What’s your name, age and location/home paddle turf?
Kristin Apotsos, 39, from Melbourne Beach, FL. I am fortunate to have easy access to the ocean as well as the Indian River Lagoon.
What style of paddling do you prefer? (touring/racing/yoga/fitness/fishing/surfing….)
Paddling meets my fun, athletic, social, outdoor, and competitive needs. In 2012 I began using standup paddling (SUP) as a training tool for triathlons since I could not run due to a nagging injury. SUP has definitely improved my cardiovascular endurance and overall strength (legs, hips, shoulders, and core). It is a fantastic cross training workout for triathlons and the cyclocross season.
How did you get introduced to stand-up paddling?
Frankly, I saw photos of standup paddling and knew I’d like it. After spending about 5 minutes on my friend Dean Heimmermann’s massive SUP in late 2010, I promised myself that I’d compete in the 2011 Florida State Paddleboard Championship. Carol Randazzo kindly let me borrow her carbon race board for the event. ‘Ill-prepared’ would be an understatement for this supposedly 7 mile ocean race that was held in 15-20 knot winds and large seas. The race turned into 9 mile survival event due to an errant turning mark. Knowledge of completing that event gave me confidence that I could handle other races.
How long have you been paddling? 2.5 years
What is your favorite spot for a paddle? And what makes it so great?
I enjoy paddling from the east (Indian River Lagoon) or west end (Atlantic Ocean) of 6th Avenue in Melbourne Beach-depending on the wind direction and ocean conditions. My time is limited and these locations are quick to hit, yet still provide a wide variety of places to see or stop by, such as Starbucks on 5th Ave.
Do you have any paddling peeps? (A spouse/significant other/friend/child/dog….)
Most of the time, I paddle in the company of dolphins, mullet, manatees, pelicans, and rays. Occasionally I’ll have the opportunity to train with Jamie Twigg and Todd Waskuch. John Hughes is my faithful extreme downwinder buddy. I plan to organize more group paddle challenges and training sessions this year.
Tell us about your equipment – from board(s) and paddle(s), to fave or must-have accessories:
My race board is a 12’6” Rogue Stocker; I’ve paddled 450+ miles on her since I bought her 9 months ago. We’ve had many adventures together! Prior to owning my Rogue Stocker, my husband built a wooden 12’6” race board for me. I call it the ‘Wooden Wonder,’ it is a gorgeous board and performs well in the ocean. I also have a 10’ Laird surf SUP. It serves as an ocean-play-platform for my two children and is fun for SUP surfing.
I primarily use an all carbon fiber Quickblade Kahana 90. I also own a super lightweight carbon AXE, also a 90.
Beside lots of sunscreen and a mandatory PFD, my must-have accessory for long paddles is my Dakine Waterman hydration pack. It has two pockets for snacks and a built-in whistle for emergencies.
If time/money were unlimited resources – where would you go for a paddle and why?
I would love to do a 2 week expedition-style paddle of the French Polynesian islands or perhaps the islands of Japan. The best vacations are self-supported, a little uncertain, and completely outdoors.
Do you have any paddling-related goals? If yes, please share:
I’d like to continue to place in the top 3 for the elite women’s 12’6” division. I get the impression that my competition continues to train a lot. And, I may need to revisit the Key West Classic. That race kicked my butt last year; I feel that race and I have unfinished business.
Funny/weird/interesting paddling OR non-paddling related fact about you:
Enough about me. It’s time YOU share your paddling background. I look forward to reading other’s highlights of their stand up paddling experiences, dreams, and goals. Please send in your replies so that you can be Epic Boardsports next week’s