Paddling helped me become who I am today. It gave me the confidence that I could do something on my own and that I could succeed at it too. Paddling was just mine. Not my brother’s, my parent’s or anyone else in my family, it was all mine. I got to learn on my own. I got to teach my family about it. Paddling has opened many doors for me and has taken me all over the world. If it wasn’t for the cute guy in grade 11 Chemistry that asked me if I wanted to come try this canoeing thing, who knows what I’d be today.
There are all kinds of paddling out there. I compete and coach five different types: outrigger canoe, stand up paddling boarding (SUP), surfski, marathon canoe, dragon boat
I started out in a marathon canoe in 1998 and since then have competed at the Provincial, Canadian National and U.S. National levels. Though I don’t race in marathon much anymore, I still try to get out at least a couple times a year.
While at the 2003 U.S. Nationals for marathon, I had the opportunity to get in an OC6 (6 person outrigger canoe) for the first time. In 2005 when on a teaching placement in Toronto, I joined an outrigger club and fell in love with this kind of paddling as well. Three years later I tried out for Team Canada and got to compete at my first of many World Championships.
I was introduced to dragon boating in university. I figured it was an easy way to get on the water. From then on I helped get the festival going in Parry Sound, was recruited for the Premiere Women’s National team and have gone on to compete in China, Czech Republic and the United States for Team Canada.
More recently I have taken up the challenge to try the fastest growing sport in the world, SUP. I started racing in 2013 and have enjoyed meeting new people and learning as much as I can from them. I’ve been lucky to have had some early success in this sport and look forward to many more years of racing, surfing and learning.
And just for fun I’ve started to dabble in my surfski. I started paddling surfski in 2014 for fun and to help me learn how to better use my legs and improve my rotation but it has quickly grown on me and is now part of my regular paddling schedule.