SUP Women | What’s It Take To Raise Two SUP Superstars?
Interview by Rebecca Parsons / Photos courtesy of Brandi Brady
Brandi Brady is the mother of two of SUP's biggest names: Izzi and Giorgio Gomez. Brady grew up on the Gulf Coast of Florida, participating in several sports before finding her way to surfing and paddling. As a mother, she encouraged Izzi and Giorgio to do the same. It wasn't long before their talents on the water were discovered. We caught up with Brady to learn about her experience raising two talented athletes, traveling the world, and acting as a "SUP mom" to many of the other groms on tour.
Tell us about your background.
I grew up on Anna Maria Island on the Gulf Coast of Florida. My parents opened their surf shop, West Coast Surf Shop, in 1964. I started surfing and skateboarding around three years old and competed in ESA-Eastern Surfing Association-throughout the years. I was active in many sports: gymnastics, soccer, tennis, dance, and cheerleading.
Do you surf/paddle?
Yes! I love to surf and paddle!
Was surfing/paddling something you encouraged Izzi & Giorgio to get into growing up?
I wanted them to be well-rounded and able to experience all sports. They played soccer, tennis, baseball, ice hockey, dance, skating, and eventually they fell in love with surfing. When they started to compete at a young age, we decided to move to Jupiter for better waves. I couldn't keep them out of the water.
Giorgio happened to be out messing around on a paddleboard at an ESA event when Steve Sjuggerud approached us about his talent. He was convinced that Giorgio had the talent to step onto the Standup World Tour amongst the best in the world. We didn't even know there was such a thing!
So Giorgio thought he would give it a shot. Then, Steve saw Izzi SUP surf the Typhoon Lagoon wave pool and said, "You never mentioned that your sister ripped!" The next thing you know we were all traveling the world chasing the Stand Up World Tour!
Was competing at the professional level always a dream for them?
Yes. They both wanted to become pro surfers and travel the world.
When did traveling/competitions become a central part of your lives?
We started traveling with a full schedule about 3-4 years ago.
As a parent, how did you ensure that the kids maintained balance in their lives?
The key factor is to always maintain a healthy balance in life. Time management is very important. We are always on the go, so we just have to make sure that we make time for a little bit of everything. I don't want them to burn out or have any regrets.
You've been kind of the "SUP mom" to a lot of the young athletes. What's that been like?
It has been so much fun! I love being a mom! I feel so blessed to not only share this journey with Izzi & Gio, but with all of the friends we have made along the way. I enjoy helping out in any way I can, because I know how it is when your kids are traveling the world alone--you pray that there is a mom to just keep a mindful eye on them or help them when they are in need.
Do you still travel with the kids now that they're getting older?
I do and I will, as long as they will have me. I enjoy it so much, but I leave it up to them. Though, I do think it's very important to give them the freedom to travel with their peers or sponsors alone. It gives them a good sense of independence and confidence.
Do you work?
I don’t really have time for a “real job” per se. I do have my real estate license and I make jewelry. I consider Izzi and Giorgio my "work". I am still homeschooling Izzi and being a mom is a full-time job in itself.
It takes a village to raise children these days. I would like to thank everyone who has taken the time with mine. There are far too many individuals to name. We are so grateful and blessed to have you in our lives. We wouldn't be who we are today without you--we love you!
Get to know another pro paddler’s mother, Shawneen Schweitzer.