Pro Activity | A Day With SUP World Champion Lina Augaitis
75-mile bike rides. Ultramarathons. Weeklong backcountry ski tours. Few people, let alone professional paddlers, can claim these feats as staples of their daily lives. But for Lina Augaitis—ISA World Championship winner, distance-race champion at the 2014 Battle of the Paddle and a champion of the Standup World Series—the pursuit of such endeavors is simply a way of life.
Growing up, Augaitis was a competitive gymnast on the national level, and was on the varsity teams for wrestling, rowing, rugby and ultimate Frisbee at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, Canada. Augaitis then caught the endurance bug and went full tilt at triathlon and marathon running, competing in the World University Triathlon Championships and finishing third in her age group at the World Long Distance Championships.
In 2007, the athletic polymath pushed herself even further, trading in marathons for ultras, adventure races and mountain biking events. It's no surprise that when she stumbled upon SUP in 2011, Augaitis found immediate success. She jumped right into the sport in a way that few novices ever have. Her career on the water began with the first-ever expedition from Whitehorse to Dawson on the Yukon River, paddling 750 kilometers in just five days.
When Augaitis returned stateside in 2012 after spending a year in China with her husband, Andrew, she decided to focus on SUP racing. The results were impressive. She won the Canadian championship and took third in the 2013 Battle of the Paddle distance race, then became the first Canadian woman to take on the Channel of Bones in the Molokai2Oahu event.
Last year Augaitis took her paddling to even greater heights, claiming gold at the ISA World Championships, winning the long distance crown at BOP and finishing the season on top of the Standup World Series podium.
This incredible sporting resume is not a coincidence, but rather the result of an intense and wonderfully diverse training program that Augaitis fits around married life, teaching outdoor education and skiing, mountain biking and camping with friends.
The typical off-season day begins early, typically at 6:15 AM. To get her engine running, Augaitis downs a smoothie that includes almond butter, UB Super protein powder, green vegetables, fruit, ginger and "whatever else I can find in the refrigerator." She then bikes an hour to work "usually in wind and pouring rain" and starts teaching outdoor education classes at 8 a.m. This combines classroom prep on concepts like leadership and team building with real-world exercises such as putting up a tent and cooking over a camp stove.
If she isn't taking her 12-, 13- and 14-year-old students on a ski trip, overnight camp out or hike, Augaitis wraps up classes at 3:30 p.m. Some days she works out in the school gym, but prefers going on a trail running/outdoor fitness trek with co-workers. "We'll run hill sprints, get back on the trail, stop and do 20 dips, 15 burpees and 20 squats and run a bit more," she said. "Then we'll stop at an overhead cable to do pullups, maybe grab a rock and run with that overhead for a while. We just get creative."
To cool down, Augaitis gets back on her bike and cycles another hour home or, on days when she's not trail running, to CrossFit Vancouver for another workout. She has been doing CrossFit for five years and credits it with building the strength and explosive power needed for a grueling SUP season. To work on mobility she and her husband go to yoga once a week. Augaitis usually spends her weekends out riding her bike with Andrew or in the mountains with friends.
Despite her packed workout schedule and its obvious performance payoff, Augaitis shuns fitness trackers, diets and training plans for a more intuitive approach. "I try to eat clean and fit in all the sports I'm passionate about," she said. "I perform best when I just listen to my body and keep enjoying life."
(Eds note: After championing the distance race at the Bilbao World SUP Challenge, Augaitis announced that despite being at the pinnacle of her success as a racer, she will be temporarily forfeiting all races for the next year and scaling back her fitness regiment. She is newly pregnant with her husband Andrew, and plans to return to the circuit after her baby is born. Congratulations, Lina.)
More SUP coverage of Lina Augaitis.