Life has been big for Chuck Patterson lately. He contracted a staff infection from reef rash following an April trip to Indonesia that he's been fighting for more than a month. On the opposite end of the spectrum, he recently signed a potentially career-altering contract to join the Naish SUP team. Here's his thoughts on life, hospitals and sponsorship.

Tell us about this fight with staff.

When I got back from Indonesia I came down with a fever of 106 and flu-like symptoms. I've been dealing with poor health care since. I got light antibiotics but should have gotten an IV. I lost 20 pounds in three days. But I ended up feeling better and started training again. But I got back from the Battle of the Paddle in Hawaii earlier this week and it erupted again. I had to go back to the ER and have it drained.

It's been life-changing for sure. I went through a good period the week before the Battle, but I went over early to test boards with Naish and the day before the battle I caught a weird head cold. My immune system was still compromised and competing at the Battle, by Sunday night my body was so taxed. I didn't want to stay in the hospital because that's the easiest place to get staff. Now I'm back on a double dose of antibiotics, resting at home and hope to get back to training soon.

Talk about your recent signing with Naish.

I've known Robbie Naish for a long time. I like their program. He definitely offered me a great opportunity to work with a bigger company with an international presence. I'll be working on the flatwater racing side of things, helping Naish have a bigger presence in the flatwater market on the U.S. mainland. Naish has also been really supportive with our Paddle With the Pros program which I work on with Karen Wrenn. Now we're both under one sponsor, which really helps out a lot.

What does this mean for your career?

It gives me the opportunity to train full time and be on the water full time. I'm excited to do a bunch of great new projects. It's a breath of fresh air. It's a good message for other standup athletes: If you enjoy the sport you can actually do something with it if you have the opportunity.

Hobie sent out a nice press release wishing you well.

That was super-cool. Hobie is an awesome company. It was an unreal six years. It's a great family and they got me where I am now and I'm thankful for that. There's never a perfect time to go your separate ways.

You're a kiteboarder. Will you work with Naish on that side as well?

That's the coolest thing about it. Naish covers a lot of aspects in water sports. My teammates, Kai (Lenny), Dave (Kalama), and Robbie (Naish), are all big-time waterman. That's where the fit was perfect for me. I'll be kiting on Naish product, promoting the Naish brand at large.

Photo: Chris Bishow