SUP Women | Butterfly Effect’s Tatiana Howard
Known for: Butterfly Effect Founder, Professional Windsurfer
This is the third installment of a seven-part series that will be highlighting seven inspiring ladies who have made an impact in our sport. This is part of our feature, Real Talk, which originally ran in our 2016 Women’s Issue.
How’s your year going?
It’s been 10 years since the Butterfly Effect (BE) started. That was quite a mark to hit! It’s pretty crazy, I never thought it would get to this point. We have so many girls involved and we’ve done it in 18 or 19 countries now.
How has it developed? How do you feel about where it is now and where it’s heading?
The BE and standup paddling grew together because SUP as a sport isn’t much older. Before I was into windsurfing and kitesurfing. Then we had one standup paddler, Maria Souza, come to the BE event in 2007 with a huge standup board and do the whole downwind (run) with a canoe paddle. The next year it was 10 girls, then it doubled again the next year, then there were 100, 200, 300. The growth of standup paddling and the BE definitely complemented each other. That’s why it grew so much; every girl can jump on a board.
How do you handle inviting new paddlers who haven’t done it before?
At first it was more intermediate riders, so they all had a little background, but then the whole plan became inspiring women to get involved with sports, so that attracted a lot of people who had never done it. Once that audience started growing, we added clinic offerings in the morning. Then we get on the water and the pro riders give people pointers and tips and paddle along with them to help.
What do you think is the greatest thing that holds women back from getting involved in SUP?
It’s all about confidence and support. It’s not a contest, we’re going to be together. We’ll have a Jet Ski there, it’s going to be safe. So I think it’s being confident and knowing that they’re safe.