SUP Distance Racers Rise Back To Health and Launch “Keep Standing” Podcast

keep standing podcast
Shane Perrin and Nathan Woods, founders of the Keep Standing podcast, after completing a 164-mile odyssey up the Willamette River. Photo: Shane Perrin

SUP Distance Racers Rise Back To Health and Launch “Keep Standing” Podcast

10 years ago, Shane Perrin was lying on an operating table with a surgeon standing over him. Perrin had a rare kidney disease and could easily have died, had it not been for his mother testing as a donor match and giving her son the ultimate gift: one of her kidneys.

Though Perrin was once clinging to life, you wouldn't know it to see him on a SUP. Since recovering, he achieved a whole host of distance paddling firsts. 340 miles down the Missouri River? Check. First standup paddler to complete the Texas Water Safari? Check. Paddling through snake infested waters in Belize for La Ruta Maya? Check. Plus, he broke the 24-hour SUP flatwater record last year for good measure.

When Nathan Woods heard about Perrin's comeback exploits, he was in dire need of inspiration. After losing most of his lower left leg to a freak football accident, Woods became determined to get active again and soon found SUP. "After my accident, I needed a sport that I could do with the limitations of my leg," Woods said. "SUP was perfect because it was accessible and I could be stable on flatwater."

keep standing
Nathan Woods paddling toward Portland. Photo: Jeremy McLaughlin

 

Woods was soon paddling several times a week, and as his leg healed and his body grew stronger, he began going further and further. When Perrin interviewed him for his Stoke Radio show, Woods shared his plan to paddle 164 miles up the Willamette River, from Eugene to Portland. Always up for a challenge, Perrin asked if he could join in, and the two completed the odyssey in September 2013.

As he was battling back to health, Woods felt like he needed a mantra to rally around, and came up with "Keep Standing", bought the web domain for it and soon was receiving thousands of hits per month. Coincidentally, around the same time a fan asked Perrin to sign her hat after a race. He scrawled the same phrase below his signature.

When the two friends started talking about what else Woods could do with the Keep Standing mission, they settled on a plan. Perrin was eager to get back into broadcasting, as he had ended his Stoke Radio show due to work, training and family commitments, while Woods had been inspired by The Tim Ferris Show and other podcasts. And so, the Keep Standing podcast was born.

The first guest was Charles "Chaka" Webb. Until 1986, Webb was an avid SoCal surfer who lived for waves. But a motorcycle accident left him paralyzed in both legs and thinking his surfing days were over. In 2013, Webb discovered SUP, and after Onnit Ability Boards made him a custom board, was soon back on the water. Within months he entered the Battle of the Paddle, and has since become one of the leading advocates for adaptive paddling and Urban Surf 4 Kids, a nonprofit that provides water-based events for foster children and orphan youth.

"Charles is living proof that SUP isn't just a sport, it's adventure therapy," Woods said. "For me, Charles, Shane and many others, standup has enabled us to rediscover joy."

In keeping with the podcast's "Life is 10% what happens, 90% how you respond" tag line, Woods and Perrin are also featuring inspirational stories from other sports. Another guest was Ryan Reddick, a national circuit motocross rider who was paralyzed after a mistimed landing in 2011. The 21-year-old Reddick has since gotten back on his bike and is helping develop and test an exoskeleton that offers paraplegics the hope of standing and walking again.

"It's not the person who finishes on the podium who always has the most inspiring story," Perrin said. "Often it's the guy at the back of the field who has overcome incredible odds. Those are the stories we want to share through Keep Standing."

Check out the Keep Standing podcast.

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