SUP Women: Darian Boyle

In this installment of SUP Women, we get to know all-around athlete and television personality, Darian Boyle. That’s why her name may sound familiar- she pioneered freeskiing, is a World Champion in skiercross and has appeared on major TV networks as a host and sports reporter. But the Jersey girl is no stranger to the ocean: she’s surfed her entire life, was a lifeguard for 14 years and is president of her family’s custom boat-building business, Typhoon Boat Works. When she isn’t hitting the slopes, managing a business, or interviewing world-class athletes, this gnarly gal is on the water standup paddling. – Shari Coble

Tell us about your career in extreme sports.
I was a pioneer in freeskiing and a World Champion in skiercross. [In 1998] I won the US Open Skiercross and in 1999 I placed 2nd in skiercross at the X Games. In 2000, I was voted Best Female Freeskier in the World. I actually used to ski with Chuck Patterson– we travelled, trained and did photo shoots together- it was a lot of fun. I started freeskiing when it was new and it was really cool to see the sport get in the Olympics. I also do sports reporting and host various sports events. I’ve always been in the water too. I’ve been surfing since I was a little grom trying to keep up with my brothers, raced Hobie Cats, and was a lifeguard for 14 years. I need saltwater running through my veins.

What led you to SUP?
I got into SUP 6 years ago. I’d tried standup paddling in Malibu with David Chokachi [from Baywatch] and paddled with the paddle backwards like a donkey. I’m on the board for SEA and we put on the NYC SEA Paddle race, which I raced prone the first year. I saw Gerry [Lopez], Dave Kalama and Mickey Munoz SUP at the event and there were a lot of great vibes, which made me want to do it. Russell [Coble] of Ohana really got me involved in the sport- he gave me my first real opportunity to race. Russell brought me out to the San Clemente OceanFest and I raced 7 miles behind Brandi [Baksic]. The women were fast and it captivated me. Ohana put me on the fastest board at the time and that’s all I knew. After that I came out for the Battle of the Paddle and really fell in love with racing.


Photo by Bo Bridges

Is there a scene in New Jersey?
There’s an infectious vibe on the Shore. We don’t have the luxury of nice water here; it’s flatwater and wind or surf during a hurricane, but everyone wants to SUP- it’s not like baseball or softball or soccer. When I started, I just had an Ohana and everyone around would paddle it. Now, everyone has their own raceboard. Two weeks ago it was below 40˚F and I saw at least 10 people paddling. We were all in our 5mm suits with hoods and booties, but its still the best training to be out on the water, even if it’s snowing.

Tell us about your favorite experience with SUP?
My favorite experience is when I’d take my 5-year-old niece out and she would sit on the front of the board. I’d be paddling for two hours with her sitting on front and we’d sing while I trained. I got her a board and she took off, paddling next to me the whole time. She just asked if I could get her an H2oAudio headset so we could rock together while we paddle. It’s awesome.

So SUP is a family affair?
All 12 of my nieces and nephews paddle now. My brother and 5 of his friends started paddling too, and it’s cool to see them out there everyday with their headlamps on after working in suits on Wall Street all day. SUP is user-friendly. Everyday you go out no matter what; it gives you the opportunity to be on the water.

What do you have going on this year?
YOLO and I are holding SUP camps that are women-specific. There will be SUP yoga, help with paddle technique, paddlesurfing and more. It’s just about getting women together to have healthy fun in a less intimidating environment. Guys always go on surf trips and it’s time for ladies to get away and have no pressure. We’ll be working on having camps in Montauk, New Jersey, Costa Rica, Florida, Vermont and Madagascar.

I’ll be doing some races too, including the Key West Classic and both Battle of the Paddle races. I’ll also host, race and help plan the 6th Annual SEA Paddle NYC to raise money for autistic charities.

What does SUP mean to you?
I see SUP as a way of life. It makes me so happy and it’s what I love the most. I live for SUP and it filled the void I miss with skiing. It’s great to be part of a sport that is growing. There’s always something new around the corner and there is so much potential. There’s still room for growth and it’s cool to see the sport being sanctioned now, just like I saw with skiercross. I saw freeskiing get into the Olympics and foresee the same with SUP. Whoever goes out- there’s somewhere to go- a niche, a spot for everyone to enjoy the natural surroundings. I’m trying to figure out how to stay in the sport for years and hope there are more surfing events for women in the future.

To read about Krisztina Zur, click here.