Good things come in small packages…or cars. Photo: Emmy Errante

Inside the Ride | April Zilg

Age: 29

Hometown: Wilmington, North Carolina

April Zilg's SUP-mobile is an anomaly in a sea of SUP vans, trucks and RVs. The North Carolina racer navigates the East Coast in her faithful, pint-sized Mazda 3 with her pup Kaya, taking event wins along the way—and cramming in as much gear as possible. –Mike Misselwitz

1. 2006 Mazda 3

My Mazda has 180,000 miles on it now! Lots of things have been replaced to keep it moving, but hey, I own it. Its simple enough and it's a really comfortable ride. I've spent many nights sleeping in the car with the seat stretched out. And it's amazing on gas, even with all the gear on it.

2. SUP Pup

Kaya is seven. She's a boxer and she loves to be on the paddleboard with me. Paddleboarding, camping, skateboarding, she loves going out for that type of stuff. She goes with me everywhere.

3. Exercise Gear

I keep a foam roller and yoga mat for after training. The skateboard is because you're never too old to learn something new. I suck at skateboarding but I'm learning and enjoying every minute of it.

4. Slyde Hipster Wedge Handboard

The handplane is Slyde's bigger model. It's great for the waves around here because it doesn't get very big often and it works great in mushy shorebreak. I keep that in my car so when the waves aren't great I can still play in the surf.

5. Hobie Boards

The lower board is the new Hobie Offend RAW, 12'6" by 24", made in the US. The upper board is a 7'6" Hobie RAW Surf. I'm using Futures Fins on both setups.

6. GT Zaskar Sport Mountain Bike

This is an older bike, but I don't need top-of-the-line equipment for this sport anyway. Biking is something my husband is good at and I'm OK at. It's another hobby I enjoy and it's great cross training.

7. Puakea Designs Ehukai

This boat is new to my quiver. I injured my foot this year so it came in handy for cross training since I couldn't stand on my board for almost two months. And out here in the ocean when we get a good downwind day, it's a bullet.

8. Puakea Designs Paddles

The standup blades are Puakea's Catch 22 models. The yellow one is my race paddle, the blue one is the surf paddle and the short one is the outrigger paddle. A lot of other paddles cover up bad technique, but with these I get good feedback. If you're doing something wrong, the paddle will tell you.

9. Howzit Leashes

I love my leashes by Howzit because I love super bright colors and I like the extra thick gauge. I have surf leashes and use a coiled leash in the outrigger to stay attached to my boat on windy days. If you're wiping out or getting a lot of pull on your board, it's nice to have a little extra leash.


For a larger SUP vehicle, check out this tricked out sprinter van.

More Inside the Ride.