Nov 23, 2016

Keepin' the dream ALIVE in Fiji: 2016 ISA SUP and Paddleboard World Champs

 Photos by Ryan Knysh:) 

I am sitting in the Vancouver airport waiting for my last flight home to Vernon and it already all feels like a distant dream. Travel days are always funny as I find myself in the in between world where I cannot wait to get home and see my family but also kind of dread all the "real life" things that come with arriving home.  My mind is stuck in a sort of  semi dreamland where my brain is jammed pack with memories of all the amazingness that just occurred. My Fiji experience was filled with a mix bag of emotions that came to be through leaving a 10 month old at home, not winning gold, winning gold, getting scared, seeing beauty, meeting new people and reconnecting with old friends,...ah man the list can just go on....

I got to spend a whole lot of time with the race portion of team Canada and this rad crew along with Captain Adrian made my trip a truly memorable one. In life, I am learning, it really is all about the people you meet and the connections you make with them. I feel so lucky to have been able to travel the world and meet so many unbelievable people and share memorable moments with them.

Fiji does not have to do much to create the sensation of living in a picture perfect postcard dream.  If you are a water person then this is the place for you. If you like intense heat and sunshine this is also the place for you.... If you have a pocket full of cash (which I don't have...) this is also the place for you. hahaha....but seriously it is a pretty amazing little piece of paradise.

The Canadian team consisting of
Catherine Bruhwiler, Jeff and Finn Spencer, Alison Wood, Rob Kavcic, Ryan Knysh, Jason Bennett, MIke Darbyshire and myself were truly amazing people in every way. They created an unforgetable trip and made us all proud to be Canadian:) THANK YOU team for being your awesome selves:)

ISA Worlds
The technical race was windy and tough but I knew I could do it. It was a long day in the sun and on a crowded boat but it was all part of the experience of being there competing.  As an athlete it was important to manage all the inconveniences to the best of my ability. 16 athletes made it through to the final. In the final, I didn't have my best start but also not my worst so I just went with it and gave it my best. I could quickly see that spots 1 and 2 were out of my reach and likely 3rd as well but I wasn't giving up on it. I was battling it out with Karla from Aus for fourth. I would catch her on the upwind and she would distance herself from me on the downwind portions of the course. I could never get enough ahead so it would be a large battle for me on my weaker downwind leg into the finish... I lost, and came in 5th just out of podium and a little heart broken. Its always a tough one being the one who just misses the podium. I was starting to realize that my current life of mommy, work, lack of serious training was showing in my performance. Although I felt good I still have a ways to go to be where I once was.

The distance race was to be my specialty. Well in the past that is. I executed the perfect start and first 10 minutes. I couldn't believe it really....haha I was exactly where I wanted to be out front... and then I just started to fade and fade and fade and just kept on fading... it was unreal, such a thing has never happened to me and I can't really explain it. I just could not go any faster... Incredible.. it was hot and flat (which in the past was perfect lina conditions....) but now not so much.. haha... I crossed the line and just felt empty and slightly embarrassed. I couldn't believe that my body could have changed so drastically after having a child etc... and I was clearly undertrained and not recovered:) I took it pretty hard,.... in a fun kind of way;)

We had a tough heat for the Team relays on Sunday so we all just paddled our best and enjoyed the ride.
The last race of the event was a new event. The 200m sprint. It was not worth team points but still considered an event. I wanted this win so badly but I have to admit my confidence was low going in. it was the people surrounding me that got me pumped up and motivated: it was their belief in my abilities and mind. I was focused and nervous but also just took it with stride. I got through my heat and in the final just gave it my all. I could feel the ladies close to me but I stayed focused on the finish line and keeping my speed. 200m is a funny distance as you just start to hit your max right before the finish so it gets quite painful in the last seconds and you  have to keep pushing and not make a mistake. Well,  I managed to capture that GOLD medal. It may not have been the most important race but it was important to me and I can now be at home with pride, motivation, and inspiration. Thank you team for the support.

I hope I can one day repay all of you that supported me.... THANK you from the bottom of my heart...

Thanks to the team sponsors: Vaikobi for the rad outfits and those that supported us and helped kit us out:)

THANKS first off to Andrew, Trish and Tav.... for making it easier for me to get away. THANK You to all my friends and family near and far for all the support. Lastly I could not have done it without Tourism Vernon, SIC Maui, Nikki Rekman Sales, Sun N SUP, Onit Pro, Dylan Walters, Yvonne and Kenta, Kalavida Surf Shop, Werner Paddles, Kavu, Ryders Eyewear, UB Super, ClifBar, Crossfit Vernon, SD name a few:)

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!

Nov 6, 2016

Fiji Bound: Heading to World Championships to represent Canada for SUP on Thursday:)

Its kind of mind boggling to think of what my life was like at 2015 Worlds in Mexico. How can life feel and be so different in such a short amount of time!?!?!

At the time of 2015 World SUP Champs in Mexico
I was living in Vancouver BC: now I live in Vernon/Coldstream BC a 5 hour drive east to the land of sun, orchards, lakes, and even more of an outdoor paradise...

I was contract outdoor ed teaching/living the life of a PRO SUP athlete: Now a PE teacher in the public school systems and slightly less feel of the PRO athlete life but there is still some lingering aspects that I hope stick around for a while yet:)

I at the time did not know I had a baby growing inside of me so with all do respects I was childless: now have a 10 month old baby boy named Tavas.  He just rocks my world in all the right ways:)

My hubby and I owned an apartment: we now own a house and Andrew did an amazing job on the new kitchen we renovated.

I knew a whole crew of amazing folks and now know an even larger crew of amazing folks:)

I digress...

Its been a roller coaster of a ride in all the right ways.... Following your dreams and passions and excelling at them is never easy: The training, the logistics, the team building, the life balance. I have had good weeks and tougher weeks.... Juggling the job, motherhood, being a wife, training, adventuring, friendship building etc its been a blast but definitely has had some challenging moments. I love it is one fullfilling adventure and I would not have it any other way;)

Am I ready for Fiji? I have no clue.
Did I train enough? I have no idea.

What I do know is that I got out on the water when I could, I got to the gym when I could and I embraced as much creativity to make me feel as prepared as I could considering my circumstances. I bike to work, I run with Tav for one of his nap times, I work out in the basement, etc.

I am excited to represent Canada for my 3rd ISA. This is one of my favourite races of the year as there is so much country pride and it is about so much more than just yourself.... I am always so proud to represent Canada. I would love to hear the anthem once again...

THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart to all of those that have helped me get to these world champs. I have had support from close and far and do not even know where to begin in the repayment of heart felt gratitude.

I am beyond stoked to finally have a full Canadian team at the ISA champs:) This is our first year of full representation among all disciplines. We have a rad crew with great talent and I can't wait to see what each athlete can do... but no matter what I am beyond proud of each of them and feel so lucky that I can captain such an amazing crew:) GO CANUCKS:)))))))))))))

What am I racing? I am racing an 18km distance race. Map below. It looks epic and stunning. Pretty stoked... it also sounds like there will be a whole bunch of different conditions, surf, open ocean, flat, chop, downwind.... interesting to see what it will shape up to be like... This is d=typically my stronger discipline but I think it will depend on the conditions and how my mind and body react. I have not had very much ocean time since moving to Vernon (lake country) and having a baby....

and a course race..... looks kind of epic... It was originally planned in a more subdued part of the ocean which was more of my thing but hey I will go out and enjoy the ride as much as possible:) Hopefully my surf legs come back to me pretty quick;) I do naturally have great starts and it seems like a fairly short course so it will be interesting to see how my mind and body react to the course presented below:)

So I am off on Thursday leaving my husband, Tav, and students at VSS in Vernon. (Lucky for Tav and Andrew, Andrew's mom is flying in from the UK to help out:)) I am off to travel to a warm paradise to continue to follow my passions, inspire, compete, live the dream:)))))

Thank you to family, SIC, Tourism Vernon, Werner Paddles, Nikki Rekman Sales, Sun n SUP, OnIt PRO, Kavu, SUPSkin, UB Super, ClifBar, Ryders Eyewear, Kalavida Surf Shop, and friends near and far.... I hope I can do you all proud, I hope I can do Canada proud:)

You will be able to follow the event on the ISA website at

live, love, laugh,..DREAM!