SUP Women: Aline Adisaka
Aline Adisaka is always up for a challenge. Two years ago she was invited to participate in a local SUP contest. So, with no experience under her belt except for traditional surfing, she hunted down an SUP board, trained for three days, and took home a second place finish. Now, the Brazilian travels the globe, competing on the World Tour with some of SUP’s top female athletes. In this edition of SUP Women, Adisaka tells us about her first experience with SUP, what it’s like competing against fellow Brazilian and World Champion Nicole Pacelli, and her favorite SUP spots. —Rebecca Parsons
Tell us about your athletic background.
I started surfing when I was about 15 years old. Before that I used to swim, play Brazilian soccer, basketball and dance. I competed as a junior and amateur surfer for about three years. I started standup paddling two years ago.
How did you first get into SUP?
A friend invited me to the first SUP contest ever in my hometown, Ubatuba. I had never tried SUP before. I had no idea how to stand up, how to hold the paddle, and I didn’t have a board. I had a week to find an affordable board, witch seemed impossible, so I said to my friend, Huka, ‘Okay, if I find a cheap SUP secondhand you have to teach me so I can compete this weekend.’ He accepted the challenge.
I found a 9’6 SUP and a huge paddle three days before the contest. Huka took me to SUP surf for my first time ever. It was funny because it was so different than shortboarding, but I did good for the first days. I could take off and catch waves, and I loved the feeling. I thought it was so challenging and I loved that. The contest day was kind of stormy with strong currents and good size waves, so a few girls dropped out, but I wanted to at least try to paddle out. I ended up getting second competing against more experienced girls. After that, I was so in love with SUPing, everytime I was going to the beach I just wanted to SUP.
Tell us about competing on the World Tour.
It’s such an honor and blessing to be competing on the World Tour. To be carrying the name of my country—and the sport—and to have the chance to show to the world what the SUP lifestyle is like. It’s still quite new, so a lot of people have no idea that the level of the SUP is becoming so high, like the big airs, deep barrels and maneuvers SUPers do as if they were just short boarding or even surfing big waves. It’s so challenging and amazing. I am super stoked to have this opportunity and I just want to help motivate other people to get to know SUP—to try it, and just to paddle and feel what I feel when I am in the water, because its the best feeling ever.
What’s it like competing against fellow Brazilian and World Champion Nicole Pacelli?
It’s always special to compete against a world champion, but at the end of the day it doesn’t really make much difference as to your ranking and theirs. Win or lose, it’s a combo of many factors in each heat—that’s what makes each heat exciting and special.
What events did you compete in this past year?
In 2013 I competed in the World Tour for the first time, the Nationals and some short racing contests as well. I got the title of Brazilian National Champion. I also won some short racing competitions and the Superlong Festival, a huge event for longboarding in Rio that now has added SUP.
On the World Tour I competed in Hawaii (5th), Brazil (3rd), California (5th) and France (4th). I was number two overall until the last stop in France and I had the title in my hands. It was so exciting because there were four of us that could be the world champion by that time: Nicole [Pacelli], Candice [Appleby], Vanina [Walsh] and I. But, at the same time, there were also really strong girls in the contest like Izzi [Gomez], Iballa [Moreno], and Caroline [Angibaud], so any of them could do really good. It was such an exciting contest, with gnarly and tough conditions. I learned so much from each heat.
I just try to keep my head up, stay focused and determined, and train hard. I use all of the losses as positive experiences and learning opportunities.
Where’s your favorite place to paddle?
This is a hard one, but to SUP surf, I like my home break, Praia Grande, in Ubatuba. I also love to just paddle with my family at this kind of secret spot in Ubatuba too—it’s a beautiful piece of paradise. In Hawaii, I love SUPing V-land, Sunset, Chuns Reef and Makaha, so fun! I still haven’t SUP surfed in many other places around the world, but I can’t wait to SUP places like Noronha, Indonesia, Tahiti, Maldives, Peru, Costa Rica, and El Salvador!
Tell us about your health scare a few months back.
It was so weird. I was having a nice dinner with Lori Park and Sean Poynter. Then, from nowhere, I felt weird, stood up and I don’t remember after that. I saw everything black for a moment, felt like I was dreaming, then I got back to life and was laying on the floor of the restaurant with everyone around me. How embarrassing! The ambulance took me to the hospital. They examined me and everything was looking good. It could have been because I was not having enough water, I was not eating so good, and I was really stressed out about how I was going to do the contests without sponsors. Hopefully it was nothing serious, but they recommended not going surfing by myself and stuff like that.
Can you share some of your goals with us?
I am very determinated to keep working hard, training a lot and working on improving my skills every day. I also hope to do very good at the contests, defend the Brazilian National Title, win the World Title one day and I hope to get sponsors to help me to achieve these goals.
Further in the future, I hope to keep building a strong name as a reference in the sport and motivate others to get into SUP and this amazing lifestyle we live—and to be a part of the SUP history forever.
Do you have a role model?
Definitely my Ohana, my family. They are the most precious and important people for me, they are also my best friends, the ones I look to for any type of advice and anything I need. They are always by my side, supporting me with everything, especially my dreams and goals.
I have two brothers: Gabriel (21) and Daniel (12); they are very good surfers and they are like my coaches too. My dad surfs as well—he taught all of us three to surf and he is the best coach I could ever ask for. He is so knowledgeable on surfing, competition, and life. I really hope one day he can travel to the contests with me—that is one of my biggest dreams; he always gives us the best advice for everything—also my mum—they are basically the best team. My family is amazing in all of the aspects and they are my biggest motivation to fight for my dreams and to never give up.