SUP Women: Maggie Hogan

Photo by Mike Muir
Photo by Mike Muir

The standup paddling community is rich in professional athletes that have crossed over from other sports. In‘s ongoing feature, SUP Women, we’ve had the opportunity to get to know former pro athletes in soccer, kayaking and skiercross, but it doesn’t end there. The pros keep coming to SUP and in this installment of SUP Women, we get a peek into the life of kayaking and surf lifesaving professional, Maggie Hogan. – Shari Coble

Tell us about your athletic background.
I swam competitively growing up and then swam in college at University of California, Santa Barbara. I got into surf lifesaving after spending my summers as a lifeguard and have four World Championships, as well as around 14 National Titles in the sport.
From lifesaving I got into kayaking. I was trying to improve my surf ski skills and a friend told me I should start with kayaking to really hone my paddling skills. I was also really into prone paddleboarding for a while because I used it a lot for cross training. I did a bunch of the SoCal Racing Series races and the Catalina Crossing, primarily paddling a 10'6. Sometimes people would feel bad for me and let me borrow a stock board, which really made a difference.
By 2005 I was kayaking full-time. I qualified to go to the Beijing Olympics as a training partner on the USA team and was on the national team. I also have around 14 National Titles in kayaking and am focusing on qualifying for the upcoming Olympics in London.

Photo by Dave Daum
Photo by Dave Daum

How'd you get into SUP?
It's another water toy to have fun on, but the first time I saw one was when the my friend, Jay Butki, bought one and brought it back from Hawaii. I was able to try it out and realized anyone can get up and go forward.
A lot of watersports came naturally to me and I can't get enough of anything in surf, but SUP was different- it was a lot more challenging in the surf and that intrigued me. It was really annoying that I wasn't good at it and from my other watersports I was able to look at it from a few steps back and figure it out.

Do kayaking and standup paddling cross over?
I think kayaking (K-1) is the pinnacle of paddlesports as far as competition goes. SUP is getting really competitive and the level of athleticism is incredible- just like kayaking. In K-1 the boat is very unstable and you have to be able to balance and have a unique skill set- that's the beauty of it- and it's the same with SUP. In the paddlesports world, kayaking and SUP are very similar sports and the SUP community is so passionate that they have the flagship to test the best in the world- that's how you get to a higher level and build an Olympic team. I think the two paddlesports can give each other a lot because of their similarities and it's an exciting time for both SUP and kayaking.

Photo by Boardworks
Photo by Boardworks

Do you have a specific focus during training?
In kayaking we say that you just need more time in the boat. I take the same approach to standup paddling and try to get as much time on the water as possible, but because of Olympic preparations, I haven't really gotten that. I think having an aerobic workout with strength training and sprints is really important, so I always try to incorporate those elements into workouts. I have a hard time controlling the board in surf because there are so many different nuances, so I try to work on that- it's really a power component- you just gotta be strong.

To read about Suzy Strazzulla, click here.