annual rainfall... It is a thriving yet still uncrowded surf town. Most beaches are protected under the national parks which keeps them open for the public and still pretty wild which is kinda cool if you ask me...
set up on north chesterman pic:event
Canada is a huge country with few people. Earlier this fall I found out the state of California has more people than all of Canada. Due to our large land mass and few people in between it is often difficult for the small sports with large equipment needs to travel across country to compete against each other. In SUP we struggle with this a little.. Unfortunately or fortunately? for us, it is often cheaper to fly to Europe, Hawaii, or south america than within our own country and therefore CAN can struggle with uniting from east to west coast..... BUT something magical happened this weekend...Over 60 SUP surf enthusiasts gathered together all the way from the east through to the west coast... we came together in the small town of Tofino to celebrate this wonderful sport of stand up paddleboarding. This was not a race but a judged SUP surf competition and it would be here that we would crown the champions and those that would come represent Canada at the 2015 ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships.
surfer pic:event

surfer pic:event

north chesterman pic:event

Heath Male open winner pic:event

 28 competitors in the Open Men’s, 28 in the Amateur division and 8 Women gathered on the rainy Friday evening at the Tofino Brewing Co to pick up registration, meet, and enjoy a beverage or two....It was the perfect venue for the opening of the weekend:) and not to mention there was a lot of fantastic beer on hand...

The next two days were filled with Surfing and shredding on the waves and was led by Catherine, Zak, head judge Chris Freeman, and a stellar group of volunteers.. Tents were up, beach fires going, and people rippin it up on the water.... The rain did not let up on Saturday but the spirits were still high... Sunday the sun came out and people were giving it all they got out on the water... The conditions were tough but everyone shredded;)

I was lucky enough to judge, tabulate, and help out where needed as well as take a shot at competing... I magically made it into the finals where I went out and had some fun.... I came out with a 4th place overall, and lots of experience..... AMAZING.... Proud of the ladies that came out and can't wait to see the number of women double and triple in the coming years:)
final four ladies right off water

The event was webcasted live all weekend on You can relieve the moments at your leisure:)
Official results and every contestant's placing will be posted on the event website at in the next few days....

The awards banquet was held at Wolf in the Fog, which was perfect... We took over the upstairs where we enjoyed Tofino Brewing Beers, awards, and then some pretty outstanding food. If you are finding yourself in Tofino in the future, definitely check out this place, it will be worth it:)
final four ladies

CONGRATS to our NEWEST CANADIAN TEAM Members, off to the WORLD'S in 2015!!! Heath Thompson-1st place,  Stuart Robinson second place, and Diane J Wenzel 1st place Women's

The trophies were amazing and the original art 1st place trophies and 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place stars were pretty unbelievable and made by local Tofino artist, Sol Maya.... Woohoo...
First place award made by Sol Maya pic:from event

Also I managed to win the best prize ever from WoodShed Collective through a door prize... This little skateboard is beautiful and will hopefully help me with the feel of surfing when I am missing the waves... can't wait:)

woodshed collective shateboard made by Zak 

Thanks to all the sponsors, volunteers, and surfers that helped make this happen!!! Can't wait for next year already:)

I surfed the SIC Recon 9.4 x 29 and it was perfect for the conditions...
My paddle was a Werner Small Nitro
I was judging in my surffur all weekend... and was wearing a 5'4 ripcurl wetsuit(but maybe a little much for the mild temps over the weekend?!?)
judging pic:event

a perfect finish to a crazy, exciting year of racing SUP around the world....
kristy and I right after finals

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!
1st Annual Tofino Pa

Oct 14, 2014

Bad Luck, Good Luck and a lucky twist of Fate at the Turtle Bay World Series Finals Race: World Series Overall Champion

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover." Mark Twain

You should read the article Chris parker wrote on SUPRacer which sums up a lot very well.....thanks for taking the time to recap:)

Casper photo by StandUpMagazin

women's final photo by StandUpMagazin

Me during final coming into finish photo by StandUpMagazin

This weekend I got to spend the end of the race season back on Oahu but this time on the NorthShore at Turtle Bay Resort for the last of the World Series Races. This year I raced in Abu Dhabi, Germany, Hunting Beach CA, and Turtle Bay HI with the SUP World Series Race Tour. I started off the year at Abu Dhabi(race #1 for me but race #2 of series) then I found myself in Germany on a last minute whim and then again in Huntington on a more strategic whim. Then, due to points and a battle for the title I found myself at the finals at Turtle Bay....

After the epic weekend of Battle of the Paddle at Salt Creek... I was mentally and physically beat after BOP. I think I put it all out on the table at BOP and it paid off...still kind of riding a 'I can't believe that was me high' from BOP:) To race again the next weekend in Hawaii was hard to even think about after a weekend like BOP.

I was lucky that my SIC teammate Sonni also wanted to come to Turtle Bay so we could share accommodations, car, etc, support each other and have some fun too:)

Sonni and I photo by SUWS

We stayed at the Backpackers Hawaii at Waimea, rented a sweet SUV with racks and got our boards to the island in one piece. We were both on the production SIC X12'6PRO. We arrived, our boards arrived and the swell and wind also arrived in full force. I was not too stoked about the conditions when we arrived...Pipeline was going off, it was very Hawaii Northshore, kind of happy to watch the surfers strut their stuff in the big waves from the beach...haha.. By the last race of the last day of the weekend I realized that the waves were not that scary and I think my confidence grew a little more from this past weekend. I still have a long way to go in the surf and in downwind but each time I am out there it is more practice and I get just a little better...

found a Harbour Surfboard at Surfer Bar Cafe

Saturday was the long distance course... a hefty 11-13miles depending on your route. Unfortunately for me this day just didn't go as planned for many reasons some my own and some not... The waves were still pumping, the course start changed many times. I was real nervous before the start of the race as the start really did not look inviting or possible... I got convinced that the start through the channel was safe and the good way to go.... WHEN, first I felt something funny under my visor and when I pulled it off I flicked a huge brown spider from my hair onto my board and had a minor breakdown... I am terrified of spiders....) then at the last minute and I mean last minute my world turned upside down for a bit, the start changed to going straight through the waves but with a lot of confusion and no time to explain the gun went off, to say the least I was frazzled, got smashed by some big waves, turned around and was ready to call it quits when I realized I really wanted to paddle... so after the useless lifeguard couldn't tell me where the channel was I went in search of it while  most competitors were already out through the surf and downwinding their way down the course. I eventually found the channel and got out and just paddled the rest of the course for me as I knew I was out of any contention for anything... I crossed the line with a combination of anger, relief, sadness, and just some blah... haha. I thought the title was over and tried to deal with it... Sonni, my teammate was the best, we enjoyed Thai on the beach foodtruck and she was the best support ever... THANK YOU!

Me finish of distance photo by SUWS

Sunday I felt like I truly had nothing to lose after Saturday's “race” so I kind of went in without much of anything.... haha... fate, luck, and determination played a role in the events that occurred. I needed something really crazy to happen for me to take the win and in racing the motto is never give up 'cause anything can happen....
Start of women final photo by StandUpMagazin

photo by SUWS

halie and I photo by SUWS
Women final sprint photo by SUWS
After a crash with a ski trying to place one of the buoys everything got delayed for about 2 hours... I was starting to get relaxed.. haha.. Once they got eveyrthing organized it was close to 3pm. My first heat I didn't make it through and had to race the repocharge to move on. I had success going out but then got pretty smashed coming in... I was tired and not feeling the mojo I normally have... In the repo heat I got lucky had a pretty clean exit and pretty clean return coming in behind Sonni who had a great heat... I was feeling much better but still figured my title was gone and it was just about getting through the finals... Two things needed to happen in the finals, I needed to have a great race and Angie needed to have a bad race for me to even have a chance at getting the overall championships... well, who would have guessed it but I pulled it together and happen to have a great final in the sprints coming in 2nd and at the same time poor Angie saw it all fall apart (mostly her board...but her title for 2014)... We had a huge set roll in on our final and I was lucky enough that I was out in front and just got some whitewash whereas the girls behind Halie and I got nailed by a HUGE set and Angie's plug blew out of her board and she lost her board.... and that was the end of her race... So due to each of us having a pretty unlucky and terrible day at the two day event mine was just slightly less terrible and gave me the overall title for the year. Racing is kind of crazy like that:) I held it together in the sprints and put in a solid performance when I needed it most and it turned out well for me. I was stoked but also felt so bad for Angie,... we had a great battle throughout the year and she really is one of the best competitors I have ever met, her attitude and work ethic is something to aspire too... so thank you Angie for teaching me loads throughout the year...

huge set in the women final photo by StandUpMagazin

So there you have it a nice way to cap off my first year as a PRO SUP athlete with the World Series Champion 2014 title...

Connor and I accepting overall win trophies photo by SUWS

What a year...there were a lot of successes but some of the ones that stand out for me are: ISA gold in the distance, Fastest Female Paddler on Earth title, BOP distance and overall champion and now the Overall World Series Champion... phew... time for a rest:) and to think a year ago I was still a teacher teaching full time.... a lot can happen in a year if you put your mind and passion to it.

thank you Andrew Dye for being the best hubby ever!!!!!
SIC Maui you guys build great boards and are just the best family helping each of us get to where we are...
Werner paddles and Nikki Rekman Sales: I love my paddles
Season Five: technical clothing that everyone needs to try out, comfortable, functional and fashionable:) love this stuff!
Ryders Eyewear: local pride, great sunnies, love Ryders sunnies
Onit Pro: ensuring I have the glide I need
Larry Alison Fins
Nutritional needs: Feed the Machine, Clif Bar, Vitargo
Training: MadLab Crossfit Vancouver, Ultimate Potential, Olympus movement and mobility
Body health: Moveo, Barb Tyers RMT, Jenny Wesanko
Pro Lite, Surffur, Indo Boards,
SUPRacer, SUPtheMag, SUPConnect, StanUP Magazin, and all the great media that help promote SUP around the world

"Do the one thing you think you cannot do. Fail at it. Try again. Do better the second time. The only people who never tumble are those who never mount the high wire. This is your moment. Own it." Oprah Winfrey

live ,love, laugh,...DREAM!


Oct 9, 2014

BATTLE OF THE PADDLE 2014: the BIGGEST race weekend in the WORLD: Salt Creek Beach, Dana Point CA

Where to begin?!?! A fairtytale finish to my first year racing as a PRO SUP athlete. I really never even imagined this would be ME! A year ago, I was struggling with an internal feeling that I could do more in SUP... but with a great job (tough to find), not being "young", having no clear idea how to make it happen,  it was a tough call to leave my job and take the plunge.

Life lesson: Live with no regrets.

My goal this year was to travel, race at lots of international races, do well, and get myself in the game.

I never thought I would find success so quickly in my first year....

This weekend it all came together for me. I conquered many fears, doubts, and challenges. I pushed myself to a different place I have never been. I didn't think I was as hungry for it as I was but when the gun went off I turned into beast mode and conquered. :)

At Huntington two weeks ago, I learned a lot but in these last two weeks I learned more than I ever thought possible in such a short time.
Going into BOP I was already content with how amazing my trip to California had been with the new people and community I was meeting. The coaching from Ian and the Paddle Academy and the lovely people helping me out in every which way possible.

Ian Cairns took me under his wing and taught me about the ocean, different surfing skills, and a lot about attitude. I can remember our "first lesson" we sat in a truck talked, watched, learned for hours. It was amazing. He took me from knowing very little about the surf, being pretty frightened to hang in the surf zone/break zone, and not really have much skill at all; to understanding how to read the ocean, learn to understand where to be in the surfzone not to get pounded but be in the spot to catch waves, and much about the skill set needed to actually surf the wave... Now, I am far from being a good surfer,.. that will take time and practice but I am better than I was, and am having fun out there catching waves and going for it:)

The Paddle Academy has helped me with training...  Their guidance on and off the water has been huge for my training and confidence AND they are an amazing group of people:)

Going into BOP weekend, I spent the week at the SIC house with Georges, Sonni, Kenny, Chinois, Tamarua, Pilou, Majory, and Heilani. It was been great team bonding as we shared ideas, strategies, laughs, and stories.

I was feeling excited, nervous, tired, scared, driven, and a little just unsure of what to expect throughout the week. You could feel the vibe heat up as the weekend came closer and closer. Sure I wanted to win but at the same time my confidence in the BIG waves just wasn't up to par and I just couldn't wrap my head around how it would all come together. I did know I was physically ready and with a season full of racing becoming accustomed to the mental side of racing. I actually had a strange calm before the storm about me.

Saturday Course race day:
The ladies didn't race until 3pm but I wanted to be there at 10am for the first heat of the men to support and WATCH and learn.... It was HOT and long though so it was important to find shade, keep hydrated, and stay relaxed... There was carnage, and it looked tough and the waves were pretty big... Once the men heats finished it pretty much was pre race time for us. 3 hours before race time. I was trying to stay calm but nerves were starting to flutter in... I got myself prepared with fuel, had my SIC X12'6PRO get a cleaning from Onit Pro and eventually got myself on the start line. It was time to attack. Our start was tough with the whistle blowing as a huge set rolled in. I am not sure what I did exactly but it was a combination of being in the right spot, right strategic moves, and good push over the whitewater that allowed me to be out front with Fiona Wylde to the first buoy turn, Fiona went slightly off course and it was my chance to get out in front. I managed to surf a wave in and by lap two was mixed in with Candice, Annabel, Fiona, and Jenny... I am not exactly sure what went on each lap but I know I caught a few bombs and surfed them in (which I still need a picture of) had some luck going out and paddled hard hard hard. I tried to stay focused and hoped for some goodluck. Candice had a solid lead and i was just a second off of Annabel coming across the line in 3rd. Due to a technical penalty given to Annabel I got bumped up to 2nd for the official results of day 1. I could not believe it. I was riding a huge high. I was hoping I could come down for the distance race but.. there were a lot of emotions on Day 1 through to the morning of Day 2.

Sunday Distance Race:
It was an early start  and the waves were still pumping. I was paddling the production SIC X14PROlite and got off to one of the worst starts I could have had... literally in the back of the pack but then something possessed me and I just paddled like a maniac and didnt' get tired. I managed to go from almost last to paddling up to Annabel(who was in 1st) before the last turn. I would see a pack of people and decide I would catch them and then when I did, I would find my next group to try and catch. As we turned the last buoy on our way to the finish another huge set rolled in.  I didn't catch the first two waves but caught a smaller one and rode it in while Annabel caught one of the bigger ones but then fell. Without knowing she make a mistake I surfed in to a beach crowd yelling RUN RUN RUN and ran my way into first place! I could not believe it....

With a 2nd and a 1st I ended up winning the overall champion for the event which is called the most combative award. Dreams do come true:)

Congrats to EVERYONE who participated at this year's BOP Salt Creek. It was a lot of gnar out there... You are all champions:)

Could not have done all of this without my husband, Andrew, family and friends and the help of my sponsors.  SIC Maui, Werner Paddles, Nikki Rekman Sales, Season Five, Kavu, Ryders Eyewear, Larry Allison Fins, ClifBar, Feed the Machine, Crossfit Vancouver, OnIt Pro, Vitargo

Live, Love, Laugh,....DREAM!

Sep 27, 2014

"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much"

"Every successful individual knows that his or her achievement depends on a community of persons working together."

Jermaie Vaine leading the morning stretch photo: Mike Muir
 The Paddle Academy run by Mike Eisert and Jaime Donnelly has been a new family for me here in SoCal. I have Braly Joy from SIC to thank for introducing me to Mike and Jaime and inviting me to the practices earlier in April. The paddle academy has brought close to 40 youngsters into the sport through fun, hard work, skill development, and community. They have created something very magical and I love being a part of it. There is a whole lot of amazing coaching, true camaraderie, really tough practices/insane workouts, amazing learning experiences, and open arms/non judgemental love no matter what you do and who you are. THANK YOU for taking me in with open arms and teaching me what you know:)))))
Coming in from an interval run photo: Mike Muir

leading the pack but not for long photo: Mike Muir

we all love sand running right?!? 

Jeramie giving me some pointers photo: Mike Muir

Mike, Jaime, and Ollie great coaches and extraordinary ppl

 Two amazing families have helped me out these past weeks while in SoCal training and racing. The Howson's (Harbour Surfboard) and the Russells. They have made my stay here so comfortable and memorable. They have gone out of their way to make sure I was happy, healthy, and feeling great. They have showed me around town, invited me to family functions, helped me get to training sessions, and fed me some pretty amazing meals. They are two families I will never forget and hope to stay in touch with for a long time yet. They have created an experience that surmounts winning any event; they created memories and moments that make me realize that following my passions and chasing my dreams was/is worth the hardships and the risks: because if I hadn't taken the chances to do this very thing I am doing,  I would not have met these amazing people and had unique and life changing moments:) THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Howson's opened their doors to me 

Jaime, Denise, Kelly and Ollie all ppl who have helped me along my journey

Pat and Daniel Russell opened their home to me

Learning from the best of the best in the surf Ian Cairns

Ian Cairns is a surfing legend and a fabulous coach. He is an expert in the surf zone; skilled, knowledgeable, and personable.  He is helping me with my weakness and my fears surrounding huge scary crashing waves:)  I am focused and ready to take on the challenges and can't wait to see the end result:) With Ian in my court I know I will learn and succeed! 

"Growth is never by mere chance; it is the result of forces working together."

live, love, laugh,...DREAM!