From February 20-25, 140 of the world’s best Stand Up Paddle racers and surfers from 17 different countries will throw down on the beaches of Miraflores, Peru at the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships. In a unique format, not only will athletes be competing for individual gold, but they will be earning points for their nine member home country team. At the end of four days of events (SUP Surfing, SUP racing short and long course, Prone Paddleboard short and long course) results are tallied and a lone country will hoist the cup! Not only are we stoked on the format, we are proud to have six Hobie Team riders competing for Team USA (Emmy Merrill, Brandi Baksic, Colin McPhillips and Jay Wild ) and Team Australia (Justin Holland and Shakira Westdorp).
I had a chance to catch up with the four Hobie riders on Team USA (making up the rest of Team USA are: Sean Poynter, Matt Becker, Rob Rojas, Shane Scoggins, and Gillian Gibree) yesterday, to ask them each a few questions before they headed for the airport. Their answers are as unique as they are!
What event are you competing in?
Jay: As of now, just the Technical Race.
Colin: SUP Surfing only, no racing.
Emmy: SUP Surfing
Brandi: SUP Distance. It’s 11 3/4 miles, and it’s supposed to be gnarly condition wise. Side chop, wind, lots of bump… I’m not sure if everyone is going to finish. Also, the Elite race and relay. The relay is going to be fun, it has prone and SUP. Four people on each team… one girl SUP, one girl prone, one guy SUP and one guy prone.
Who is your biggest competition?
Jay: The Aussies. With Jamie Mitchell and Travis Grant in the technical, they are going to be hard to beat. Eric Terrien from France in distance. Brazil and England produce great athletes. The competition is going to come from everywhere…
Colin: Antoine Del Perro… gotta get him back for beating me at the SUP World Tour in Huntington Beach. Justin Holland and Sean Pointer too.
Emmy: I haven’t competed against any of the girls, yet, but I’ve herd Shakira is really good.
Brandi: I’m not sure who some of the team competitors are, yet… I’ve heard South Africa and New Zealand have team members who have done Iron Mans. I’ don’t know what’s out there… with my luck, probably a bunch of Krisztina Zur’s!
What is your biggest fear going in?
Jay: Where I’m at in my training I’m a little nervous… I spent a lot of time hanging out with my new son so I might not be in the best condition. Also, I have been doing a Push Training program for the past six weeks. It’s great, but it can leave you susceptible to sickness and injury.
Colin: Getting there with damaged equipment, it’s happened to me a lot over the years… but I don’t stress over it on the flight anymore, once I check the bag I just let it go and leave it in the airlines hands. If I get there and something is broken, I figure it out.
Emmy: That I won’t be prepared enough; I haven’t had much time to practice. As a full time student, I needed to take time to get ahead in my schoolwork so I can keep my grades up while I’m away.
Brandi: That I will over surf myself on my off days, and not have enough energy for my events… haha!
What is your proudest accomplishment this year?
Jay: Having my first child with my wife Anik, nothing else compares.
Colin: Finally beating my friend Byron Kurt at the Hobie/Hennessey SUP Challenge and taking my first win in racing.
Emmy: Receiving a scholarship to Point Loma Nazarene University and getting a 4.0 in my first semester. My hard work is paying off…!
Brandi: Being able to take my daughter Summer to Peru with me.
Do you feel the ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships are a precursor to the Olympics?
Jay: I would like it to be.
Colin: I would like to hope it will be.
Emmy: Yes, I think it is.
Brandi: I think it’s a good first step.
If SUP did make it as an Olympic Event, what form would you see it in?
Jay: I think as a sprint race with buoy turns. Personally, I would like to see it as a BOP (Battle of the Paddle) style race, in and out through the surf with lots of turns, but I think with so many countries lacking waves, it would make that impossible.
Colin: As a flat water sprint with turns. I can’t see anything happening with SUP surf in the Olympics though, not enough countries have surf. The SUP racing can take hold, any country with a body of water could have a team.
Emmy: A sprint race, similar to the Olympic kayak sprints. It would be great to watch as a spectator. I don’t think SUP would make it as a surf event, shortboarding isn’t in, yet.
Brandi: First as an exhibition…I like the closeness of the ISA and the IOC. I think it gives SUP an edge. You can SUP anywhere there is a body of water, so it has a definate advantage over a lot of sports…. but I’ll be in my lounge chair at the retirement home watching it on TV by the time it happens.
How does it feel being part of Team USA?
Jay: It’s deeper for me, I’ve always wanted to be part of a team like this… I’ve always admired people who are part of the USA teams… right when Jimmy Terrell (paddle coach for Team USA) called me, my first question was, “Can I wear a Team USA jacket??? Then I’m in.”
Colin: Feels great. Our team is a group of friends and excellent athletes. Win or loose its going to be a great time…. and, I can’t wait to out drink Brandi.
Emmy: I’m curious how we will stack up against the other teams. I am extremely proud that I was chosen and I get to be part of the first USA Team.. It’s an honor!
What are you looking forward to most in Peru?
Jay: Just being in Peru… Everything, all of it, the whole thing is exciting for me… and surfing the land of lefts, even though I’m regular.
Colin: I’m excited to see the countryside of Peru and get on the waves I’ve heard so much about. I’m excited for the food, too. I love eating new things.
Emmy: I’m excited to be going to a new country, I have always wanted to visit South America. Also, the experience itself.. competing on a big scale and growing from the journey.
Brandi: Warm water and good waves… having a good time with the team and going paragliding with my daughter Summer.
What do you want people to know about you?
Jay: I didn’t move to the beach till I was 14… almost everyone else coming is from an ocean.. I’m from a lake. I represent the inland, like Rick Kane**. (**Editor’s note: See movie North Shore)
Colin: I really love teaching people to surf, I like to share my stoke for the sport with people who are brand new.
Emmy: I’m obsessed with Ultimate Frisbee and I’m going through a Beyonce phase.
Brandi: I’m 15 years older than my competition… and that I should have worn my Watermans sunscreen sooner.
Want to give your sponsors some love?
Jay: Hobie SUP, Watermans Landing and Tahoe Waterman, Hobie Polarized, Quickblade Paddles, Lacore Pro Training, Watermans Applied Science, OAM, and Ocean Minded.
Colin: Hobie SUP and Surfboards, Rainbow Sandals, OAM, Hobie Polarized, and Future Fins.
Emmy: Hobie SUP and Surfboards, Hobie Polarized, Sweetwater Wear, Native Instinct/John Cooper.
Brandi: Hobie SUP, Hobie Polarized, Quickblade Paddles, Sambazon, Watermans Applied Science, OAM, Future Fins, On it Pro, Sportkini, Inno Racks.
Any last thoughts??
Jay: I want to thank everyone who donated time and money to me so I could go on this trip of a lifetime. They know who they are, and they are appreciated.
Colin: I’d like to thank Hobie for backing me 100% and Sparky at Rainbow Sandals. I look forward to the camaraderie of the team and of the SUP community.
Emmy: I want to thank my family for the support and everyone at Hobie for my equipment, and for standing by me when I’m far away at school. I’d also like to thank my professors at Poinr Loma for working with me so I can go on trip.
Brandi: All my sponsors have been amazing this year, but I really want to thank Hobie for having faith in me and sending me to this event. I’m so excited.. it’s going to be fun.
Sadly, we didn’t get a chance to catch up with Justin “The Frotha” Holland or Shakira Westdorp before the headed to Peru from Australia… but we did grab a quote off of Justin’s Facebook page.
Justin: Mate , I’m excited about traveling to L.A tomorrow and then onto Peru , for the world isa championships. Have some great boards, my HOBIE 7’11 and 8’4 cm torque ,should be great to meet up with my team mates in L.A and also catch up with all the other countries …………justin
I don’t know about anyone else, but I am beyond excited to see how this unfolds! You can watch the event live starting Sunday here: ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships Live. Go Peru!!! Go USA!!! Go Australia!!! Go Everyone!!! Go Hobie!!!!! Woo!!!