Interview by Rebecca Parsons
Jade Howson has had a ringer of a year. While the Laguna Beach, Calif. native may not be legally old enough to drive a car, she has no problem operating heavy machinery on the water. This past year she made her name well-known on the pro circuit, taking home a bronze medal in the sprints at the ISAs in Denmark, as well as securing a victory in the distance race at the 2018 Santa Cruz Paddlefest. With her sweet sixteen just around the corner, we suspect you'll be hearing about young Howson for quite some time.–RP
This past year has been pretty big for you. Which accomplishment are you most proud of?
Santa Cruz Paddlefest. It was such an amazing feeling to finally finish ahead of all the girls I've been chasing all these years. I am so lucky to race with women like them, they push me to my limits and make me the paddler that I am!
Did you alter your training this past year?
Speed work and resistance training have really helped. But honestly, I just try to keep training fun. Surfing with training is a great way to keep things entertaining.
I think I did so well this year because I'm getting older and more mature. It was hard keeping up with all the pros before because I was so small and had tiny muscles. Now that I've grown a little and built some more muscle, it's easier to keep up with the girls that inspire me.
What does a typical week of training look like for you?
I paddle three days a week with The Paddle Academy in Dana Point, Calif. Then two days a week I do cross training. It's so fun training with my best friends and crazy coach, Mike Eisert.
Do you stick to any sort of diet?
Although I'm becoming a better athlete, I’m still a kid. I have no specific diet—chocolate is my favorite food. I do drink Vitargo before and after training. It's a great drink; I highly recommend.
Where is your favorite place to surf?
I love surfing in Laguna because it's beautiful there. The waves aren't as good as they are in other places but when the right swell comes it can get really good! I also love paddling in Laguna. It's my home; I love exploring caves and coves on my days off.
What's your favorite SUP trip you've been on?
Oh gosh, this is hard. It is probably a tie between last year’s Olukai in Maui and the ISA Worlds in Denmark. It is so fun traveling with friends—they take the pressure off racing and always make me smile. Maui was so fun with the The Paddle Academy crew and in Denmark I met some people I'll never forget! It's so cool connecting with people from around the world.
What are some of your interests outside of paddling?
Surfing is a big one. I also love playing music—guitar and ukulele are my favorite. Going to the beach, body surfing, cave swimming, rock jumping…anything ocean. I also make good cookies (or so I'm told).
What are three things most people don't know about you?
1. I am truly a little kid at heart. I love chasing around butterflies and climbing trees.
2. I love the stars and am interested in constellations.
3. I want to study the ocean when I grow up. Or become a Coast Guard pilot!
What are some of your big goals over the next year?
I want to keep paddling the way I am now—keeping it fun but improving as I go. I would love to podium in the sprint races at PPG this year!