Photo: Beau O'Brien

Beau O’Brien, hardly working. Photo: Beau O’Brien

Pro Activity | A Day With Beau O’Brian

Jamie Mitchell. Travis Grant. Lincoln Dews. Jake Jensen. Kelly Margetts. Beau Nixon. There’s really no end to the freight train of beastly Australian male paddlers. Tack on 32-year-old locomotive Beau O'Brian and the Aussie SUP scene finds itself with no shortage of men to tow the line.

2014 was a breakout season for O'Brian. He finished a close second to Danny Ching in the BOP distance race, and reeled off a string of podium finishes in the US, on top of clinching second place overall at the incredibly competitive Australian SUP Titles and 2014 12 Towers event. He also beat Travis Grant at the The Doctor downwind race in Perth.

This year O'Brian picked up where he left off, representing mighty Team Australia at the ISA World Championships in March. He then took an impressive sixth in the Maui to Molokai contest. All these results came despite the fact that the Aussie battled several bouts of sickness early in the season. And that’s saying nothing of the daily rigors that come with working a full-time job while competing against the best SUP athletes on earth.

Like many paddlers, O'Brian is up early every day; he rouses to an alarm at around 4:30 am. After a healthy breakfast, he loads up his board, paddle and gear, and heads out to train with the Paddle Power Trainer crew at Currumbin Creek.

"I'm fortunate to have guys like Kelly Margetts, Lincoln Dews, Ben Tardrew & Jayden Jensen pushing me every day in training," O'Brian says. "It's usually dark when we start and I'm often knackered but we all have jobs to go to afterwards."

After a hard, hour-long session, O'Brian bids the boys goodbye and heads home for a quick shower. Then the real toil begins. He owns a garage door and gate business and as a sole proprietor, the busier he is, the harder and longer his hours are.

"I install six to eight garage doors on an average day, but I have installed 10 a few times so I am able to compete overseas afterwards," O'Brian said. "It's a grueling and labor intense job, as the doors weigh between 80 and 200 kilograms [176 to 440 pounds] and I install them on my own. But to travel around the world for the major SUP races I have to work hard so I can afford time off."

Beau O Brian pic 1

Beau O’Brien, working hard. Photo: Beau O’Brien

Once the last garage door is hung, it's time to play.  "If the wind is honking I call my mates, grab my (board) and head out for a downwinder," O'Brian said. "We paddle between 12 and 30 km [7.45 to 18.6 miles] depending on the wind."

If the breeze isn't playing ball, O'Brian heads to The Pilates Pad for a tough session. Despite his intensive job, he focuses on strength and balance exercises that have boosted his SUP performance and kept him – knock on a very large piece of cedar – injury-free.

Following the downwinder or Pilates session, O'Brian has certainly earned a substantial dinner. A typical choice is sushi, a chia bowl or a chicken salad, with more coffee. During and after training he uses Hammer Nutrition products such as HEED, Perpetuem and energy bars to keep him going through long days and to help with recovery.

Once O'Brian is finished with dinner, he usually spends a couple of hours prepping doors and gates for the next day, filling in business paperwork and updating his social media feeds. Even his so-called "downtime" is active. "When I'm not paddling or installing doors I enjoy working on renovations on my house, going for a surf and heading to my girlfriend's parents' farm," he says.

Every pro paddler puts in a lot of effort but if there was an end-of-season award for the hardest worker, it'd be hard to argue with the Currumbin Creek champ getting the hardware.

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