Pros | Reflections and Goals Rounding Into 2017
Each new year presents us with an opportunity to reflect on the year we're leaving behind and to look forward to a fresh year ahead. In tribute to a great past year and an even better year ahead, here some of the paddling's top pros share their personal highlights from 2016 and high hopes for the year to come. -Rebecca Parsons
2016 was a beautiful year full of adventures, great people, good surf sessions, downwinders, painting and a lot of travel. As an athlete I couldn´t have wished for more: winning M2O for the third time in a row, becoming European champion for a second time this year and winning the Olukai Ho'olaule'a. Another huge highlight, probably the biggest of the year, was when my granny showed up to surprise me at the Lost Mills finish line! Goals for 2017? Hard to say, I live in the moment. I could try to win M20 again or break the time record, but I´m just really happy to be able to do what I love to do, so I'm going to keep doing it! I also have to prepare for my art show coming up in 2018.
2016 was a breakthrough year for me in SUP and probably my most competitive year as an athlete. My highlights include winning the Pacific Paddle Games distance race, winning the ISA World Marathon Championships and winning Lost Mills in Germany. Coming into 2016 I wanted to win one international race, and I think I came home with 15 titles! In 2017 I'm looking to build on my 2016 successes and I’d love to be the top-ranked paddler in the world, win the Euro Tour, defend my World Championship and win PPG overall.
My generic answer would be this: I made top four on the Standup World Tour, was ranked 16th on SUPracer.com, placed second in the Gorge Paddle Challenge downwind, and I look forward to doing better next year! But this is only half true. I am so proud of my accomplishments and extremely humbled to have had the opportunities I did! I know how lucky I am to be able to live my dream, have fun, and self-sustain. In 2016 I was able to travel so much and in 2017 the exploration won't slow down. I'll keep learning and search for everything and nothing, realizing and creating my dream as I go!
One of my favorite things about 2016 was the travel. One place that was great was Bilbao, Spain for one of the stops of the Euro Tour. We got to paddle in the estuary that went right through the middle of the city. Another great event in 2016 was the ISA games held in Fiji. They had the event at Cloudbreak, which I've wanted to surf since I was young. Being able to surf it with three other guys was pretty epic. I can't really put my 2017 goals into too many words, but I just want to travel to new places, meet new people, spread SUP, win every event I enter and most importantly, stay happy.
One of the goals I have is to travel more. With the SUP industry growing, I’d like to see where else SUP has spread in the world. Another goal is to try and become one of the top 20 female paddlers in the world. This will require tons more training, but I am up for the challenge. Above all, my main goal is to try and get top-5 in the elite race at the 2017 Pacific Paddle Games. I would be beyond grateful if I could accomplish this goal, as well as all my other goals for this year.
This year has been about exploration. Pushing my boundaries physically and mentally in all aspects of life. I did way more races than I would have ever expected and I traveled to so many new places, each being another opportunity to learn about myself and the gorgeous world we live in. This year standup paddling has taken me farther than my wildest dreams. As I start a new rotation around the sun, I hope to keep my eyes open, learn as much as I can and spend as much time on the water as possible! Standup paddling is an incredibly fun sport and that is my number one goal...keep it fun!