Top Tips from the Pros: Brandi Baksic

Before one of her recent races, pro paddler Brandi Baksic told friend and fellow competitor Candice Appleby, "I know my heart rate's going to go way up, and I'm not sure I want it to." Despite such protests against the rigors of racing, and playing the roles of "a mom, wife and firefighter as well as an athlete," Baksic continues to tear it up on the water. The 41-year-old San Clemente, Calif. resident has made winning a habit in the past few years, claiming the distance title in the California Battle of the Paddle, winning two gold medals at the inaugural ISA World SUP and Paddleboard Championships in 2012 and taking top honors in October's Battle of the Paddle in Brazil.

With a work ethic that's renowned throughout the SUP community, an active job, and an off water routine that would put most paddlers 20 years her junior to shame, Baksic is in killer shape. That's why we sent Brody Welte to catch up with Baksic before a PaddleFit training session to get her top 3 workout tips.

Photo: OnIt Pro

Photo: OnIt Pro

1. Train With Intensity

Baksic likes to train with a partner or in a group, and if she has to work out alone she does so with a GPS-enabled device to track her distance, splits and other metrics. "When I'm in a group setting I work harder because that competitive fire gets lit," she says.

2. Mix It Up

From CrossFit-style circuits to spinning, swimming and beachside runs, Baksic likes to keep it fresh to challenge her body to adapt: "At the firehouse we also do drills like hose drags when wearing all our gear to keep us ready for anything."

3. Practice Your Turns!

While race fitness is paramount for Baksic, she also implores SUP competitors of all ages and abilities to work on their turning skills because "you can win or lose a race at the buoy." Trying to hedge her bets a little, Baksic also offered a fourth tip: honing SUP surfing skills. "Most of the big races start and end at the beach so you have to at least be able to get through the surf and back in on it," she says. —Phil White

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